Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro has been in and out of practice from time to time and most recently out due to a strain injury as Ravens head coach John Harbaugh alluded to earlier in camp and Campanaro’s spot on the roster is far from a lock. As a matter of fact, if Campanaro doesn’t get back onto the field anytime soon, he may be on the outside looking in for good.
Campnaro’s talent has never been questioned in his three seasons with the Ravens. The question with Campanaro has always been whether or not he can stay healthy which is the same question the Ravens had with former NFL wide receiver Brandon Stokley over 13 years ago.
Stokley was drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft and like Campanaro, when Stokley was on the field, he was productive and made things happen. Stokley even had the Ravens first Super Bowl touchdown ever as the Ravens went on to defeat the New York Giants in Super Bowl 35.
From 1999-2002, Stokley played in 39 out of 68 possible games with the Ravens (including playoffs). Stokley left the Ravens in 2003 to sign with the Indianapolis Colts and built chemistry with future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. Stokley then went on to have the best year of his career by far in 2004 as Stokley hauled in 68 receptions for 1,077 yards in 10 touchdowns.
Stokley in 2004 was part of a trio of wide receivers consisting of himself, Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison who became the fourth group of receivers in NFL history to each have 1,000 yard seasons on the same team. Stokley’s talent was never doubted. But at the time, it felt like the Ravens let a good one get away.
So it begs the question, if everyone knows that Campanaro is talented, do the Ravens wait on him to get healthy? The right answer would probably be no, because the Ravens have fierce competition at the wide receiver position for the first time really in franchise history. And with Breshad Perriman going through his injury struggles, the Ravens can’t afford to put two wide receiver spots on the roster on hold based on potential when neither Perriman or Campanaro are available.
But at the same time, if Campanaro gets released and signs on with the right team with the right quarterback and stays healthy, he could turn out to be what the Ravens thought he was capable of all along. But that’s a big if.