When asked how it felt to be in a huddle and on the practice field with Lamar Jackson for the first time Wednesday, Sammy Watkins smiled.
"He threw great balls today. It was special. He threw one ball that, honestly, I dropped," Watkins said.
The drop came on a crossing route early in Wednesday's open OTA practice at the Under Armour Performance Center. Watkins shook it off and went on to catch a handful of passes.
It was the first step in developing what the Ravens hope is a fruitful on-field connection between Jackson and Watkins – a process that will take time, according to Watkins, 27, who has played for four teams during his eight-year NFL career.
"It takes OTAs. It takes (training) camp coming up. It takes all of those times of going to those meetings, being involved with Lamar," Watkins said. "Really just going out there and practicing and going over those plays and having those hiccups where you might not run the right route."
The Ravens signed Watkins to a one-year deal in March, hoping he would provide a vital piece that has been missing from their passing game – a productive veteran for Jackson to target. Watkins has caught 321 passes for 4,665 yards and 33 touchdowns in the NFL.
"Sammy's reputation precedes him," Ravens Quarterbacks Coach James Urban said Wednesday. "He's a terrific player who has played at a very high level for a long time. Were it not for some unfortunate injuries, his numbers would be way up there. Any time you can involve a player like that into what we're trying to do with our passing game, it's a blessing."
The Ravens also brought in Watkins to help mentor their other wide receivers, who are mostly young and developing, still looking to launch. It sounds as if Watkins is more than up for that part of the job.
"I just go out there every day and try to be a leader," he said.
"We've got to all want it for each other. We've got to be unselfish," Watkins said. "The more we can play for each other and … not worry about yards or stats or how many catches; if we have to run the ball 25 times a game, that's what we've got to do. We can't worry about who is catching the ball or how many times (Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman) is running the ball. We just have to do our jobs."
Before Wednesday's practice, Watkins huddled on the field with Wide Receivers Coach Tee Martin.
"What you saw … was me getting him caught up on what we put in last week," Martin said. "He wasn't available last week. I was catching him up … to get him up to speed so we could execute today at practice."
After two hours of running routes and catching passes, Watkins could not hide his delight.
"It felt amazing," he said. "It's fun, man. Great energy, great vibe, just a winning culture. I'm just out there not thinking, just being a kid. That's the most critical thing for me, just playing unconscious, catching balls, running around, blocking, just having fun."
Not even a question about his injury history could ruin his vibe.
"I don't really focus on that," he said. "The NFL has a 100 percent injury rate. You're going to have small injuries, hiccups here and there. The only thing I can do is try to stay on the field. We've got a good staff here as far as taking care of your body and stuff like that. I've just got to be in the rooms getting those ice tubs and working on my body to stay on the field. I think I'm going to be good this year."
In all, the day of practice felt quite familiar to Watkins, who spent the past three seasons catching passes from Patrick Mahomes on one of the NFL's top teams, the Kansas City Chiefs.
"Honestly, (Baltimore) feels like Kansas City to me; feels like a team that's ready to win the Super Bowl," Watkins said. "A team that's ready to win and go out there and have fun and put up points. Good defense, good special teams. I'm just happy to be here and be involved with a good organization."
Talk about a charmed football life. Mahomes one year, Jackson the next.
Watkins sees it as a challenge.
"Lamar is going to continue to be the star that he is, Watkins said. "We just have to do the job around him."