Rookie receiver Aaron Mellette had one of those welcome to the NFL moments a couple of days ago.
During practice this past Saturday, coach John Harbaugh singled him out in front of his teammates, fans and the media, calling him "lazy" and "lackadaisical."
For someone that recorded a 21-yard touchdown in Thursday's preseason game, and for someone that's beginning to generate some buzz due to recent practices, it was certainly a moment to remember.
He took the criticism to heart and pulled in a strong Sunday practice at M&T Bank Stadium, which featured a long gain of over 50 yards and another reception good for a touchdown.
"Anything good or bad, as far as coaching, you take it and learn from it and go to the next day," Mellette said. "What happened [Saturday] is behind me and you move on to the next day."
Mellette said he and Harbaugh talked about the chastising afterward and that they left the meeting on the same page.
And it's a good thing for both of them that they are. Over the last two weeks of training camp, Mellette's showed a strong combination of hands and ability to track the football.
A good example of this ability came on that touchdown reception from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor during the opening preseason game against Tampa Bay. Mellette was given a hot route as he was matched in man coverage.
When Mellette turned for the ball he didn't see it initially. But once he found it, he was able to track it, adjust accordingly and time his jump over the defender for the score.
"Finding it, locating it and going up and getting it is one of the things I do best," he said.
Mellette's battling for one of the roster spots near the end of the position group. He now understands days like Saturday can happen. Therefore, Mellette knows it's on him to prove he belongs on the roster.
"Coach Harbaugh talks about getting 1 percent better," Mellette said. "Some days you might make leaps. Camp is always going to be up and down, no matter what level you're playing. So I'm trying to make sure I get better each day."
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