Cam­pa­naro makes re­turn as planned

Steve Smith Sr. not listed on in­jury re­port

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS & NFL - By Ed­ward Lee ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Jeff Zre­biec con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

Michael Cam­pa­naro’s faith in the Ravens and vice versa pro­duced an out­come both sides wanted.

Af­ter the team waived him with an in­jury set­tle­ment Sept. 13 be­cause of a calf strain, Cam­pa­naro worked out on his own. Af­ter heal­ing, the River Hill grad­u­ate, who lives in Clarksville, could have joined the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers, New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots or Den­ver Bron­cos, but he stayed true to his word and joined the Ravens prac­tice squad Mon­day.

“That was kind of our plan when we did the set­tle­ment,” Cam­pa­naro said af­ter Mon­day’s prac­tice. “But you never know. When some­thing like that hap­pens, you’ve got to trust the word of them. But they held true on their end, and I did the same thing. We have a good re­la­tion­ship, and I’m just happy it worked out.”

Cam­pa­naro, 25, re­joins the team, which is tied for the lead in the AFC North af­ter Sun­day’s 21-14 vic­tory over the Steel­ers. The sev­enth-round pick from the 2014 NFL draft could bol­ster a re­turn game that has strug­gled with Devin Hester Sr.

Hester sur­passed Dar­rien Gor­don for third place for the most punt re­turn yards in NFL his­tory Sun­day, but he has been slowed by a pulled groin that has af­fected his abil­ity to move lat­er­ally and con­trib­uted to his fum­bling four times thus far.

Coach John Har­baugh was happy to see Cam­pa­naro back.

“His legs were fresh,” Har­baugh said. “He was bob­bing around. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that he’s here and not some­where else. He would have had a chance a cou­ple of weeks ear­lier to go with an­other team, and he wanted to wait un­til the rules made him avail­able to come here. We’ll put him to work and see where he’s at. There’s a chance he can con­trib­ute for us.”

To make room for Cam­pa­naro, the club re­leased wide re­ceiver Dob­son Collins, who had spent time with the San Fran­cisco 49ers Wide re­ceiver Steve Smith Sr., warm­ing up be­fore Sun­day’s game, ev­i­dently prac­ticed with­out hin­drance Mon­day. Michael Cam­pa­naro joined the Ravens prac­tice squad Mon­day. and the Philadel­phia Ea­gles be­fore play­ing in the Canadian Foot­ball League. S. Smith no longer on in­jury re­port: Wide re­ceiver Steve Smith Sr. did not ap­pear dur­ing the por­tion of Mon­day’s prac­tice open to the me­dia, but he was not listed on the team’s in­jury re­port, mean­ing that he par­tic­i­pated with­out any hin­drance. Smith did not prac­tice Wed­nes­day, par­tic­i­pated on a lim­ited ba­sis Thurs­day, and took part fully in Fri­day’s ses­sion be­fore catch­ing four passes for 47 yards Sun­day.

Five play­ers listed as ques­tion­able be­fore Sun­day’s game also are not on the in­jury re­port: in­side line­backer C.J. Mosley (ham­string), rookie left tackle Ron­nie Stan­ley (foot), out­side line­backer Ter­rell Suggs (bi­ceps), safety Lar­dar­ius Webb (ham­string), and rookie cor­ner­back Tavon Young (concussion). Suggs wore a large brace on his left arm dur­ing prac­tice.

Rookie run­ning back Ken­neth Dixon fully par­tic­i­pated. He left in the fourth quar­ter against the Steel­ers af­ter suf­fer­ing what the team called a chest con­tu­sion.

Out­side lineback­ers Elvis Dumervil (foot) and rookie Ka­malei Cor­rea (thigh), tight end Crock­ett Gill­more (thigh), cor­ner­back Sha­reece Wright (ham­string), and right guard Mar­shal Yanda (shoul­der) did not prac­tice. Les­son learned for Jerni­gan: Timmy Jerni­gan knew ex­actly what to do with the first in­ter­cep­tion of his ca­reer.

Mid­way through the third quar­ter of the Ravens’ win against the Steel­ers, nose tackle Bran­don Wil­liams bat­ted a pass from quar­ter­back Ben Roeth­lis­berger into the air. Jerni­gan, de­spite be­ing en­gaged with an of­fen­sive lineman, man­aged to catch it and im­me­di­ately fell to the turf to se­cure the ball at Pitts­burgh’s 32-yard line. The of­fense turned the take­away into a 42-yard field goal by Justin Tucker that gave the Ravens a 13-0 ad­van­tage.

Jerni­gan didn’t fare so well on a sim­i­lar play against the New York Jets on Oct. 23. He re­cov­ered a fum­ble by run­ning back Matt Forte at the Ravens 3-yard line late in the third quar­ter, but was stripped by wide re­ceiver Bran­don Mar­shall, who re­cov­ered the loose ball at the 5.

“I was sim­ply think­ing about catch­ing the ball and then fall­ing,” Jerni­gan said about Sun­day’s in­ter­cep­tion. “I un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion. I am a fast learner. Grow­ing up in my house­hold, when my mom told you to do some­thing, whether you liked it or you didn’t like it, if you didn’t do it, there was go­ing to be prob­lems. I know to re­spect my el­ders and if Coach wants me to fall on the ball, I’ll fall on it. Pe­riod.” Waller more in­volved: On Sun­day, tight end Dar­ren Waller caught two passes for 17 yards, match­ing his en­tire 2015 to­tal for re­cep­tions and fall­ing just one yard shy of his to­tal yards from last sea­son.

With Gill­more ab­sent, Waller found him­self more in­volved on of­fense, tak­ing a sea­son- and per­sonal-best 23 snaps be­hind starter Den­nis Pitta (58 plays).

“I felt like I was more in­volved in the pass­ing plays,” said Waller, a con­verted wide re­ceiver who served a four-game sus­pen­sion for vi­o­lat­ing the NFL’s sub­stance­abuse pol­icy. “But I al­ways feel like I’m in­volved in the pass­ing game some­how. It may be small or it may not be as big of a role, but I feel like I was in­volved to­day.” End zone: Browns coach Hue Jack­son said he is stick­ing with rookie Cody Kessler as the start­ing quar­ter­back for Thurs­day night’s game. Har­baugh said he was im­pressed by the third-round pick, who com­pleted 19 of 27 passes for 203 yards and one touch­down and a 104.4 passer rat­ing in Sun­day’s 35-10 loss to the Dal­las Cow­boys. He is “a good ath­lete, and it looks like he has a good com­mand of Hue’s of­fense,” Har­baugh said. “We’re get­ting ready for him. Ob­vi­ously, Josh McCown is al­ways loom­ing. Our fo­cus will be on Cody Kessler, and our hands will be full be­cause he’s looked good when he’s played.” … The Ravens added tight end Mitchell Henry to the prac­tice squad. Henry joined the Green Bay Pack­ers as an un­drafted free agent in 2015 and ap­peared in two games with the Bron­cos later that year. Henry filled the va­cancy cre­ated when the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins signed of­fen­sive tackle Blaine Clausell from the prac­tice squad. Clausell joined the team as an un­drafted free agent in 2015 and had spent the fi­nal seven games of that sea­son and the first eight of this fall on the prac­tice squad. … Smith is the team’s nom­i­nee for the Salute to Ser­vice Award. Pre­sented an­nu­ally by USAA and the NFL, the award hon­ors a league em­ployee for his or her ded­i­ca­tion to hon­or­ing and sup­port­ing the mil­i­tary. Past win­ners in­clude Har­baugh (2013).

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

KIM HAIRSTON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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