Former Mids star patiently strives to reach next level
A year after he set several NCAA records, garnered a groundswell of support for college football’s highest individual honor and finished leading Navy to an unprecedented run of success, Keenan Reynolds is working on his skill set in near-anonymity.
A member of the Ravens practice squad, Reynolds is on the sideline for home and away games, but he’s typically in a sweatsuit rather than a uniform. He practices with the team every day, but his role on the scout team usually has him wearing the jersey number of a wide receiver the Ravens are preparing to face that weekend. Much of Reynolds’ work with wide receivers coach Bobby Engram is done after practice, when few people are watching and most of the Ravens have long settled into the locker room.
“It’s definitely an adjustment, but it’s also very humbling and an important part of my career,” Reynolds said after a recent practice. “I’m just working every day, trying to keep my eyes on the end goal and being patient because the time will come.”
The Ravens drafted Reynolds in the sixth round in April, believing that the prolific former quarterback could make the transition to NFL wide receiver and return specialist. About eight weeks after Reynolds was among the team’s final preseason cuts, cleared waivers and was re-signed to the practice squad, Ravens coaches sound more resolute than ever about their belief in Reynolds.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Keenan Reynolds is going to be a very good receiver in this league,” coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday.
“He’s a guy that we value a lot. We all have high hopes for him,” said associate head coach and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg.
Reynolds, 21, wouldn’t go as far as to say that he needed this time away from the pressure cooker of games and a summer roster struggle. As an ultra-competitive player who has proved people wrong before, it would be uncharacteristic of him to make that concession. But he will readily say how beneficial his time on the practice squad has been.
His slew of drops and muffed punts during training camp practices were well documented and revealed a player who had a lot to learn about a new position and different role. Reynolds had just one catch for 2 yards in four preseason games, and showed little to suggest that he’d be able to help the active roster immediately.
But his current role allows him to work on his skills while helping prepare his teammates for opponents. Reynolds has mimicked the New York Giants’ Sterling Shepard, the Washington Redskins’ DeSean Jackson and other receivers during game weeks. To prepare, he watches film on them and other pass catchers throughout the league, looking to incorporate elements of their play into his game.
“Just being on the practice squad in this role, it gives me an opportunity to just focus on the craft, and not have to
After a record-setting senior season as Navy’s quarterback, Keenan Reynolds is honing his skills as a receiver and kick returner on the Ravens practice squad.