The wide receiver from River Hill, Md., has shown tremendous potential when healthy, but injuries have limited him to just eight games the last two years.
Campanaro knows he needs to keep himself on the field heading into his third NFL season.
“I’m looking at it for myself like a make-or-break year,” he said. “[I’ve spent the] first two years just being injured, but my teammates still believe in me, coaches do as well, so I’m looking to have a big offseason and come in for a big year.”
The Ravens drafted Campanaro in 2014 with the hope he could develop into a reliable chain-moving slot receiver. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound target brings a different skillset than any other receiver on Baltimore’s roster, and the Ravens need that kind of weapon in their passing arsenal.
Campanaro’s talent was clearly evident in the matchup with Pittsburgh this year when he turned a reverse that looked like a clear loss into a 9-yard touchdown capped off with a flip into the end zone.
But then Campanaro suffered a herniated disk in his back later in that game, and his season ended a few days later after being placed on injured reserve. Campanaro finished last year with 5 five catches for 35 yards, and two carries for 17 yards. He had also taken over as the starting punt returner, and had averaged 16.3 yards per return.
“It’s extremely frustrating, just the second year in a row not being able to play, being injured and being put on [injured reserve],” Campanaro said. “Playing is what I love to do, and I want to show my talents and show what I can do. So, it’s frustrating, but it’s a new season now, and I’m going to be ready to go.”
The injuries in Campanaro’s first and second season are different. He dealt with thigh issues during his rookie season, which he viewed as a result of his training methods. Campanro cleaned up those issues coming into the 2015 season, and looked like he had started to find his groove before the back injury.
“I think my first year, a hamstring pull, you can definitely avoid. I think that comes in training,” Campanaro said. “But maybe something like this past year, it was taking a hit the way I did. It was a play I’ve seen myself do a million times and just the wrong thing happened. That’s tough; it comes with a part of the game.”
Campanaro knows that for the third year in a row, he’ll be in the middle of a thick competition at receiver.
Campanaro’s work will be cut out for him in an intense competition over the next several months.
“I feel like if I can stay healthy, I can really make a big impact,” Campanaro said. “[I’ll spend] the entire offseason just training here at ‘The Castle,’ so I’m looking forward to it – looking to have a big offseason and come back ready to go.”