Everybody loves an underdog story. Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Butler has been an unknown and an underdog his entire football career. Butler attended the University of Tennessee-Martin where he earned third-team All-American honors during his senior year. In college, he caught 141 passes for 1,953 yards and 20 touchdowns. Members of the Ravens organization obviously saw something they liked about Butler and signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and it has been an uphill battle for Butler in his Ravens career.
Butler impressed the team during his first training camp and preseason in 2014, notching 6 catches for 50 yards and a touchdown in preseason action. Unfortunately, Butler suffered a shoulder injury which kept him out of the 2014 regular season. Despite this, he was met with high praise from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh at the team's end of the year press conference following the playoff loss to the New England Patriots.
Going into 2015, Butler had to continue off his 2014 training camp and show why he had earned Harbaugh's trust. Butler suffered another setback as he was part of the 2015 final roster cuts but was signed to the team's practice squad. With the Ravens seemingly strong at wide receiver and positioned to make a run at the Super Bowl, it seemed like the underdog would have to wait a little longer for his shot. That was until the 2015 season went down the drain and many Ravens players went down with injuries, including receivers Steve Smith Sr., Breshad Perriman, and Michael Campanaro.
Finally, on October 26th, 2015, Jeremy Butler was activated from the practice squad. The underdog got his shot and he knew he had to make the most of it. In eight games, Butler recorded 31 catches for 363 yards and showed why Harbaugh has so much faith in him. Add to the fact that he contributed with four different quarterbacks says a lot about the young receiver.
As it is for all underdog's though, Butler must now once again fight for a roster spot to make this 2016 Ravens team. The Ravens not only get back Smith Sr., and Campanaro, the Ravens hopefully get Perriman, to go along with the acquisitions of Mike Wallace, Chris Moore and Keenan Reynolds through the draft and free agency to try to improve the receiving core.
The Ravens and its fans are excited to see what this core could look like but let's not forget about Butler. Butler once again contributed in preseason action last Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers grabbing five receptions for 36 yards. When you factor in the injury history of Campanaro and Perriman, Butler has a huge opportunity to show what he can do once again and make the team. This time for good.