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As training camp nears, patience is key with Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

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The Ravens should play it safe with their first-round pick.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

When the Ravens drafted Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown with the No. 25 overall pick in the draft, they were well aware of the lisfranc injury he suffered back in December. Baltimore was confident Brown would recover smoothly. Throughout OTA’s and minicamp, Brown did light drills and walk-through’s but didn’t participate fully.

The original timeline for his return was set to the start of training camp. Earlier this week, Brown was seen arriving at the team’s practice facility but just days later , “Hollywood” was placed on the non-football injury list, along with four other rookies.

For those who don’t know, this means that Brown failed the mandatory conditioning test and until he passes it, he won’t be activated off the list. Failing the conditioning test isn’t really a big deal, as we’ve seen players, many of which were actually healthy unlike Brown, suffer the same fate and make a quick turnaround.

While the hope was that Brown would be all-systems-a-go for training camp, it’s beginning to look increasingly unlikely that he’s a full participant come next week. It’s important to remember, however, what the stakes at play are.

The lisfranc injury is a tricky one and has a tendency to linger. Cornerback Jimmy Smith suffered the same injury years ago and has continue to deal with the effects ever since. Any potential setback could be damaging for Brown’s rookie campaign.

The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reported that the Ravens plan on taking it slow with Brown, which is exactly what they should do. From top to bottom, the Ravens organization likely wants to see Brown take the field just as bad as the fanbase does. The long-term payoff of Brown being 100% is far more important than any immediate gain from rushing him back too soon.

Eric DeCosta placed a lot of stock into Brown by taking him with his first ever pick as the team’s General Manager. DeCosta and the Ravens are confident that Brown will be an immediate contributor and fixture in the offense for years to come. In order for that to happen, though, Brown needs to be at full-strength.

Brown’s speed, burst, and agility make him the player he is. If his athletic ability were to be diminished in any way, he simply wouldn’t be the dynamic threat we saw at Oklahoma and expect to see in the NFL. While he doesn’t have a lengthy injury history, Brown is relatively undersized at 5’9”, 166 pounds.

His speed will play a big role in his ability to hold up at the pro level, as taking too many big hits could be damaging given his small frame. As we saw with Hayden Hurst last year, playing with a screw in one’s foot can be challenging. The difference between the two is Brown has had far more time to recover, but Baltimore shouldn’t take any chances.

Aiding and progressing Brown’s recovery should be of the team’s highest priorities over the next month and leading up to the start of the regular season. Once “Hollywood” is back to full strength and is ready to take the field, then it’s show time.

Lights, camera, action.