There was only one player most Baltimore Ravens fans wanted to see as they headed into the final game of the 2016 NFL preseason: Breshad Perriman. 

New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams (25) and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman (18) dive for a pass in the first half of an NFL football pre-season game in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams (25) and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman (18) dive for a pass in the first half of an NFL football pre-season game in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

The second-year receiver out of University of Central Florida hasn’t played in a game since he was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. He injured his knee during the first day of training camp last summer, forcing him to miss the entire season, and then injured his other knee during organized team activities this summer, sidelining him for most of this year’s training camp and the first three preseason games.

But Perriman finally made his pro debut in the Ravens’ 23-14 win over the New Orleans Saints in their preseason finale on Aug. 1 at the Super Dome in New Orleans. He was just about the only interesting part of the game, as both teams rested many of their key contributors to avoid injuries just one week away from the regular season. 

Ravens offensive coordinator Mark Trestman dialed up plays for Perriman from the very start of the game—the first two plays from scrimmage were passes targeted to the young receiver, and he caught both for a combined 25 yards. 

Perriman’s first catch was on a quick hitch route that went for nine yards. The defensive back played way off Perriman, respecting his 4.25-second (40-yard dash) speed. His second catch was more impressive, as the speedster ran a smooth route on an in-route pattern and snagged the pass for 16 yards despite the ball being thrown slightly behind him.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman kneels in prayer in the end zone after a pre-season NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. The Ravens won 23-14. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman kneels in prayer in the end zone after a pre-season NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. The Ravens won 23-14. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

“For me to get that first catch, to be out there with my teammates, it was great,” Perriman told reporters after the game.

The 6-foot, 2-inch, 215-pound receiver was targeted two other times in the game, but wasn’t able to make the catch on the them. Still, he blocked well during run plays and made an impression on head coach John Harbaugh. 

“It was great to see him out there,” Harbaugh said during the post game press conference. “ was good. He played fast. He was enjoying himself. He wanted to stay in the game. It was fun.”

“Just the pure joy that he has now—he had to go through a tough year—and you can see it in his face and body language,” Harbaugh added. “It’s really fun to watch.”

Perriman and the Ravens will now prepare for the regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 11, during which the young receiver may get a chance to play with starting quarterback Joe Flacco. Like the rest of the Ravens starters, Flacco didn’t take the field against the Saints.

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor