When Jacoby Jones went down with a knee sprain in the first half of Thursday night's game, the first thing that popped into wide receiver Marlon Brown's head was, "I've got to grow up."
"I'm not a rookie anymore at the end of the day," Brown said. "When you're on the field, people don't see you as a rookie. They see you as on the field with the ones, so you have to play like one of the starters."
Brown played as a starter for much of the game against the Denver Broncos, and may have to continue in that role if Jones misses extended time. Brown did well in his first test, catching four passes for 65 yards and a 13-yard touchdown.
Just about 10 months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which sidelined him for much of his first summer in the NFL, Brown is quickly making an impact.
He's gone from an undrafted rookie out of Georgia, to a member of the 53-man roster, and now an NFL starter.
"It was pretty exciting," Brown said of his first regular-season game. "I went out there and I had fun. First and foremost, it was definitely a blessing and a dream come true. But we didn't win. I like to win."
Brown said Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler told him he would get 30 to 35 snaps in Thursday's game regardless. When Jones went down, Brown's workload got heavier. He was targeted by six passes.
Brown had one catch and run for 23 yards. On his 13-yard touchdown, he made a sharp cut and broke away from cornerback Kayvon Webster while heading for the sideline in the end zone. Webster grabbed Brown's jersey but it didn't matter. He easily hauled in the touchdown pass.
"It's a personal milestone – my first NFL touchdown," Brown said. "To be honest, I'm not satisfied. I'm going to grow from it and get better."
Brown had to beat the odds just to make the Ravens' 53-man roster. He missed the team's second preseason game because he was still rehabbing his knee, then beat out veterans Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams for a spot.
Brown had a strong preseason with 10 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He's now rolling that into the regular season.
"I'm just a hard worker," Brown said. "After my injury, I came in with a chip on my shoulder. I felt like I was behind the other rookies coming in who were working out and doing stuff at the combine. They were mobile and I couldn't work. I felt like I had to work 30 times harder than anybody else."
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