A rookie's first NFL game – preseason or not – is an unforgettable experience preceded by every emotion one can think of: excitement, nervousness, achievement, fear.
Luckily for tight end Ed Dickson and the rest of the Ravens' rookies, they've already had a dress rehearsal.
After Saturday's training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium, Dickson feels he's better prepared for Thursday's preseason opener versus the Carolina Panthers.
But he's still highly anticipating his first game. We here at BR.com caught up with Dickson to see how he's feeling entering his debut.
Q: What do you expect your emotions to be like in your first NFL game Thursday?
"Emotions are going to be high. I'm going to be ready to go out and hit somebody from the jump. After that first hit, I'll be good."
Q: What was the experience like practicing at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday?
"It was an experience like no other. Just leading up to that first game is going to be amazing. I come from a stadium [at Oregon] that holds about 60,000 fans and it's loud. We'll see how it gets here. I hear it's like no other."
Q: How beneficial was it to practice at the stadium instead of waiting for the first game?
"It was very beneficial, in regards to getting the right cleats down with the new turf and stuff. It's like home court advantage. You want to take care of your house. We're going to come out and light it up."
Q: How much of an impact do you think you'll have this year?
"A big impact. I'm just going out there to prove in the preseason that I can play at this level. That when it gets serious they can count on me. Once I prove that, I'm looking to take a role. When Todd [Heap] needs me to come in, I don't want the offense to miss a beat. I want us clicking on all cylinders and that's going to help us win a lot of games this year."
Q: How does it feel to have so much success so far in training camp?
"It feels good because when you first come in you want to live up to your job potential. To know I'm living up to my job potential, maybe even more, is good. … Whenever I make a big catch or something like that, I don't pat myself on the back. It's routine. That's what I do. Once the game gets live, I'll get a little more excited and you'll probably see a little smile break out. [laughs]"