When Ravens coach John Harbaugh called Matt Furstenburg following the NFL draft, the former Maryland tight end quickly decided to accept an offer to sign as an undrafted free agent over a competing bid from the Carolina Panthers.
Signed to a three-year deal worth $1.495 million, including a $10,000 signing bonus, Furstenburg knew the Ravens already had two tight ends entrenched on the roster: Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.
Now, Pitta is out for the season with a fractured and dislocated hip that required surgery and Dickson is sidelined for at least a week and probably a longer portion of the preseason with a slightly torn hamstring.
So, Furstenburg should see plenty of playing time Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers behind veterans Visanthe Shiancoe and Billy Bajema.
"It's been unfortunate for Dennis and Ed Dickson, but it's a great opportunity for other guys," Furstenburg said. "I'm just trying to make a great opportunity out of it. For me, an undrafted rookie, I've got to make the most of it."
Furstenburg is hoping to earn a roster spot. If it doesn't work out with the Ravens, he's looking to catch the eye of other NFL teams.
"Yeah, definitely want to prove myself out there," Furstenburg said. "I want to show what I can do, not only here, but other teams, too."
Furstenburg has run crisp routes at practice and runs well after the catch, displaying sound hands.
Athletic, with the second-fastest 40-yard dash among tight ends at the NFL scouting combine (4.62), Furstenburg has managed to create separation from linebackers and safeties.
Furstenburg caught 16 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns in his final season for the Terrapins, finishing with 60 career receptions for 769 yards and five touchdowns.
"I've progressed a lot," Furstenburg said. "I'm just trying to learn the system, get in and do my thing. Just play fast, that's the biggest thing."