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Michael Campanaro, Deonte Thompson making strong bids for Ravens' roster spots

As the Ravens contemplate their final roster decisions later this week, wide receivers Michael Campanaro and Deonte Thompson are making strong bids for spots.

Campanaro had a 44-yard kickoff return up the right sideline in the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 23-17 victory over the Washington Redskins. He also caught both passes thrown to him for a total of 24 yards.

"We had a right return lined up, and they came flying in hard, and I was able to bounce it and hit the sideline," Campanaro said. "I had some good blocks. [Special teams coordinator] Coach Jerry [Rosburg] drew up a good one, and we were able to capitalize on field position."

The two catches marked Campanaro's first receptions of the preseason. The seventh-round draft pick and River Hill graduate caught a school-record 229 passes for 2,506 yards and 14 touchdowns at Wake Forest.

"It was good to get that first catch," said Campanaro, who also returned a punt 9 yards. "I've been itching to make a play. It felt a lot better just getting into the game and getting that first one. This was the first time I got targeted, so I was just happy to get my hand on the ball."

Having grown up in Howard County in Clarksville, Campanaro had a large contingent of family and friends in the stands Saturday.

"I grew up going to tons of Ravens games," he said. "I don't have to give out too many tickets because my family and friends already have season tickets. I don't really need my tickets. I'm sure during the regular season I'll get asked more and more and will have lots of family and friends out there."

Meanwhile, Thompson scored a touchdown for the second consecutive game. He caught a 21-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor on a crisp fade route.

It was one week after his 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys.

"Deonte, he's making plays and it's not just in the game, he's making those plays in practice," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Deonte has fought through a lot of things over his career. To see him do that, it just makes you happy to see a guy play like that.

"He's a guy that works hard. He has a great attitude, respectful of the process, loves football. To see a guy like that have success is a great thing."

Thompson ran track at Florida, where he ran the 60 meters in 6.8 seconds, the 100 meters in 10.59 seconds and the 200 meters in 21.29 seconds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds at the Gators' Pro Day workout, but said he has been clocked as fast as 4.23 seconds before.

"God blessed me with speed," Thompson said. "I thought about a career in track, but I had more love for football."

Thompson had a stretch earlier in training camp where he was dropping passes and had lapses in concentration, but he has been more consistent lately.

"Yeah, it's definitely not a big concern of mine," Thompson said. "I just went through a little spell, just a couple of days. I'm good."

awilson@baltsun.com

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