CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 10: Linebacker Stephen Nicholas #54 (L) of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates with Curtis Lofton #50 and Sam Baker #72 after intercepting the ball against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
When Sam Baker announced his back was the healthiest it's been in years, we greeted him with skepticism. Backs don't magically heal, after all.
D. Orlando Ledbetter has the latest on Baker, why the team has faith in him and why he's still tracking as the team's top left tackle as the summer grinds on. It also contains a tidbit that we all speculated about but didn't know for sure:
Despite his shaky play last season, the Falcons have stood steadfastly behind Baker, who has returned to his status as the No. 1 left tackle this offseason after having an additional surgery.
That quote is awfully light on specifics, which I imagine is by design. The Falcons and Baker probably aren't keen on revealing exactly what kind of surgery Baker had, but you can read between the lines and figure it's all about that balky back. Having heard this, the heavy emphasis on Baker's health suddenly makes sense. The Falcons must believe he's going to be in a position to stay healthy and play well this year.
Whether that belief turns into results is anyone's guess, but I have to admit it makes me a bit more confident to know that Baker did have surgery. Counting on time and luck to heal his back just wasn't doing it for me.
Oh, and feel free to use this as your all-purpose discussion thread for the day, as well. Does this news change your opinion of how Baker will fare in 2012?