Rookie running back Bernard Pierce returned to practice Saturday for the first time since July 30.
He missed eight full practices and the Ravens' first preseason game in Atlanta.
But Pierce and Head Coach John Harbaugh say the third-round pick isn't battling from behind in the competition for the No. 2 running back job.
"It's not really a race in that sense," Harbaugh said. "It's not that he's behind or anything like that. He's just going to have to do well with the reps and opportunities that he gets, and that's going to be his body of work."
Harbaugh said Pierce hasn't had the ability to learn from his own mistakes, so it will be key to see whether he has learned from others' miscues.
"I don't feel like I have to make up any ground," Pierce said. "I know my plays. I was in the film room. I was watching practice sometimes. I'm really not behind from that aspect."
The Ravens were particularly cautious in bringing Pierce back considering he injured the same hamstring that ended his minicamp early. Pierce said he previously tried to rush back and re-injured himself.
Now taking his time (he was held out of 11-on-11 work), Pierce is first looking to get back in shape considering he couldn't do any running as he rested his hamstring. He said he felt good after Saturday's practice.
"I'm trying to climb the ladder a little bit, but not try do overdue anything," Pierce said. "I'm trying to preserve my body right now, so that when I hit the open field, I can full-out sprint."
He joins Anthony Allen, Damien Berry and rookie free agent Bobby Rainey in the competition. Rainey has stood out the most since Pierce went down, including scoring a touchdown in Thursday night's preseason opener.
Pierce watched the game on his computer from his couch in Philadelphia. He had to buy a subscription to Preseason Live in order to do so.
"That hurt. That hurt me a lot," Pierce said of having to watch. "I was like a cheerleader though. On some of the big plays I would be yelling at the computer."
Pierce took in the game with his newborn son, Bernard Jr., his first child born on Aug. 5.
It's a new source of motivation for the rookie as he re-enters the competition to backup starter Ray Rice.
"It's not just about me anymore," Pierce said. "I have another mouth to feed and somebody who is going to be looking up to me soon. I got to start getting it right now."