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Marlon Brown making a case for a Ravens' roster spot

Marlon BrownBaltimore RavensFootballJohn HarbaughJoe FlaccoNFL

Undrafted rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown is making a strong case as he tries to earn a spot on the Ravens' roster.

Targeted four times during a 34-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night, Brown caught every pass for four receptions for 59 yards.

That included a 24-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco in heavy traffic as Brown got work with the first-team offense.

“If I keep playing the way I’m playing, I think I have a good chance to make the team,” Brown said. “I like the competition because if they’re playing at a high level, I’ve got to play at a higher level. ..

"It was a good game. I made some big catches. I was so thankful to have the opportunity to play with the ones."

The lanky 6-foot-5, 205-pounder from Georgia now leads the Ravens with six receptions and ranks second on the team with 90 yards despite being held out of the second preseason game due to swelling in his surgically-repaired knee.

Brown tore his anterior cruciate ligament last November against Ole Miss.

Brown had initially planned to sign with the Texans, but quickly changed his mind after arriving in Houston and learning that he wasn't getting a signing bonus and might not be signed immediately until his knee was 100 percent.

"It was a miscommunication," Brown said. "I didn't like the miscommunication, and I didn't want to be there anymore. When I got there, I didn't sign. What's funny is my first choice was to come here."

The Ravens had diligently recruited Brown for months through coach John Harbaugh and national scout Joe Douglas, talking with him at the NFL scouting combine and staying in contact with him during and after the draft.

That consistent interest along with a detailed plan to give Brown time to rehabilitate his knee and not be rushed into action during offseason practices motivated him to sign a three-year, 1.49 million contract that included a $5,000 signing bonus. The Ravens were primarily interested in Brown on a long-term basis, not his status for spring practices.

"We recruited him like crazy," Harbaugh said. "We really liked him from the beginning. He jumped off the tape, but he had the ACL. He's come back from that thing very quickly, and he's playing well."

A former blue-chip recruit, Brown didn't have the career that was expected from him at Georgia. He rebounded to catch 27 passes for 469 yards and four touchdowns as a senior before getting hurt after eight games and damaging his draft prospects.

"I'm a big body, physical with good hands," Brown said. "I'm pretty fast. I feel like I can be a guy who goes across the middle."

Earlier in training camp, receivers coach Jim Hostler expressed confidence in Brown.

"He's young, he's growing, he's coming off of an injury, so each day he gets a little better," Hostler said. "He's coming along prety fast for where he was, not having an offseason. He's an inside and outside guy, so he's done it both. He's a full-field guy. He'll be a big target in the red zone.

"Third-down, he can play inside. He'll be a big matchup inside for us. For a big guy, he's explosive He can get in and our routes. He's sudden. He's not a long-striding guy who takes time to build up speed. Those are all exciting things."

awilson@baltsun.com

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Marlon BrownBaltimore RavensFootballJohn HarbaughJoe FlaccoNFL
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