‘It’s been a real long time’
After more than a year, Perriman eager for his debut Thursday night
The Ravens’ preseason finale Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints will be highlighted by the competition for a few open roster spots and the likely NFL debut of the team’s 2015 first-round draft pick.
After completing another practice and spending about a half-hour afterward with teammate Mike Wallace catching balls from the JUGS machine, Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman pronounced himself ready to make his long-awaited debut at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“It’s very exciting,” Perriman said. “I’ve been waiting for a long time and it’s finally coming. We got a preseason game Thursday and then we have the Buffalo Bills after that. I can’t be more excited. … I haven’t suited up for any games since college. It’s been a real long time. Just to think about it, I’ll be able to go out there with my teammates and my friends. It’s just crazy.”
Perriman, who missed his rookie season with a strained posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, then suffered a partially torn ACL in his left knee during organized team activities in June, was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list Aug. 18. He said he’s been cleared physically to play, but the final decision on whether he’s out there Thursday will be made by coach John Harbaugh.
Harbaugh said Monday that if Perriman is cleared by the doctors, he would play against New Orleans.
“I know I’m going to be nervous. I was nervous before every game even in college,” Perriman said. “But at the same time, I feel like it gives me a little bit of an edge. I think it makes me play better. I have no problem with it.”
Perriman has been practicing the past week and a half, and he said that he has “no complaints” about how he feels physically. He also maintains that the health of his knee isn’t on his mind.
“I’m just trying to play fast and get better each day,” Perriman said.
Thursday should be a nice test for the second-year wide receiver, who will be looking to solidify his role on a deep receiving corps. Harbaugh acknowledged Monday that the organization really wanted to see Perriman get into a game before the regular season begins. It appears Perriman will do just that.
“I know my role when I first came in, and I feel like it still hasn’t changed,” Perriman said. “I just want to do my part no matter what it is.” Ravens down to 75: The Ravens made four moves Tuesday to get their roster down to the required 75, waiving undrafted kicker Wil Lutz, putting rookie third-round defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and undrafted rookie free-agent tackle Stephane Nembot on injured reserve, and moving running back Lorenzo Taliaferro to the reserve physically-unable-to-perform list.
Taliaferro, who is still recovering from surgery in October to repair a Lisfranc foot sprain and didn’t practice in training camp, will be sidelined for at least the first six regular-season games. The third-year run- Breshad Perriman (18), practicing Tuesday with fellow wide receiver Mike Wallace, missed his entire rookie season with a strained ligament in his right knee. ning back now has an extended opportunity to get healthier, while the Ravens buy themselves time to see how their running back situation shakes out. A fourth-round pick in 2014, Taliaferro entered the summer behind Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, rookie Kenneth Dixon and possibly Terrance West (Towson University, Northwestern High).
Kaufusi broke his ankle Aug. 4 and will miss his entire rookie season.
The Ravens will have to cut their roster from 75 to 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday. Hurst turned the page: For obvious reasons, James Hurst might have been one of the happiest Ravens to see Joe Flacco return Saturday night.
Hurst was in at left tackle when he was pushed back into the quarterback in the final minute of an eventual 16-13 win against the then-St. Louis Rams on Nov. 22. Flacco tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee and was lost for the rest of the season.
“I’m just happy to see him out there,” Hurst said after Monday’s practice. “What’s in the past is in the past. I’ve talked to him about it, and that’s resolved. I’m just seeing what I can do better. It’s football, and I’m really happy for him that he’s healthy and that he looks good and that we’re ready to go.”
Hurst, who has started 13 games in the past two seasons and is listed as rookie Ronnie Stanley’s primary backup on the team’s depth chart, said Flacco’s return inspired his teammates.
“It was great,” Hurst said. “He was fired up. Just having your leader on offense come out there and play and play well like he did, he’s such a commanding presence and a great leader for us. Having him out there boosts everyone’s confidence.” End zone: Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters Tuesday that he’ll play his starters about a quarter Thursday night. Harbaugh was noncommittal about who will play for the Ravens, saying only that the team will approach the fourth preseason game “how we always do.” Harbaugh traditionally holds out most starters and several top backups in the last preseason game. … Allen, center Jeremy Zuttah and safety Lardarius Webb (back) returned to practice after missing Monday’s workout. The new absentees were outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and cornerback Shareece Wright, while running back Kenneth Dixon (knee), tight ends Dennis Pitta (finger) and Maxx Williams, left guard John Urschel (bruise), outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (ankle), nose tackle Brandon Williams and defensive backs Matt Elam (knee), Kendrick Lewis and Jerraud Powers remained sidelined.