Breshad Perriman heard General Manager Ozzie Newsome's offseason comment that it's a make-or-break year for the talented wide receiver.
"Of course it is. I think everybody knows that," Perriman said.
As he enters his fourth NFL season, the 2015 first-round pick is on the roster bubble. The Ravens signed three veteran free agents and drafted two mid-round wide receivers. After purging much of last year's unit, it's suddenly a crowded room again.
Perriman has been with the Ravens the longest of any wide receiver on the roster, though his first three years haven't worked out how he, or anybody else, expected. There's no changing that now, and Perriman knows it. All he can do is focus on moving forward.
"Last year wasn't the season I wanted, so this year I'm very hungry," Perriman said. "I know how big a year it is for me, but I have full confidence in myself."
The Ravens drafted Perriman as a big-bodied speedster who seemed to have all the makings of a No. 1 receiver. Instead, a litany of injuries have stunted his development.
Perriman missed his entire rookie season because of a PCL knee injury. Another knee injury sidelined him during the summer before his second year, but he still made strides with 33 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns.
Last year was supposed to be Perriman's launching pad, and he looked ready when he was dominating in Organized Team Activities (OTAs). Perriman hauled in deep throws nearly every practice, showing off his unique speed and big-play ability.
But Perriman once again struggled with injuries (hamstring) in training camp, which took the wind out of his sails. When he got back on the field, he was plagued by drops and had a couple costly ones in games that led to interceptions.
Needing the offense to step up, the Ravens made the decision to bench Perriman midway through the season. After the team's Week 10 bye, Perriman was active for just three of the final seven games. He finished the year with 10 catches for 77 yards and zero touchdowns.
"I'm not going to lie to you, going through the season I had last year was definitely tough," Perriman said. "You have to fight thoughts to stay positive. I just look back on what I've been through. I think this is another chapter, and it will make my story that much better in the end."
Perriman believes he can turn things around for two primary reasons: improved health and more confidence.
Perriman has literally invested in his body this offseason. After he leaves the Under Armour Performance Center, he goes into a routine of acupuncture, cryotherapy, cupping, massage and extra strength exercises for his legs. The other part is trusting himself and that he knows what he's doing.
"When I'm out there, I need to play freely," Perriman said. "Don't think too much, just use my God-given ability. Use my speed. I'm at my best when I play my fastest."
Perriman is going to have to make a splash quickly as OTAs kick off next week. He's reportedly due a $650,000 roster bonus on the third day of training camp, so he needs to prove that he's worth keeping on the roster throughout the summer.
"Everybody is going to be out there competing every day. It's going to be fun," Perriman said. "I know what I did last year during this time and I plan on doing it again. My expectation is to do it better than last year.
"As long as I take care of what I can take care of and stay healthy, we'll see where it goes. I think I'm capable of big things."