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With Ravens only since July 21, wide receiver Griff Whalen eager to make quick impression

Signed by the Ravens on July 21, Griff Whalen has had the shortest tenure with the team of any wide receiver on the roster and has his eyes on being on the sideline when the Ravens open the season at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10.

"That's how you make the team — make a good impression and make good plays," he said. "That's what I'm trying to do every day in practice and what I'll be trying to do in the preseason."

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Whalen, 27, spent the first four years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts and had stints with the Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots last year. A free agent in the offseason, Whalen took part in the Spring League Showcase on July 15 and then worked out for the team, which had a hole to fill with wide receiver Michael Campanaro on the physically unable to perform list.

Whalen, who played three years under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford from 2008 to 2010, said his experience with Harbaugh influenced his decision to sign with the Ravens and coach John Harbaugh.

"I love the connection with John Harbaugh," Whalen said. "I had Jim at Stanford and loved playing for him, and I knew it would be a similar environment here, which I feel like I kind of thrive in. Just playing tough football, smart football. The whole organization is detailed — not just on the field, but off the field, too. That's the kind of environment I like being in."

Whalen has caught 47 balls for 509 yards and three touchdowns in 41 career games. He also has averaged 24.2 yards on kick returns and 8.2 yards on punt returns.

Whalen is in the mix to be the team's primary return specialist, but he said he is eager to help wherever he can.

"Really both," he said of his preference. "I did a ton of returning in Indy in my four years there. It's something I really like to do and something I'm comfortable doing. But with receiving, I had a decent chance in Indianapolis to get a bunch of playing time on offense and then it was the same thing last year in San Diego. I definitely want to contribute on offense, too."

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