So much for an easy debut.
On Michael Campanaro’s first day after being activated from the physically unable to perform list on July 31, the Ravens welcomed him by putting him in the slot with the first offense. While that may seem somewhat sudden for a player who had missed a decent portion of offseason work because of a sprained toe, Campanaro said he was happy for the work.
“Wherever they put me, I’m just going to come out here and play,” he said after a recent practice. “I’ve got a passion for the game, I love playing. If I’m with the ones, twos, or threes, I’m going to be out here competing. There’s great guys on all levels, and it doesn’t really mean anything in training camp. It’s just great to be back out here playing.”
With 11 other wide receivers on the Ravens’ roster and a similar glut of players wanting to return kicks and punts, Campanaro knows there is a crowded battle for one of 53 spots on the team’s active roster, which will be finalized Sept. 2. And the 26-year-old Clarksville native and River Hill graduate has been limited to 11 games in the past three years mainly because of injuries, including a herniated disc in his back and a strained calf.
But Campanaro said he is not worrying about his place on the roster.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I just come out every day and play the game that I love. I’ve got a passion for the game, and I just want to get better. Injuries for me are part of the game. I’ve been injured more than others, but I’m healthy now and anytime that I’ve been out here playing, I’ve been making plays. So I’m confident in my ability. Just going to keep making plays.”
Campanaro’s prowess at returning punts – he averaged 12.6 yards on five punts last season – makes him the favorite to re-assume that role. Special teams coordinator and associate head coach Jerry Rosburg said he is happy to have Campanaro back.
“I see a lot of the things I saw before,” Rosburg said. “He’s a very quick, sudden athlete. The thing that I’ve noticed with him, because of the great work he’s done in our weight room and [with] our training staff, he seems to me he’s added some mass. He seems more powerful to me along with the quickness he’s always had.”