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Hey Rookie! Haruki Nakamura


* wants to use the Hey Rookie! blog as a way to let every rookie on the roster tell a little bit about their story. We'll have different voices speaking to you throughout the season. *


Safety Haruki Nakamura, a sixth-round draft pick from the University of Cincinnati, checks in with his thoughts as the Ravens prepare for Cleveland.

It's been a great season so far for me. One thing I can say is that I'm learning a lot more, and that was one of my goals this year – just to learn as much as I can. Right now, I'm getting pretty comfortable with things. Special teams-wise, I'm very comfortable, and I feel I can make a big impact there this season. Overall, I'm pretty confident with that aspect, but you can always do more.

From the safety position, it's hard to learn from Ed [Reed], because Ed does things that a lot of people can't do, honestly. But sometimes, it's being able to let things unfold in front of you, especially as a rookie, instead of jumping to conclusions. That's one of the things I'm trying to focus on, to let things happen instead of getting ahead of myself. It's almost like learning the game again. You had a pace you set in college, and now you have to do it again at the next level.

Things have been fun, though. Against the Bengals, Rex [Ryan, defensive coordinator] had seven defensive backs on the field at one point. That's unheard of, at least to me. I've never seen anything like that, and that's what makes playing in Baltimore so much fun. It lets players get their opportunity, and hopefully some week I'll get my opportunity to be one of those guys. It's a crazy defense all around, which makes it so exciting for me.

A lot is always said about the rookie wall, but I don't really think about stuff like that. As rookies, we should be in great shape anyway because we've been training all year, with the Combine, the minicamps, training camps. Now that we've had our bye weekend moved up with the hurricane, it's going to be 15 straight weeks, but I don't believe in the rookie wall. If we take it week-to-week, we'll be all right.

So with college football ramping up, I've got some Cincinnati connections here. [Ed. note: Head coach John Harbaugh, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg and offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg all coached at the University of Cincinnati.] Cincinnati football is known as tough, hard-nosed football. It gets the guys that may not have been recruited by the Big 10 schools or the Pac 10 schools, but don't belong in a really small school. Just those mean, tough players that compete every day and have to fight for recognition. It's always been that way because of guys like that.

Baltimore is becoming more familiar now. At first, it was a rush because you don't get a chance to get your bearings. But, I'm loving Baltimore now after getting around the city a little bit. I'm looking forward to the game this weekend, especially because it's at home. Running out of that tunnel was incredible. It's like you're a little kid running through a candy store. You've got a big smile on your face, and it's so exciting.

The thing I want fans to know about me is that I'm going to compete. I try to bring energy to the field every time I'm on it, and I hope the fans can see it.

I'll just keep trying to make plays for this team.

- Haruki

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