Ravens Promote WR/RS Michael Campanaro To 53-Man Roster

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Michael Campanaro will get another shot to prove himself, and his durability.

The Ravens promoted the wide receiver/return specialist to the 53-man roster Wednesday afternoon before their first practice of the week.

After the release of veteran returner Devin Hester on Tuesday, Campanaro is likely to handle the job Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, though safety Lardarius Webb is another option.

Campanaro doesn't have a lot of experience as an NFL returner, but has shown potential. He has five career punt returns with an average of 13.2 yards and three career kick returns with an average of 26.3 yards. He's a shifty, sure-handed returner.

"I love returning punts and kicks," Campanaro said. "It's a big play, it's a game-changer. I'm just looking to go out there and make a positive impact. Ball security is the main priority. It's about making smart decisions."

In his eight career games (four each of the past two seasons), Campanaro has also flashed his ability on offense. Last year, he had five catches for 35 yards and an impressive 9-yard touchdown run in Pittsburgh. As a rookie in 2014, Campanaro caught seven passes for 102 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown in Tampa Bay.

But staying on the field has been the River Hill High School product's problem. He dealt with hamstring issues as a rookie, then a back injury suffered in that game against the Steelers last year ended his sophomore season early.

Campanaro was in great shape this offseason, but still suffered a calf injury during Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Campanaro tried to push through the injury and ended up making it worse. He missed nearly all of training camp.

The Ravens placed Campanaro on injured reserve when they cut the roster to 53, but did some crafty contract work to allow him to come back. They reached an injury settlement, which would allow Campanaro to re-sign with the team and return to the field.

"I'm just grateful for the opportunity," Campanaro said. "Been working hard.

"I definitely have a lot to prove to my teammates and the team. I have a lot of plays to make up. I'm excited to get back out there and play a football game."

Campanaro was brought back to the practice squad on Nov. 7, so he's had over a month to knock off the rust and pick Hester's brain.

"I learned a ton from him," Campanaro said. "We talked a ton about different returns. He was a great mentor and great veteran who was always willing to teach me."

Head Coach John Harbaugh said it was a tough move to waive Hester, but that it was a move that made the Ravens a stronger team down the final three-game stretch.

"We have so much respect for Devin and the effort he's put in," Harbaugh said. "I told him I feel like we didn't get the job done. We didn't do enough to make the return game productive enough to make it worthwhile."

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