The Baltimore Ravens received good news that went unnoticed during what has been a roller-coaster offseason after a Super Bowl championship.

Doctors told Jameel McClain, the inside linebacker expected to take the place of retired Ray Lewis, that the spinal cord contusion that ended his 2012 season is "resolving itself," he says, and is unlikely to require surgery.

McClain's recovery has been lost in the headlines of recent Ravens departures, including veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was traded, and free agent linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe and safety Ed Reed. With the retirements of center Matt Birk and Lewis, Baltimore will not be among the teams favored to make a Super Bowl run — even with the recent signing of defensive end Elvis Dumervil.

Being an underdog is a familiar position for McClain, who spent seven months in a Pennsylvania homeless shelter as a child, slept on couches of friends and relatives and went undrafted out of Syracuse in 2008 but played in every Ravens game for four-plus seasons before one December tackle nearly derailed his career.

"Hungry is all I know," McClain said while he waited at home for news from doctors. "After how I grew up, college, the pros — it was like a vacation. But I treated it like a business trip. And I'm going to get back out there, no matter what."

McClain said he remembers everything about Dec.9, the day his season ended in Washington. He was about to tackle Redskins running back Alfred Morris "and I guess I just had my head in a wrong position and then, boom! My body went numb for a little bit. I could feel my hands. I could feel my legs. And then the sensation went away," he said.