Hayden Hurst Aced His First Game, But Blew His First Touchdown Celebration

Ravens rookie first-round picks Hayden Hurst and Lamar Jackson talked in their hotel room (they're roomies) about what their celebration would be if they scored in front of a national audience in Thursday's Hall of Fame game.

Then, in the third quarter, they got their shot. Jackson took a quick drop and fired a dart to Hurst, who got free with an out-route in zone coverage, for an 8-yard touchdown.

It was their first NFL touchdown and they did it together. Time to bust out the celebration …

"I was so excited I might have blown it. I just spiked it," Hurst said with a laugh. "I'm happy to have it happen with Lamar. Hopefully it's a sign of great things to come."

Hurst caught a team-high three passes for 14 yards. He was targeted a team-high four times. He would have had more stats, but his toughest catch was wiped off the board because of an illegal formation penalty.

The numbers aren't gaudy, but the performance gave an indication of how Hurst will be able to make an immediate impact this season.

Baltimore drafted Hurst seven spots ahead of Jackson to help Joe Flacco and the offense improve on their third-down conversion rate by making contested catches, and he did just that Thursday night.

"That's what I prided myself on," Hurst said. "When the ball is thrown my direction, I'm going to do whatever I can to catch it. Coverage, high throw, whatever it is, I want to come down with the ball. It's just the competitor in me."

Veteran tight ends Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams got the starting nod Thursday. Boyle dropped one pass and caught another for a 12-yard gain. Williams hauled in a 5-yard touchdown from Robert Griffin III for the Ravens' first touchdown.

It wasn't long before Hurst was thrust into the action, and he was quickly targeted from multiple spots – both on the line alongside a fellow rookie, right tackle Orlando Brown Jr., and split out wide as a receiver.

"The first couple drives I was a little nervous, but I have a lot of confidence," Hurst said. "That's the type of player I am. I know there's stuff to clean up, but seeing stuff come together gives me more confidence."

Hurst is still amazed at his journey from a professional Minor League baseball pitcher back to college at South Carolina and now the NFL. His first game, albeit preseason, was another milestone. The fact that he scored a touchdown made it even more special.

"It was incredible," Hurst said. "Just the fact that I'm in the NFL after where I've been the past five years, just to get here is incredible. … It feels good to go out there and show the world."

So what celebration will Hurst show the world next time he scores?

"I don't know if I'm going to plan anything. I don't know if that's the kind of guy I am," Hurst said. "If something comes to me in the moment, I'll go for it. Spikes probably."

Check out the action from the Ravens' preseason opener against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio.

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