Rookie Marquise Brown took his first step toward earning his full nickname Saturday, when he participated in his first team drills at Ravens training camp.
Brown, who has been easing into practice since recovering from surgery to repair a Lisfranc (foot) injury, has not had the chance to show the speed and ball skills that made “Hollywood” the Ravens’ first-round draft pick.
In the absence of proof, middle linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, whose nickname is “Peanut,” told Brown that until he starts making big plays, he’s just “Holly.”
Brown underwent surgery in January after he injured his left foot in Oklahoma’s Big 12 championship against Texas in early December. While the other rookies started acclimating to the NFL during organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, Brown was off to the side, working by himself.
On July 30, Brown was cleared to practice. He participated in team warmups and positional drills, but once the Ravens hit team drills, Brown was back on the sideline.
Brown said he waited patiently until finally, on Saturday, he was able to get out there with the team. Brown played about a dozen snaps, making five receptions and dropping one pass, which was thrown a little behind him, although he said he still thought he should have made the play.
Although he didn’t run any deep routes, Brown caught what could have been a touchdown pass from quarterback Trace McSorley. McSorley hit Brown on a crossing route, and he evaded three defenders before breaking into the open field, a space college defenders never wanted him to reach.
“He went real fast," wide receivers coach David Culley said. “I told him that I didn’t see anything that would say he’s been injured. He’s not quite where he was before, but I like where he’s at.”
Brown said he feels as if he’s back up to the speed for which he was known at Oklahoma, but he’s trusting the Ravens’ athletic trainers with their rehabilitation plan.
“They’ve got my back, so I trust them,” Brown said.
Coach John Harbaugh said Brown looked as if he “handled quite a bit” out there, but that team officials will see how he responds Sunday and continue to monitor his progress. Brown said he has no expectations about playing in Thursday’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He’s just trying to be patient and take it day-by-day until he can get his name back.
“I’m just trying to make some plays, then I earn my name,” Brown said.