Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam entered the NFL with a hard-hitting reputation.
However, the first-round draft pick didn't do much to earn his first penalty for unnecessary roughness in Thursday night's 34-27 preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Elam delivered a glancing shoulder blow to Panthers tight end Greg Olsen on an incomplete pass, pulling up to avoid striking him full-force. The late contact did clearly annoy Olsen, who swatted at Elam's back, and the infraction occurred directly in front of a side judge, who immediately threw the yellow flag.
"Yeah, I would at least put more aggression into it if I'm going to get a flag," Elam said. "I was just playing. I wasn't thinking about nothing. It wasn't really nothing. I was running down and touched him. It wasn't no big deal."
Elam had two tackles, one for a loss against Carolina as he continues to compete with veteran James Ihedigbo for the starting strong safety job. Elam has 10 tackles in three preseason games, including a few tackles for losses.
"I'm feeling really confident, getting a little more comfortable out there," said Elam, a former consensus All-American from Florida who was drafted 32nd overall. "The more reps I take the more comfortable I get. I got a lot of confidence. Every game, I feel better.
"I'm going to go out there every day and work hard and put it in God's hands. Whatever happens happens. I feel like I'm steady learning, steady improving. I'll do whatever I can to help the team win."