The season opener is a widely anticipated moment for many players, but it might be difficult to rival the emotions bubbling inside Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Perriman, the organization’s first-round pick of the 2015 NFL draft, has not played in a game of significance since Dec. 26, 2014 when he led Central Florida against North Carolina State in the Bitcoin Bowl (now called the St. Petersburg Bowl).
“There’s a lot on the line,” he said. “This is the first game, but it’s the whole team. I’m going to attack it like any other game. Just go out there with my family and just go out there and try to dominate and have fun doing it.”
Since straining the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee -- an injury that kept him from playing last season -- and partially tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in June, Perriman has worked to gain ground and develop a sense of cohesion with quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receivers Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace and Kamar Aiken.
“I feel like it’s coming along well,” Perriman said. “We’re still improving every day, every practice, but I feel like we’re at a good point as well.”
Said Flacco: “My expectations are for him to go out there and get open. Yeah, we haven’t had a ton of work together. I just got to keep it simple, hit him in the chest and give him a chance to make plays. I think the more plays that you give him a chance to make, the more he’s going to make, the more his confidence is going to go up. I think a lot of times when you’re trying to build a relationship with a receiver, it’s about making plays in games. By giving him a chance, I’m letting him know that I have confidence in him. I think the more confidence he gets, the quicker it will be for us to get to that point.”
Perriman knocked off some rust in the team’s 23-14 win at the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 1 in the preseason finale. He immediately caught two passes for 25 yards and then played into the second quarter. Even that limited amount of play was exciting for Perriman.
“It was big for me just to go out there and kind of see the speed of the game,” he said. “We play fast in practice, but game time is a whole other speed. So I feel like it was good thing for me to get out there and get my feet wet and get catches and get hit a couple times. So I feel like it was pretty good.”
Perriman probably will not start Sunday against the Bills. But just being ready and available to play is a big step for him as he wrestles with his emotions.
“Probably be nervous again, the same type of emotions,” Perriman said of his approach to the opener. “Be really nervous, but at the end of the day, when the pads come on, we go out there and warm up and they’ll go away, and I’ll just be anxious to go out there and start playing.”