www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-ravens-insider-crazy-bill-bajema-happy-to-be-in-baltimore-20120809,0,5666127.story

baltimoresun.com

'Crazy Bill' Bajema happy to be in Baltimore

By Matt Vensel

2:00 PM EDT, August 9, 2012

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Ed Dickson has a nickname for fellow tight end Billy Bajema, who signed with the Ravens last week. Dickson has dubbed the tough veteran blocking tight end “Crazy Bill,” a nickname he says hasn’t yet stuck with Bajema.

“He’s very intense. He’s high energy for him being in the league eight years,” Dickson said Wednesday. “He plays every play like it’s his last, and for myself -- I’m three years in the league -- I can really appreciate that from a guy coming in eight years and out there with me. It’s an honor having him here with me and the other guys.”

Bajema, 29, an eight-year veteran, started 25 games for the St. Louis Rams  from 2009 to 2011, including 12 starts last season. After his three-year contract expired in St. Louis, he remained on the free-agent market until NFL training camps kicked off in late July. Bajema said the Ravens were the first team to host him for a tryout.

"I played seven years and I've never been in a situation where I didn't have a team right off the start,” Bajema said after Saturday night’s open training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium. “It's a different thing. I was just working out, staying in shape. I believed once training camp started and things got rolling I'd get a call. I was just staying ready for that. … I knew I'd get a chance somewhere. I'm really happy it's in Baltimore with the Ravens.”

The Ravens are looking for a third tight end to play with Dickson and fellow third-year tight end Dennis Pitta. Bajema is competing with Davon Drew, a 2009 fifth-round pick, and rookie free agents Bruce Figgins and Matt Balasavage for the role that Kris Wilson occupied last season. Bajema has made 38 catches for 398 yards and two touchdowns in seven NFL seasons with the Rams and San Francisco 49ers, but blocking is his forte.

“He is a tough kid, and he works his tail off. He is a hard-working guy,” tight ends coach Wade Harman said Wednesday. “He’s been around for a bunch of years, but you see him busting his tail out there down the field, catching balls. Whatever you need him to do, he is out there hustling. In drills, he gives 100 percent, and it’s great for those guys to see. In line, he can block. He’s got great toughness; he is not going to back down from anyone.”

Bajema will make his debut in Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons. With Pitta sidelined, Bajema should get his fair share of snaps, though the Ravens will want to see what the young tight ends, particularly Drew, do in game action. Bajema says it will be great to just get back on the football field.

“I'm just excited to be playing,” said Bajema, a twinkle of intensity in his eyes. “I feel like the offense is coming. I'm starting to pick it up. It's good to be out here with a great team and a great organization."