Rashod Bateman was paying attention to the 2022 NFL Draft and saw the news break that the Ravens had traded top wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.
His initial reaction?
"All respect due to him, and I'm going to miss him because he's my brother, but it was like, it's my time," Bateman told teammate Marlon Humphrey on "Studio 44."
"I feel like Baltimore drafted me for a reason. They drafted me to be in this position. For me, all I've been waiting on is the opportunity. I know what I'm capable of, I feel like the Ravens organization knows what I'm capable of. I'm just excited to go out and finally show it to the fans and especially to my teammates, for sure."
Bateman was the Ravens' top draft pick in 2021 and will now take over as the team's top wideout, with Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and Tylan Wallace also stepping into bigger roles with Brown now in Arizona.
Bateman said when he saw the trade happen, he reached out to some of his teammates, including Humphrey and Proche, about stepping into the lead role of the wide receivers.
"I hit up James. I was like, 'Bro, I'm going to need help leading this room,'" Bateman said. "Because Year 1 for me, I went through a lot dealing with an injury. So I'm like, 'How do you really do this?' Then I just watched how everybody else handled it and you've just got to do it. There's really no talking or being about it. I think that's where I get my leadership from."
Bateman was having a strong offseason last year, but a training camp injury sent him to core muscle surgery and delayed his debut. He missed the entire preseason and first five games of the regular season.
"I've never felt like more of a complete receiver during that time before I got hurt," he said. "It felt like I let my teammates down, I had let the Ravens organization down. Those guys drafted me and they were expected me to do those things. I like to live up to my expectations, no matter who it's coming from."
Bateman made his NFL debut in mid-October last year and showed his vast potential. He finished with 46 receptions for 515 yards and one touchdown. In a December game in Cleveland, Bateman hauled in seven of eight targets for 103 yards.
This offseason, Bateman has gotten together with Lamar Jackson multiple times to work on developing their chemistry, and has big expectations for himself in Year 2.
"I think I showed flashes last year," Bateman said. "I proved it to myself that I could play in this league. I feel like I just need to prove it to everybody else."