On April 30th, 2015, the Baltimore Ravens selected wide receiver Breshad Perriman out of the University of Central Florida with the 26th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Since then, it has been an uphill battle for Perriman to get on the field. Last year, all you heard throughout OTA's and mini-camp was how good Perriman looked and many praised his speed. On the first day of training camp, Perriman went down with a knee injury. No one knew just how bad it was and no one knew when he would be back. It was a story that people just couldn't figure out and Perriman never returned to the practice field. It was revealed that he had a sprained PCL and was actually on his way back until he suffered a major setback during pregame warm-ups in week 3 of the 2015 season and he was placed on injured reserve later on.
As bad as the 2015 season was, a lot of the jokes about the Ravens was not about the players on the field, but the rookie who wasn't on it. Fans screamed "Who's Breshad Perriman?" "Wrap bubble around his knee." "Oldest looking rookie in NFL history." "Bust." "Made of glass." "Never heard of this..Perriman." It went on and on non stop and was the ultimate punch line of the 2015 season.
Things didn't get any easier for Perriman both professionally and personally. On March 18th, Breshad Perriman lost one of his closest friends in defensive back Tray Walker, who tragically died from injuries stemming from a dirt-bike accident. Then on May 6th, former NFL wide receiver and Breshad's father Brett Perriman was hospitalized due to a stroke and was placed on life support. A few weeks later, he was transferred to an Atlanta hospital and was admitted to their intensive care unit.
Perriman returned to the practice field for OTA's and minicamp and things seemed to be heading in the right direction until he suffered a partial tear in his ACL that kept him out of training camp. Many wondered if he would miss another season and fans were growing even more frustrated at the former 1st round pick. The "bust" chants were louder than ever.
Luckily, Perriman returned to the practice field on August 22nd and more good news came Tuesday after practice as Perriman told reporters that he has cleared all medical requirements and is ready to go for Thursday night's preseason finale against the New Orleans Saints.
Via Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun, Perriman said "I'm ready to go." "Its very exciting. I've been waiting for a long time and it's finally coming." The coaches will still have the final say on whether or not he plays Thursday night.
If Perriman does suit up for the first time in his NFL career against the Saints, it will be the most interesting and intriguing fourth preseason game I've ever seen. We finally get to watch Perriman just play football. No more talk of injuries, no more talk of whether or not he will ever play, he can finally do what he was drafted to do- play football.
Good luck Breshad Perriman. Its been one long painful ride for you, but the cream always rises to the top. Go out there not just on Thursday night, but the entire 2016 season and lay it all on the line. Let out all the frustration and a year of pain out on the field and show the NFL that you belong!