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Harewood likely for Baltimore

Tony Best

Harewood  likely for  Baltimore

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The new American football season which begins next Sunday may be a make-or-break year for a Barbadian who has big dreams of reaching stardom with the Baltimore Ravens in the National Football League.
After signing a rookie three-year contract in 2010 with the Ravens, Ramon Harewood – a former Super Bowl Champion and the first Barbadian-born player to be drafted by a top United States professional football team – is on the verge of realizing a part of his goal: playing in the regular season and making his presence felt.
He is on the Ravens’ active roster as a left tackle and, barring injury, he should play  next Sunday.
If that happens, the Bajan, who grew up playing cricket and rugby but not American-style football, will have his chance to prove the Ravens management was right when it made him a sixth-round draft choice two years ago right out of Morehouse College.
“I would say that I’m determined” to make the team, Harewood, a graduate of Barbados’ Queen’s College, told a reporter recently.
“We have a strong veteran team group and the thing with me is: I ask a lot of questions,” he pointed out. “Even though it’s not my job to know, I like to know. So I learn a lot from all five starters (on the offensive line) and I just try to go out there and emulate what I see them do.”
The past two years have been a frustrating period for the Bajan and the Ravens. Harewood was forced to spend them on the injured reserve list of players. His first season in 2010-2011 ended before it began. He had to undergo surgery on both knees and was ruled out of action.
Last year, a similar thing happened when he suffered a torn ankle ligament that required surgery. But the fact that the Ravens  decided to hold on to him was seen as an indication that they had faith in his ability to play.
He had an injury scare at the beginning of this year’s training camp.
But the Ravens’ medical staff went to work on his injury and he returned to practice within days.
“. . . Right now I’m just happy be out there practising,” he said.
“I’m not thinking about injuries. I’m not thinking about the past two years. I’m just thinking about chasing perfection every day.”
Unfortunately, though, the Bajan has a reputation of being “injury-prone” and that’s not a good image for a professional.
After a recent practice session, Harewood reflected on his misfortune, telling the Baltimore Sun he wanted to show the world that by drafting him the Ravens did not make a major blunder.
“In my head, I’m thinking that they saw something in me,” he said. “So my thought process was: get back on the field and do what you’re supposed to do. Right now that’s what I am trying to do.”
At six foot six inches and weighing 334 pounds, the Bajan plays on a team’s second offensive line. And if his luck holds and he is not injured again, then he would be a step closer to his dream.
An injury to a playmate who suffered a swollen ankle opened the door for Harewood to be placed in control of the left side of the offence.
As he explained it, he is taking advantage of any opportunity that comes his way.