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Baltimore Ravens

Preston: What's the deal with Breshad Perriman?

May 24 has already been circled on the calendar because that's the day we might get to see Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman on the practice field again.

He might be there, and he might not. You see, everything involving the Ravens' second-year receiver has been held in secret by the team, ever since Perriman partially tore the PCL in his right knee on the first day of training camp last year.

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Figuring out what is going on with Perriman is like trying to make sense of the latest Ray Lewis rant, even though Perriman's former college coach says he has fully recovered.

Four days ago, at the Ravens' annual draft luncheon, a member of the media asked front-office members if Perriman was running at full tilt. This was the response from general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh...

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Newsome: "I honestly don't know the answer to that."

Harbaugh: "I don't think I'd say 'fully.' He's running."

Newsome: "Right."

Harbaugh: "But to what percentage, I don't know."

We wanted an answer and we got Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

Perriman was the Ravens' first round pick (26th overall) in the 2015 NFL draft, and the Ravens still don't know if he is completely healthy. That's hard to believe.

They know, but since Day 1, the Ravens have shielded this kid as if he was in some type of witness protection agency. In turn, they have created one of the biggest enigmas in the team's 20-year history. When The Sun requested an interview with Perriman earlier this week, we were told the Ravens weren't setting anything up for him at this point.

That is lame, because fans want to hear from him to know if he has fully recovered. They want to know if the fastest player on the roster is running without limitations. And we all want to know how Perriman affects the draft, and if the Ravens might have to take a receiver in the early rounds.

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Instead, we get Abbott and Costello.

That's why the third week in May is so important. We were able to get brief glimpses of Perriman during mini-camp and one training camp practice last year. If healthy, the kid can fly, and he will go after and attack the football.

If the Ravens can put Perriman on one side and Mike Wallace on the other -- with Steve Smith in the slot or tight end Ben Watson working underneath -- they could be scary.

It's exciting, especially for an offense that didn't have any home run hitters at receiver or running back last season.

It's important for Perriman to speak because of the many contradictory stories that came out last season. First, the Ravens said the injury was believed to be a sprain. Then the Ravens denied he aggravated the injury during pregame warmups against the Bengals on Sept. 27.

In mid-October, Harbaugh said "it's probably one of the all-time slowest healing sprained PCLs ever." That made the kid look bad -- almost as if he really didn't want to play.

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The Ravens finally placed Perriman on injured reserve on Nov. 17.

It's been one thing after another, and a lot of people want to know if Perriman is ready, and what his goals and expectations are for the 2016 season.

Since the Ravens won't say, and since they're hiding Perriman from the press, the next best thing was to go to Perriman's position coach at Central Florida, where the 6-foot-2, 218 pounder caught 115 career passes for 2,243 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Sean Beckton coached Perriman for his three seasons at Central Florida and Perriman actually visited Beckton on the Knights' campus last week.

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Perriman visits Central Florida every time he comes back to Orlando, according to Beckton, who calls Perriman a humble kid who works extremely hard. More importantly for the Ravens, Perriman told Beckton he was 100 percent recovered.

"He is a humble, soft-spoken kid whose father [Brett Perriman] played in the NFL, so he has had the lavish lifestyle," Beckton said. "But you could never tell that with him. He came here on a mission and said he wanted to be better than his father. We pressed him hard on the details of route-running because he had that natural, God-given ability to run.

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"His work ethic is extremely strong, something he inherited from his father. After games, he was always the first in the building, studying tape. I'd come in to set up, and he'd already be started."

Beckton said Perriman never experienced knee problems at Central Florida. His entire injury file from college: A concussion forced him to miss a game as a sophomore, and offseason wrist surgery healed in time for him to miss no games.

How's he doing now?

"He came here last week and his spirits were high," Beckton said. "He said he was 100 percent and couldn't wait to get back out on the field with his teammates. He looked forward to working with his coaches and getting back out on the field with Joe Flacco. He'll be on the field when practice starts."

Maybe we'll get to see on May 24.


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