After the news came out that Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman had sustained yet another knee injury that would likely sideline him for a second straight season, Ravens fans were understandably frustrated.
However, it was hard not to notice the word "Bust" being thrown around in reference to the player. At first, this kind of talk sounds a bit crazy. It isn't Perriman’s fault that he hasn't been able to see the field, he has just been extremely unlucky two seasons in a row. This doesn’t have anything to do with his conditioning, his workout habits, or any other factors that may contribute to injury. Instead, the word is that Perriman suffered a torn ACL in his left knee while making a sideline catch during OTAs, a scenario that sounds eerily similar to what caused him to miss the 2015 season with an injured knee.
But while it may seem unfair to label Perriman a bust due to the fact that he hasn't been able to get onto the field, it isn't an entirely crazy conversation at this point. For whatever reason it may be, if a player doesn’t play in any of a possible 32 games to start his career, the return on investment of them just isn't good enough (especially for a first-round pick such as Perriman). On the flip side, quarterback Joe Flacco started in his first 137 games until he finally saw that streak come to an end this past season.
Flacco (and many other players throughout the league) receive praise for their durability, so does that put Perriman in the class of players such as quarterback Sam Bradford who are criticized for their lack of it? Most Ravens fans are now quick to point to 2010 second round pick Sergio Kindle as a bust, even though health issues precluded him from getting on the field early in his career, and arguably completely derailed it. If durability is a point of praise, should a lack of it invite criticism and the "Bust" label? Maybe in certain situations, but it isn't always that simple.
Ravens fans have every right to be frustrated at this situation, as it looks like they will have to wait yet another year to see a very talented young player relegated to the sidelines. However, discretion needs to be used in times like this. Fans need to remember that this is not only Perriman’s career, but his life and livelihood on the line. He has already had a very tough offseason with the death of his good friend Tray Walker, to dealing with the health issues that his father Brett has been facing. This is of course following a rookie season which was already very trying for him. He was unable to get on the field while the team he had just been drafted by struggled through a 5-11 campaign.
It may be easy for fans to take the anger they are feeling and start throwing around words like "bust," and "soft," but this just simply isn't fair. Considering all that he has been dealing with recently, Perriman has shown a mental fortitude that very few in his position could likely match. He is a tougher young man than many have been giving him credit for in the past 24 hours, and calling him soft completely ignores all that he has already had to struggle through in his professional career. As for those who are labeling him a bust, do so at your own risk. Health can be a factor in the use of the term, but until Perriman shows people what he can (or can’t) do on the field, it isn't fair to pass that kind of judgment onto him.
Perriman hasn't been able to suit up yet for the Ravens, and he likely won't this year. But those who are angry about this need to compartmentalize and remind themselves that they aren't angry at the player, but rather at the bad luck that this franchise has had with injuries over the past few seasons. It is an unfortunate situation, and it’s one that can't be helped. But rather than channeling negativity, fans should send positive messages to a player (and person) that could use them right now.
Ravens Nation is pulling for you Breshad.