With Dennis Pitta out for the season and Ed Dickson dealing with an injured hamstring, an opportunity has presented itself to undrafted rookie tight end Matt Furstenburg.
The local product out of the University of Maryland suddenly has a chance to prove to Baltimore's that he's deserving of a 53-man roster, and should see some added playing time this preseason to do so.
"For me, a rookie, undrafted, it's a huge opportunity," Furstenburg said. "I've got to make the most of it."
Furstenburg ran the second fastest 40-yard dash (4.62) for a tight end at the NFL combine this past February, with former Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg (4.5) being the only one to post a better time.
After a slow start during offseason workouts, Furstenburg said he's picked up on the Ravens' playbook, which has allowed him to act instinctively rather than reactionary on the field.
"From the spring, I've progressed a lot," Furstenburg said. "I'm just trying to learn the system, get in and do my thing. Just play fast, that's the biggest thing."
Furstenburg should see a lot of playing time on Thursday, when Baltimore takes on Tampa Bay in its first preseason game.
Veteran Visanthe Shiancoe will likely run with the first team with Billy Bajema acting as the second tight end on offense. Baltimore also likes to use three tight ends on occasion, which could see Furstenburg getting reps with multiple units during the game.
Furstenburg's vying for a shot on the Ravens' 53-man roster but knows he'll have to prove his worth during the four preseason games. And if the Ravens don't want him, he's hoping to put together some good film so that another team will give him a shot.
"It's been unfortunate for Dennis and Ed Dickson but it's a great opportunity for other guys," Furstenburg said. "I'm just trying to make a great opportunity out of it."
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