|McGahee experiences jittery beginning with Ravens|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 31 July 2007 12:23|
Eager to impress, McGahee took off around left end. He was met by sixth-round draft pick Prescott Burgess, who showed a bit too much enthusiasm in the no-contact drill by steamrolling the running back and separating him from the ball.
The hit confirmed what McGahee suspected all along: The Baltimore Ravens never let up, even during the first day of training camp practice.
``These guys know how to win. I found that out the first day I ran the ball; my first carry was a fumble,'' McGahee said Tuesday, the second day of camp. ``It doesn't get any better than that. I'm going to have to get my hardhat on and get ready to play.''
McGahee spent four years with the Buffalo Bills, but he feels like a rookie again after coming to Baltimore in an offseason trade.
``I'm just trying to get the jitters out. You know, being with a new team and all that,'' he said. ``I've got to get used to the blocking scheme.''
The Ravens obtained McGahee in March after Jamal Lewis, a starter since 2000, signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns. McGahee is clearly more nimble and versatile than the lumbering Lewis, but at this point in camp he's feeling the pressure to fulfill those expectations.
``They know what I can do,'' McGahee said, ``but they want to see if I can do it again. You always have to prove yourself when you're out here.''
McGahee had much to prove in Buffalo. The Bills selected him in the first round of the 2003 draft, even though McGahee was coming off a devastating knee injury during his final game at the University of Miami
He did not receive a carry in his first NFL season, then topped 1,000 yards rushing in each of the next two years before finishing with 990 yards in 2006 despite missing two games with a rib injury.
But McGahee couldn't win with the Bills, which explains why he's excited to begin the next chapter of his professional career with Baltimore. If all goes as planned, McGahee will give the Ravens a breakaway threat on first down and provide quarterback Steve McNair another option when the situation calls for a pass.
``I think it's a lot different. With Jamal in there it was more of a power offense, but right now we can do a lot of things with McGahee,'' McNair said. ``He can run, and we can put him in the passing game. When you can get the ball to McGahee, he's going to do something special.''
Despite the rude greeting that Burgess gave him, McGahee has made several friends on the defense, including cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister. Then there's Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, who played college ball at Miami before McGahee arrived and have made him feel right at home.
``I'm happy the way I've been allowed to come into the organization and the way the fans have accepted me,'' McGahee said. ``It doesn't get any better than this.''