At first, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown said Tuesday, patience was hard. Now the Ravens wide receiver and first-round draft pick said he knows what’s ahead of him. He knows the future could include weeks like this past one.
On Saturday, Brown graduated from positional drills to team drills, an important stepping stone in his recovery from January surgery to repair a Lisfranc (foot) injury. On Monday, he missed practice entirely; coach John Harbaugh said only that he was “recovering.” But on Tuesday, the final practice day of training camp, Brown was back on the field, appearing in more snaps, showing more speed and running more routes.
Defenders still kept their hands off Brown, lest an errant bump become a bad break. But there were glimpses of his game-breaking speed. In one seven-on-seven period, quarterback Joe Callahan targeted Brown, running a slant route. Brown recalled he didn’t even know Callahan had wound up until the ball was out of his hands.
“I just seen the ball,” Brown said. “I was like, ‘I’ve got to go get the ball.’ ”
The catch-and-run happened in such a flash that quarterback Lamar Jackson, watching from behind the play, missed it altogether: the full-extension grab, the plant on his surgically repaired left foot, the explosion upfield, like he’d been waiting all summer to reach top speed.
“I came back like, ‘What happened?’ ” Jackson said. “They were like, ‘He caught a slant and just went.’ ”
“I didn’t really get to run; I kind of broke it off quick,” Brown said. “I think I only ran, like, probably 19 mph.” (Cornerback Marlon Humphrey said earlier in camp that a Ravens trainer told him that Brown had hit 21 mph during a rehabilitation run.)
Brown feels “good,” but that likely won’t be enough to suit up in Thursday’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. If he plays, he wants to stand out: “No matter what percent you are, you’ve got to go to make the play.” If he doesn’t play, he’ll take the mental repetitions instead, imagining what he would do against this defense or that one.
For now, he can only follow the advice of the Ravens’ training staff. If he’s learned anything this week, it’s that there’s still some rust to knock off.
“I think part of it is just getting strong just from the reps,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been healing, so he hasn’t been running, and there’s muscles in there that need to be trained and stuff. But he looked great today. He looked really good.”