It would take a career-best game from wide receiver Kamar Aiken, but he has a chance to reach 1,000 yards receiving this season.
Aiken has 868 receiving yards heading into Sunday’s finale in Cincinnati. That leaves Aiken 132 yards short of 1,000, giving him a personal goal to shoot for against the Bengals.
In Week 15, Aiken had a career-high 128 yards receiving against the Chiefs, so 132 yards is within his range. A 1,000-yard season would be another satisfying milestone for Aiken, who entered the NFL undrafted in 2011, and who was cut by the Bears and Patriots before finding a home with the Ravens.
Nobody wonders if Aiken is good enough to play in the NFL anymore, but Aiken never wondered. His confidence is one of his attributes, as is his toughness.
“He has been hit in the head more times, probably, than any receiver in the league, and it hasn’t been called, alright?” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “So, he doesn’t get protected. He bounces back up, and he’s back out there, and he shows up the next week. It’s just impressive what he has done this year, and I’m proud of him.”
Aiken will be a restricted free agent after the season, meaning the Ravens will have a chance to match any offer, if they don’t sign him to a long-term deal. If he returns, Aiken’s emergence as a reliable receiver could become even more important next season, especially if Steve Smith Sr. opts not to retire. Having Smith, Aiken, and Breshad Perriman in the lineup together at wide receiver never happened in 2015, due to Perriman’s knee injury.
As for Sunday, expect Aiken to play through a hand injury suffered a few days ago against the Steelers. He only missed a few plays after it happened, and he did not expect his hand to hamper him Sunday.
“They’re not going to be able to keep me out, unless I’m just unable physically to go out there,” Aiken said. “You never know when you’re going to get another play. I’m going to take advantage of every last one I get.”
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