Michael Campanaro Confident Entering Training Camp


Competition at wide receiver will be a main attraction when training camp opens next week.

The Ravens currently have 11 receivers on the roster, and second-year target Michael Campanaro is among the group of pass catchers hoping to solidify his role with a strong training camp. Campanaro is coming off a quad injury that held him out of the offseason practices, but he reported to camp on Friday with all the other injured Ravens and has high expectations.

"I feel pretty confident going into camp, just because I feel healthy," Campanaro said. "I'm just going to trust my talent, go out there and play."

Campanaro suffered the injury at the start of the offseason program in March, and he spent the next few months watching practice from the sidelines. The injury was particularly disappointing for Campanaro because he also battled a thigh injury last season that kept him out of six games.

"It was tough. It was frustrating," Campanaro said. "It was tough because I battled the injury all of last year. I think [Wide Receivers] Coach [Bobby] Engram and Steve [Smith Sr.] were two guys who helped out by giving some advice talking about guys who early in their career got injured a lot. They said not to let this be the end of your work, and just to continue to work hard to get back."

Campanaro heeded their advice and he has spent the last three months as a fixture in the training room. He's maintained a consistent rehab regimen to put him in the best position to stay healthy this year.

"I'm not really going to think about [the injury] in camp," Campanaro said. "You just can't even think about it. Injuries are part of the game and you just have to go out there and go full speed, make plays, and not think about stuff like that."

The Ravens have high expectations for Campanaro, a seventh-round pick in 2014. In four games during his rookie campaign, he caught seven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.

The 5-foot-9 target also brings a different skillset compared to other receivers. His forte is working out of the slot to find holes across the middle of the field. He also has reliable hands and isn't intimated by a big stage.

Campanaro proved his mettle with four catches for 39 yards in the playoffs, including a tough catch on the Ravens' final drive against the Patriots in the divisional round.

"When you're in big games like that, it just shows your teammates and coaches that you can step up and make a catch in crunch time," Campanaro said. "Just having that experience going into this season, it's a huge advantage." 

Another benefit for Campanaro is his ability on special teams.

He has return experience from college, and the Ravens used him as a punt returner at times last year. The full-time post opened after the Ravens cut Jacoby Jones, and Campanaro has his eye on it.

"I have some experience doing it last year and I think I can make some big plays back there," he said.

Campanaro has a high ceiling, but he still has plenty of work ahead of him before he's returning punts or catching passes in key late-season games. He first has to carve out his role amidst a deep receiving corps, and competition will be tight as young players like Kamar Aiken and Jeremy Butler came on strong during offseason practices.

That process starts with the first training camp practice next week, and Campnaro knows the camp and preseason games will be critical for him.

"Every guy in the room can definitely play," Campanaro said. "I think I have a little experience with that from last year because last year's training camp was the same way. It's just every day that you have to go out and prove yourself and be consistent with good play."

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