Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski will step into the boxing ring for the second time this offseason on Saturday night, and he says he plans to make boxing a regular part of his NFL offseasons.
“Without a doubt -– if I can get that worked out -– that’s my perfect world,” Zbikowski told Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun. “Other people might not feel that same way. If we can get that worked out, I can play at M&T Bank Stadium in the season and fight at M&T Bank Stadium in the offseason.”
Zbikowski is a restricted free agent who didn’t sign his one-year tender offer before the lockout began. That means he’s not under contract and is free to box whenever he wants, even if the lockout unexpectedly ends soon.
If Zbikowski wants to box every offseason, all he has to do is sign one-year contracts: He could sign his tender and play for the Ravens in 2011, then box professionally in the spring and summer of 2012, then sign another one-year contract in time for training camp, play the 2012 season and pick up boxing again in 2013. And so on.
However, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said he thinks it’s “awesome” that Zbikowski boxes during the offseason. So it’s possible that Zbikowski could still box during offseasons even if he signed a long-term deal with the Ravens, although he’d obviously have to schedule his fights so that he’d be able to participate in minicamps, and if he ever suffered an injury boxing that prevented him from playing football, he’d go on the non-football injury list, which would mean he wouldn’t get paid.
Zbikowski sounds committed to being a two-sport athlete.
“I don’t look too far in advance because there are so many factors with boxing and getting through a football season without any surgeries,” Zbikowski said. “It’s so much that is unknown. What people are starting to understand is I’m serious about this. I can fit both of them in if I move it along the right way.”
He’ll try to improve to 3-0 tomorrow night.