Football is a tough guy’s sport and whether it’s fair or not Breshad Perriman has a lot to prove to John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens after a partially-torn PCL derailed his rookie season before it ever got started.
When a traditional contender with the reputation of the Ravens turns into a 2-7 team playing out the string, it’s usually a confluence of issues causing the collapse.
And that’s probably true in the Charm City but when you consider the seven setbacks on the ledger came by a combined 32 points, it’s pretty clear that a play or two in each of those losses could have turned things in a far more positive direction.
Furthermore when you mull over the strengths of the 6-foot-6, strong-armed Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, it’s fair to say that if the Ravens just had an outside-the-numbers threat at receiver who could stretch the defense, perhaps things would have turned out differently for Harbaugh’s team.
When Torrey Smith fled to San Francisco in free agency, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was well aware he needed a replacement and used his first-round draft pick to get it in the Central Florida speedster Perriman.
The pick made almost too much sense, one where pedigree, mixed with talent and need, a rare trifecta predicting ultimate success.
But Perriman, the son of former Lions star receiver Brett Perriman, never took the field for Baltimore in 2015, officially being shut down for the season Tuesday.
And it all stemmed from the sprained PCL Perriman suffered in Baltimore’s first practice of training camp on July 30, an injury Harbaugh originally thought could have the wideout back on the field the next day.
“When it happened, I didn’t think I would be out that long,” Perriman admitted to reporters Thursday. “It was pretty painful, but I didn’t think I would be out that long. The doctors told me only a couple of days, and I believed it. They looked into it some more, and it came out to be worse than everybody thought it was.”
So how bad was it?
“It’s been probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through,” he continued. “Just a huge disappointment for me, and I feel like I’m letting (the Ravens) down as well, because I feel like I do have a role on this team. I don’t know how much I can help, but I just know that I can help somewhere. That’s been really the hardest thing for me, really staying positive and knowing that next year is going to be my year to help everyone and hopefully have the greatest record ever here.”
It took the young receiver eight weeks to get back on the practice field before suffering a setback. Perriman admitted the strange injury put him in a dark place, likely because plenty questioned his toughness and why he couldn’t play, including his head coach who admitted the situation is “still a hard one to understand.”
“I wasn’t really talking to anybody,” Perriman said. “Finally, my parents noticed it, because I wasn’t even picking up their calls. They came up here one weekend, and they really noticed my feelings and my reactions to all this stuff. They gave me words of encouragement about all the stuff that I’ve been through and all of the things that other people have been through that is way worse than this, like people tearing ACLs. I just have a partial tear in a PCL, so I feel like I should be grateful.”
Perriman claims his teammates have been very supportive through the ordeal but it’s clear he’s got some things to prove to the old-school Harbaugh.
“When next year comes around once I finally get healthy, I feel like I’m going to be hungrier than ever,” Perriman said. “I feel like I’m going to come back harder than I ever have.”
The reality, though, is that Perriman is still wearing a brace and limping four months after the original injury and about seven weeks after he had arthroscopic surgery.
“I think I’m fine now,” he said. “I think it’s healing very well. I don’t think they’ll have to go back in and do anything else. They basically told me once I get this thing back 100 percent, that I’ll be good, and I should be fine throughout the rest of my career. It could potentially happen again, but the odds of that probably are slim.”
For now, it’s going to be tough for Harbaugh to trust those odds.
— John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also catch John this season on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for the NFL Wraparound on ESPN South Jersey.
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