The Baltimore Ravens’ wide receiver core was ravaged by injuries during training and the preseason. Thankfully none of them suffered any major or potentially season-ending setback, unlike their running back depth chart that has been decimated over the last week.
The first receiver to go down was third-year wideout Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, who was the team’s top pick in the 2019 draft and is their top big-play/vertical threat. After an outstanding performance on the first day of training camp, he left practice early on the second day and would be sidelined for the remainder of camp and the entire preseason.
Brown suffered a hamstring injury that ended up being more serious than its initial diagnosis. The Ravens decided to take an overly cautious approach to his rehabilitation process and brought him back slowly. He returned to the practice field for the first time in over a month last Monday, claims that he is 100 percent healthy and ready to start the regular season as if he didn’t miss any time.
“I plan on hitting it rolling this year,” Brown said. “When I got back out there, [me and Lamar Jackson] just picked up where we left off.”
Brown is no stranger to missing time in training camp as well as not participating in the preseason. An injury he suffered in his final year of college caused him to be sidelined for the majority of both in his rookie year. Last year when he was healthy, there was camp but no preseason due to the pandemic. This year he had a hamstring issue knock him out of commission.
Heading into his third season, Brown said his goals aren’t to make the Pro Bowl, record his first 1,000-yard receiving season, or achieve any other individual accolades. Instead, he’s striving to stay on the field and help his team reach their ultimate goal.
“I just want to be healthy,” Brown said. “I want to play in every game and just win the Super Bowl. I think that’s my No. 1 goal.”
Rather than dwelling on the time that he missed due to his injury, Brown is focused on ensuring he doesn’t have to miss any more. He said that having to sit out for nearly all of camp was “very frustrating” considering how he was feeling and the work he put in during the offseason.
“I came into this camp feeling the best that I have felt,” Brown said. “I was excited. I had a good start to camp. It was frustrating, but everything happens for a reason.”
While Brown wasn’t able to participate in any of the physical drills and team reps in practice, he was still attending meetings and remained engaged by taking mental reps.
“He’s just in the process of getting himself ready,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “You can’t get those days [of camp] back, but he’s a really good football player. He’s in good shape. I think our people have done a good job with the rehab and the conditioning and all that. He’s been in all the meetings. He knows what to do. So now he’s just got to go out and do it.”
Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews was Brown’s former college teammate at Oklahoma and is his current teammate with the Ravens. He’s known Brown for years and trained with him, Lamar Jackson, and several other of the team’s top pass-catchers in the offseason.
At the onset of camp, he said that Brown has the potential to “shock the world” this year. If he achieves his goal of staying on the field, he’ll be key in the Ravens run to Super Bowl LVI (56) thanks to his game-breaking playmaking ability.
Brown scorched the Miami Dolphins in his NFL regular-season debut after watching most of training camp from the sidelines. If he torches the Las Vegas Raiders’ secondary in similar fashion next Monday night in primetime, he’d be well on his way to a breakout season.