Hood: "I just needed to stay positive"

It's never an easy thing for a player to deal with, being told that their role has changed, and not for the better, that they are losing their starting job.

It's frustrating. It's disappointing. And it's something that can really bring a person down.

When Ziggy Hood was told that he lost his starting left defensive end job to Cam Heyward after the first four games this season, he of course felt those emotions. But he didn't wallow in self pity. 

"I was left feeling I didn't do my best," said Hood. "All of the hard work during the offseason, all of the training, what was it that got me to that point. For anybody that is passionate about what they do, if you are downgraded you feel like you have done everything you could do, and wonder what more could you have done. It ate away at me for a while, but I didn't let it too long.

"You just have to attack it the best way that you can. I am a level-headed guy. I don't stress too much. At first it ate me up inside, but there are things in life that can bring more harm to you. I took the time to focus on what I had to do to get better and not stress over it. If I kept worrying about it, I wouldn't be making myself better. I would be hurting myself and the team. I just needed to stay positive and keep my head up high."

Hood approached the demotion the same way he approached starting, by working hard every day. He is one of the most devoted players you will ever see in the weight room, both in season and off season.

"You always want to prepare as if you are going to start or play," said Hood. "I prepared to be the next guy up. I didn't change anything. I hit the weight room the next day the same as usual, worked just as hard on the field. If you stay with the mechanics and do what you know you have to do, you never know when your time will come again."

Hood's time has come again due to Brett Keisel's foot injury. Hood started in place of Keisel against the Lions and Browns, and stepped in when Keisel left the Ravens game. With Keisel already ruled out for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, Hood will once again be called upon.

"Getting consistent reps in practice helps," said Hood. "When you get the majority of the snaps, you know the game plan and what to expect it helps. When you get fewer snaps it leaves you with an uneasy feeling that you aren't as prepared.

"I am going to do what I was brought here to do, to play. That is my job. I put the team before myself. That is what I have done. I have to continue to do what I am doing."

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