As he watched the 2011 campaign unfold while sitting on injured reserve for the second time in as many years, Ramon Harewood said he was driven by one thought: proving the Ravens that they made the right decision when they used a sixth-round pick on him in the 2010 draft.
"In my head, I'm thinking that they saw something in me," he recalled after Tuesday's practice at the team's headquarters in Owings Mills. "So my thought process was, 'Get back on the field and do what you're supposed to do.' Right now, that's what I'm trying to do."
The 6-foot-6, 334-pound Harewood is currently a backup tackle. When Michael Oher started at left tackle in Thursday night's 31-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Bryant McKinnie ran with the second offense.
Over the past two days, however, the absence of left guard Bobbie Williams (swollen right ankle) on the first offense has shifted rookie Kelechi Osemele from right tackle to left guard, Oher from left to right tackle and McKinnie to left tackle. That has opened the door for Harewood to man the left side on the second offense.
Harewood said he is trying to take advantage of the opportunities he's been getting with the second offense.
"I would say that I'm very determined," he said. "We have a veteran group, and the thing with me is, I ask a lot of questions. Even though it's not my job to know, I like to know. So I learn a lot from all five of the starters, and I just try to go out there and emulate what I see them do. I really watch Michael Oher. He's a technician. I figure if I do what he does, I'll be straight."
Harewood admitted that he feared he'd be making another visit to injured reserve when he rolled his ankle on the first day of training camp and missed four consecutive days. But he credited the team's medical staff with applying the appropriate treatment to help him return quickly.
"Right now, I'm feeling good. So I'm kind of past that," he said. "But for the last two years, I've seen the team have success and everyone doing what they're supposed to do, and I'm stuck on injured reserve. Of course, you're going to feel like, 'Man, this sucks.' But right now, I'm just happy to be out there practicing. I'm not thinking about injuries, I'm not thinking about the past two years. I'm just thinking about chasing perfection every day."