Kelley Washington wasted little time making an impact with his newest club.
With Derrick Mason not participating in the Ravens' four-day passing camp this week as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery, Washington's No. 2 jersey stood out with the second team.
The Ravens officially signed the veteran to a one-year contract Monday morning so he could join the aerially-focused sessions. The team also released wideout Marcus Maxwell on Monday.
And while Washington admitted to a lack of knowledge regarding the playbook, his sharp route-running and sure hands were evident.
In his first real practice as a Raven, Washington caught a 40-yard bomb from Troy Smithwhen cornerback Evan Oglesbyslipped and fell in coverage, and then made another tough shoelace grab for a first down when he dove for a low pass.
Afterwards, a smile crossed Washington's face as he breathlessly walked off the field.
"It felt good to be out here with the guys and break a sweat, getting into the football aspect of things," Washington said, fresh from running extra wind sprints with rookie free agent Eron Riley. "I know the guys have been working hard all offseason, so I just wanted to come in here and contribute the way I can. This is just the beginning."
Of course, Washington would love to immediately challenge for a starting spot at receiver, but he realizes he can contribute by adding another veteran presence to the offensive meeting room.
"It's always good to have some veteran players," said the 29-year-old. "I know Derrick Mason has been around here a long time, and there are some younger guys here, too. I hope I can bring some veteran leadership."
Joining a team that reached the AFC Championship last season, Washington believes the Ravens offer a perfect match.
"It's a great opportunity," he said. "This is a team that is right on the verge of doing some great things. I felt comfortable here with coach Jackson, so I wanted to get in here as fast as I could to get familiar with the system."
Washington, who enters his sixth year in the NFL, emerged from a three-player tryout with free agents Jerry Porter and Tab Perry during the Ravens' recent mandatory minicamp.
A former third-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington reportedly entertained an offer from the Washington Redskins, but pursued the Ravens because of his previous relationship with Baltimore quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson, who served as the Bengals' receivers coach from 2004-06.
"Kelley is a professional who's been in this system and has had hard coaching," said Jackson. "I know [wide receivers] coach [Jim] Hostler will take him to a whole different level. I also think Kelley is good for our guys in that he knows what to expect, and he's willing to do everything it takes for our team to succeed."
"We've had a good connection over the years," Washington agreed. "I know what he expects from his receivers, and I know how to come to work for him."
Washington's desire to push himself is unmistakable. Most conversations with him are dotted with phrases concerning "hard work" and a "lunch pail."
Washington is also a willing special teams contributor, a skill he developed playing for the New England Patriots from 2007-08.
He owns 73 catches for 896 yards (12.3 avg.) and nine touchdowns throughout his career, but the University of Tennessee product has also posted 27 special teams tackles over the past three years.
"I'm a guy that is going to handle my business, whether that's on teams or making plays in the passing game," Washington explained. "I want to work my butt off to get in there."