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Chris Givens Out To Beat His Former Team


Chris Givens had two words for Rams cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson when he sent them a text message Monday.

"Sleep well."

Their response?


"That's a word they use like they're going to lock me down," Givens said with a laugh. "We'll see how that goes."

While Givens is joking around with some of his former teammates before squaring off against them Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens' new starting wide receiver is dead serious about wanting to have a big game versus the team that traded him away on Oct. 3.

Givens is happy in Baltimore. He's happy with the trade. But there's still clearly a chip on his shoulder after falling down the depth chart in St. Louis.

"It's going to be a little more intense," Givens said. "They don't want me to win, I know they don't. Just with the history I have with everybody, they don't want me to win. I feel like it's going to be a focal point to make sure I don't."

Givens was the Rams' fourth-round pick in 2012. He had a big rookie season with 42 catches for 698 yards and three touchdowns in 12 starts. He followed it up with 34 catches for 569 yards in 13 starts the next year.

But after two seasons, Givens' chances plummeted with the emergence of Baltimore product Tavon Austin and Brian Quick. Last year, the Rams traded for Kenny Britt and made him a starter. Givens had just 11 catches in 2014 and one in the first three weeks this season with the Rams.

"I was not, in any way, disappointed with his progress," Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said of Givens. "He's a great team guy, can really run and had some big plays early in his career. Anytime we called on him and put the ball up in the air, it seemed like he was making the play."

Fisher said Givens was merely on the wrong end of the numbers game. The Rams had an abundance of talent at receiver and the Ravens were badly in need of a speed threat on the outside.

"I feel like anytime you get a surplus and you've got guys that can play, then you should give them a chance to play someplace else," Fisher said. "So, it's a really good deal for both teams."

Givens has felt at home in Baltimore, where he's now an integral part of the offense. He joked that he doesn't even need his morning alarm anymore.

"I wake up excited to be here. I get here early, stay late," he said. "It's just one of those places you look forward to coming to, just knowing that you're going to get a fair opportunity and everybody's in it for the same reason. That just makes the environment that much more fun."

Givens has yet to have an explosive game with the Ravens, although he's made some much-needed big plays.

He caught a 31-yard pass in Arizona and a 39-yard pass against San Diego. He notched his first touchdown last week against Jacksonville on a 14-yard play midway through the fourth quarter that put the Ravens ahead, 20-19, and should have stood as the game winner.

Givens hardly showed any emotion after the touchdown, casually stretching the ball over the goal line before pointing to the crowd and high-fiving a couple teammates.

Givens said he used to celebrate a lot in his early days, but when he started putting in more work during the offseason and taking his profession more seriously, he got to the level where he expected success every week.

"Sunday, I expected to score somehow," he said. "When I did, I felt relieved because it was the first one and I got it out of the way."

Now Givens is hoping to reach the end zone again (or multiple times) this Sunday against his former mates. And to do it, he's going to have to count on that level-headedness. He said if he lets his emotions get too high, he starts messing up.

This is his chance to show the Rams that he should have been higher on their priority list.

"I just want to go out there and play well and have a great game," Givens said. "I feel like if I go out there and handle my business, then that will show them everything they need to see."

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