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Kamar Aiken Standing Out Among Wideouts


Kamar Aiken has bounced around practice squads from the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.

And that's in only three years.

Now Aiken is looking to finally find a permanent residence on the Ravens' 53-man roster. He has no other choice.

"To me, my back is against the wall," Aiken said. "There's no more practice squad eligibility. It's the 53 or that's it."

Aiken is one of seven players vying for one or two spots at wide receiver. Judging from how he's practiced and the fact that he's getting playing time with the first-team offense, Aiken is one of the favorites in that competition.

Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked about what he's seen from Aiken.

"You've been paying attention!" Harbaugh said, addressing the reporter. "He's really shown a lot in the last few days, so we'll see if he can sustain it."

Aiken has appeared in just three games during his career. He's got one special teams tackle on his resume, which was logged in 2011.

He lost out to an offensive lineman in a roster numbers game in Buffalo. After spending two days on the Patriots' active roster, he was eventually released due to injuries. Aiken came to Baltimore last year and spent the last two months on the practice squad.

It can often be difficult for players to elevate from the practice squad, where they serve as a scout team for those on the 53-man roster.

"I never looked at myself as a practice squad guy or carried myself like that," Aiken said.

It's with good reason. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Central Florida product has major skills. He's made tough catches in traffic, he's gotten open along the sidelines, he's hauled in clutch practice touchdowns and done well on special teams.

Aiken is a frequent target of quarterback Joe Flacco and backup Tyrod Taylor.

"Kamar is explosive, he's big," Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak said.

Aiken said the difference this year is putting in the extra work in the offseason. He did Pilates, hot yoga, ate healthy and went in for extra massages. He prepared his body better for training camp in order to give his skills a chance to be seen.

"This offseason I attacked it way differently than I ever have since I've been in the league," Aiken said. "I spent a little extra money to make sure I had everything in place. That's just growing up."

There's still a ways to go in training camp, and Aiken will have to prove himself in the preseason games and emerge from a very competitive pack. But he's put himself in solid position.

"I'm confident, but I'm not looking that far ahead," Aiken said of making the 53-man roster. "I'm enjoying the ride. I'm just happy I can wake up and play the game I love."

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