Some football players are injury prone while others are injury plagued. Baltimore Ravens slot receiver and return specialist Michael Campanaro falls directly into the latter category.
Campanaro was selected in the seventh round by the Ravens in the 2014 NFL draft, a year that is known for producing an abundance of top wide receivers. In three professional seasons, the diminutive 5’9” 190 pound playmaker has managed to suit up for a grand total of 11 games. Campanaro has been available for less than 23-percent of Baltimore’s regular season games over his young career.
At Wake Forest, Campanaro’s senior season was cut short by a broken collarbone. He played just four games as a rookie in 2014 because of a nagging hamstring issue. Campanaro was limited to four games again in 2015 after suffering a herniated disk in his back against Pittsburgh. Last offseason, a lingering calf strain forced him to miss much of the offseason. After being released and then re-signed to the practice squad, ‘Camp’ played in the Ravens final three games last year, earning a rushing attempt in each.
When actually on the field, Camapanro has made some nice plays. His two career touchdowns include a pretty leaping catch against the Buccaneers in Joe Flacco’s famous five touchdowns tosses in 16 minutes performance of 2014; and a crucial nine yard score on an end-around in a rivalry win against the Steelers in 2015.
The Ravens are hoping Steve Saunders, their new director of performance, can help Campanaro become more dependable. Michael has focused his offseason training on strengthening his soft tissue tendons, ligaments and muscles with the help of regular visits to a physical therapy clinic. However, his extensive injury history make it improbable that he will suddenly be able to stay healthy as he enters his late twenties.
Campanaro is a favorite of head coach John Harbaugh, and deserves one final chance to prove his worth. But if the injury bug strikes again in 2017, the Ravens should move on to more reliable options at slot receiver and kick returner.