Jeremy Ross Makes Strong Case For Returner Job In Debut


Head Coach John Harbaugh and Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg have fielded questions for months about who the Ravens would use as the return man this season.

The position has been in flux since the team parted ways with Jacoby Jones this offseason, but the Ravens now appear to have their answer.

Jeremy Ross took over the both return jobs against Cleveland after getting called up from the practice squad, and he made a strong case for why he should maintain the returning role in future weeks.

"I was prepared for it if it came, and it did," Ross said after Sunday's game. "I'm going to go out and prepare like I am [the starter] every practice. As a competitor, you want to be the guy to make plays for the team, so that's definitely in my nature. I'll be whoever I need to be for this team."

Ross was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing loss to the Browns. He fielded five kickoffs and returned them for an average of 27.2 yards. His long of the day was a 46-yard return, which bested the team's previous long of 29 yards by Michael Campanaro.

Ross also returned two punts for a total of 21 yards.

"I think I did alright," Ross said. "I had one good, explosive return, and I had a good average in punt returns. It was a pretty good performance."

Ross' performance could have very well been enough to win him the job, but injuries to the other returners have likely cemented his status. Campanaro is already on injured reserve, and the other returners, Steve Smith Sr. and Lardarius Webb, are battling injuries.

"Any practice squad guy will tell you that they want to be out there, they want to play the games," Ross said. "I was one of those guys, and I definitely wanted to play. I knew what it felt like to play and be on a roster. I definitely loved it today."

Harbaugh was complimentary of Ross' debut, and also praised the overall special teams unit for their blocking in front of him.

"Those guys did a good job against a really good unit," Harbaugh said.

Ross may have also earned himself some more playing time on offense. He caught two passes for 24 yards in his eight offensive snaps. With Smith battling the back injury and rookie Darren Waller now sidelined with a concussion, Ross may find himself taking on an even bigger role early in his Baltimore career.

"He's a good receiver, and – how much he gets on the field – I don't see any reason why he wouldn't continue to expand his role," Harbaugh said. "He's a good receiver, and he has done a nice job with the return game."

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