As wide receiver Deonte Thompson accelerated past rookie cornerback Sammy Seamster on Monday night, he displayed the rare extra gear that makes him one of, if not the, fastest player on the Ravens' roster.
Thompson beat Seamster badly for a 60-yard touchdown reception on a pass from rookie quarterback Keith Wenning during the open practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
It represented a satisfying moment for Thompson following a rough offseason.
He was arrested in February in Gainesville, Fla. and charged with felony possession of marijuana and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Both charges were subsequently dismissed by prosecutors when co-defendant Alvon Summerall accepted responsibility for the marijuana and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges and driving with a suspended license.
The arresting officer found bags containing 29 grams of marijuana inside a duffel bag. Thompson told police when the car was pulled over that the other men handed the bag to him and told him to put it behind his seat, according to a police report.
Thompson has expressed relief that the legal situation is behind him, saying he learned a tough lesson about being more cautious about the company he keeps.
"Yeah, everything was good," Thompson said. "I didn't dwell on it. I just made a stupid mistake. I put it behind me. You got to be careful about the people you be with."
With the off-field situation behind him, Thompson is in a tight fight for a roster spot. He made the team the past two seasons after going undrafted out of the University of Florida, and he's entering the final year of a three-year, $1.449 million contract that included a $4,000 signing bonus.
The Ravens may keep as many as six wide receivers, with the first five spots expected to go to Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown and rookie Michael Campanaro.
"Every time you look around guys are making plays," Thompson said. "Competition brings the best out of everyone. You've got to step up."
Thompson caught 10 passes for 96 yards and no touchdowns last season after dealing with a foot injury that hampered him during training camp and at the start of the regular season.
Thompson has the requisite speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds.
So far, Thompson appears to be having a solid camp and adjusting to new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system.
"It's been pretty good," Thompson said. "I'm getting the new offense down and I'm stacking days every day, I'm definitely getting there. I'm just learning and trying to get better every day."