Courtney Upshaw ended his streak of seven consecutive missed practices on Tuesday, participating with Baltimore in its final preparation day before traveling to Atlanta.
Upshaw sprained his shoulder during practice over a week ago and has been held out since. This has caused the rookie outside linebacker out of Alabama to miss valuable reps to prepare him for a starting job since the Ravens will be without Terrell Suggs (Achilles) for what could be the majority of the season.
With Upshaw back in the fold, the Ravens can ease him back into the practice rotation. Upshaw was originally slated to learn the strongside position but has received most of his reps as a rush linebacker, he said. He's learning both but it's clear Baltimore wants him to begin his NFL career where his strengths are.
"The first thing Coach (Harbaugh) told me coming in was that I would have to learn multiple positions," Upshaw said. "Right now I've just been playing the rush. Still, in meetings I'm learning Sam. He's still coaching me at the Sam position but I'm getting all my reps at the rush right now."
Upshaw didn't participate much during Tuesday's practice, going through individual drills and watching during the remainder. With him being absent, Albert McClellan has picked up a lot of first team reps instead.
All of the outside linebackers will look to make up for Suggs' absence while he's out. But they've all conceded one fact: You can't replace the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Upshaw's a different build too — 277 pounds, low to the ground and a straight-line pass rusher who was able to set the edge as well at Alabama.
He's looking to drop seven more pounds to get to a target weight of 270 for this season. He's hoping the lighter weight will give him even more explosion off the edge.
Upshaw won't be Suggs at the rush linebacker position. And before he can be the Upshaw that wreaked havoc in college to the tune of 9.5 sacks in 2011, he has to make sure his shoulder is 100 percent by Sept. 10.
"Right now, it's still sore and it's still a little stiff," Upshaw said. "We're just trying to work on getting that out.”
Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter: @JasonButtCBS and @CBSSportsNFLBAL.