The Ravens have a familiar face back in the building.
Baltimore has re-signed receiver and returner Michael Campanaro to the practice squad after waiving him with an injury designation (calf) at the start of the season. Monday was the first day by league rules that the team could bring Campanaro back to Baltimore.
The River Hill High School product now returns to his hometown team that picked him in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
"It's good to see Michael back," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "His legs were fresh and he was bopping around, so I really appreciate the fact that he's here and not somewhere else. He would have had a chance to go with another team, and he wanted to wait until the rules made him available to come back here."
To make room for Campanaro on the roster, the Ravens released wide receiver Dobson Collins. Baltimore also added tight end Mitchell Henry to an open spot on the practice squad.
Campanaro has spent the last eight weeks working to recover from the calf issue that hindered him throughout training camp. He has shed about 10 pounds training and has been fully healthy for the last few weeks.
"This is the best I've felt probably since college," Campanaro said. "I'm faster, got stronger, and finally feel good."
Other teams showed interest in Campanaro, but he wanted to wait to sign until he had an opportunity to return to Baltimore.
Bringing Campanaro back gives the Ravens another option if veteran returner Devin Hester continues to struggle. Hester, 34, has dealt with nagging hamstring issues in both legs throughout the season, and has largely been ineffective in the return game.
Hester, who will likely end up in the Hall of Fame, has also had ball security issues. He has fumbled four times during the season and has looked increasingly shaky under punts the last few weeks. In Sunday's win over the Steelers, he allowed multiple return opportunities to hit the turf rather than rushing up to field them in the air.
Campanaro has to get moved to the 53-man roster if he is going to play in a game this season. His return doesn't come as a huge surprise because both sides seemed open to the possibility from the time the Ravens released him.
"I definitely could see him coming back," Harbaugh said Sept. 6. "We have a lot invested in Michael; he has a lot invested here. … I have nothing but respect for Michael Campanaro – not just him as a person and a worker, but also as a talent. The guy has talent. Sure, it would be great to get him back."
Campanaro's biggest issue has just been staying healthy. He's dealt with calf, hamstring, groin and back injuries over the course of his three years in the NFL. Those injuries have limited him to just eight career games, where he's caught 12 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. He also has five career punt returns for an average of 13.2 yards.
Harbaugh said "there's a chance he could contribute for us," and the good news is that he doesn't have to make up too much ground because he has been in the system the last few years.
"I was all for [coming back], just because of the relationships I have here, I know the offense, and I just wanted to come back and play here," Campanaro said. "If an opportunity presents itself, I think I'll be able to contribute on offense and special teams."