Keenan Reynolds Has Come A Long Way, But Is It Far Enough?


These days, Keenan Reynolds wears a bracelet inscribed with a simple message: "I can do it."

Reynolds found it in his locker on the first day of training camp, a gift from Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram.

"Every time I'm having a down day, I just look down at my arm," Reynolds said.

The transition from record-setting Navy quarterback to Ravens wide receiver and special teams returner has been filled with bumps for Reynolds.

The sixth-round pick has worked as hard as he could – he's often among the last players off the practice field – but he still finds himself likely on the outside looking in on the Ravens' 53-man roster bubble.

Outside of the top four receivers, fourth-round rookie Chris Moore is more polished than Reynolds. The player most comparable to Reynolds, Michael Campanaro, is healthy and looks like the starting punt returner. Jeremy Butler has two preseason touchdowns and even he still finds himself on the bubble.

Add it up and the numbers game isn't in Reynolds' favor.

"I don't know what to expect, to be honest," Reynolds said. "I'm just rolling with the punches, so I'm just going to keep doing that."

Reynolds was one of the best stories of the draft, a midshipmen who found out on graduation day that he got final approval from the Secretary of Defense that his deployment would be deferred to chase his NFL dream.

Everybody knew that once the pomp and circumstance finished, there would be a lot of work for Reynolds to do – something he has never shied from.

Reynolds had caught one pass in his college career, which came on a trick play in his final game. The NCAA's career touchdowns leader (88) had a knack for making plays and the work ethic and attitude to mold his game, but becoming* *an NFL wide receiver requires more.

"The big picture is he's a quarterback going to receiver, so everything is like a foundation," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He has to make strides everywhere. He does that very well every day. It's one step at a time. There's a broad spectrum of things that he's working on."

Reynolds has improved on the techniques of playing receiver over the course of training camp. He had some tough practices earlier this summer and as training camp opened, but he's also had some impressive snags.

When Reynolds watches film from Organized Team Activities, he said he's "light years" ahead now.

"But I also have a long way to go," he added. "I understand that, and I grind on the little details and try to get better.

"It's humbling. Everybody that straps on the pads is battling every day to retain their job. That's why guys come out and practice at such a high level each and every day."

Reynolds said he's felt pressure to make the team, especially given his story.

"Just being from the area, so many people from around here are texting me asking how it's going," he said. "At the same time, I have to remember that everybody is feeling that pressure. Everybody was the best where they were. So I'm not unique or anything special."

Reynolds will get his best shot to show his improvement to those texting him Thursday night in New Orleans. In the fourth and final preseason game, the reserves are expected to see extensive action.

Up* *to this point, Reynolds' only preseason plays were being interfered with on a fair catch in the first game, making two tackles on punt coverage in the second game and one 12-yard punt return in Saturday's third game. He's been targeted by one pass and made no catches.

"I'm really excited to showcase the things I've picked up and learned since I've been in camp. I'm ready to do what I need to do," Reynolds said.

"I'm just grateful, grateful for this opportunity and grateful I'm here another day. I want to take advantage of the opportunity coming my way Thursday."

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