Washington's Energy Complementing Offense

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Ravens wide receiver Kelley Washington sprinted towards the end zone, turned and leaped for a high arcing pass from quarterback Joe Flacco.

Battling with cornerback Fabian Washington, Kelley Washington used every bit of his 6-foot-3, 217-pound frame to come down with the touchdown catch in Saturday's practice.

Upon landing on the turf, Washington immediately went into a celebration dance to the delight of the crowd that had gathered at McDaniel College.

If his dance moves are any indication, it seems that Washington is feeling more comfortable with his role on the Ravens.

Washington has already performed his trademark "Squirrel Dance" after one score earlier in training camp. He even mimicked Ray Lewis' "Hot in Here" dance after another, giving a playful nod to the linebacker when he was finished.

On an offense where Derrick Mason has typically been the mouthpiece on the field, Washington is helping his fellow receiver ratchet up the energy.

"With Kelley, the fact that he goes in there stronger and makes those catches is what counts," said head coach John Harbaugh. "Kelley plays with a lot of flair and enthusiasm. I think he's earned the right to do that. We enjoyed how he played. He's got a lot of work to do, too."

Washington brought that flair to last Thursday's preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.

In the first quarter, Washington caught a Flacco pass on the right flat and picked up a 16-yard gain and a first down. When he got up, the seven-year veteran made a flamboyant point forward as if to move the chains.

"I'm just bringing excitement out to the field," he said. "I'm just working on my skills and showing a little excitement – trying to get through training camp – be positive and get guys smiling and laughing. The biggest thing is to bring some type of energy."

Washington also added a 15-yard reception on the same drive, demonstrating that his connection with Flacco is growing stronger.

"That's just something that I've continued to work on," Washington stated. "It's important for me to get some camaraderie with Joe and the receivers are on the same page. It's important to myself, being new to the team and seeing what he expects on a daily basis.

"He's the leader of the team so, I've got to be around him and know what he expects."

Currently, Washington is battling to stand out of a group of wideouts to become the Ravens' steady third receiver.

The competition got somewhat lighter with the removal of Marcus Smith's name. Smith suffered a serious knee injury making a special teams tackle in the Redskins game.

"Anytime you lose an important player like Marcus on special teams and also being a backup receiver, guys are going to have to step up," explained Washington. "I'll take it upon myself to fill the void, as far as receiver wise, and also on the special teams side because he was a great special teams player.

"That's the position that we're going to be losing, but, again I feel like I want to pick up the slack and go ahead and fill the void."

Washington has proven he can do both. The Cincinnati Bengals selected him in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft, and he showed promise by catching 31 balls for 378 yards and three touchdowns in 2004, his most-productive season.

Lately, he has been more of a special teams performer. Washington was a special teamer for the New England Patriots for the past two years, and he notched 25 special teams tackles in 24 games during that span.

Washington hopes he can contribute in both areas for his new team, but he knows nothing is guaranteed.

"It's still an audition for me," Washington said. "Every day, every player comes out here and you have to prove yourself on a daily basis. You can't look at what you did in the game; you can't look at what you did yesterday in practice.

"You're constantly getting evaluated so, day in and day you want to bring your best – you want to bring you're 'A' game out here."

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