Bernard Piercereturned to the practice field on Saturday, and not a moment too soon if hewants to seize the job as the Ravens No. 2 running back.While Pierce hasbeen sidelined with a hamstring injury, the battle to serve as Ray Rice's topunderstudy has gone on without him. And Bobby Rainey continues to turn headsand make a strong push for the job. Pierce also is incompetition with second-year players Anthony Allen and Damien Berry, thoughneither of them stood out in the preseason opener at Atlanta the way Raineydid. Last year, theRavens opened the season with two backups to Rice -- Ricky Williams and AnthonyAllen -- though Allen was hurt most of the season. On paper, Pierce,the third-round draft pick out of Temple, would seem the favorite to win thejob over Rainey, an undrafted rookie out of Western Kentucky. But jobs are wonon the field, not on paper, and it's been on the field that Rainey hasexcelled, developing into one of the surprise stories of training camp. Rainey had 12carries for 36 yards against the Falcons, and also caught three passes for 28yards, including a nifty 18-yard touchdown on a screen pass. Rainey also servedas the Ravens' primary punt returner in Atlanta, and for any reserve trying tomake the final roster, special teams ability can make the difference.Now it's up toPierce to make up for lost time. The Ravens likedthe 6-foot, 218-pound Pierce enough to trade up seven spots in the third roundto grab him. And although is resume this preseason is very incomplete, after practiceSaturday, coach John Harbaugh sounded as if Pierce is still right in therunning for the job. "Its notthat hes behind or anything like that," Harbaugh said. "Hes justgoing to have to do well with the reps and opportunities that he gets, andthats going to be his body of work. ... Hes going to have to have learnedfrom the other peoples mistakes. We will see how well he did that in the nextcouple of weeks.
The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.
The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million.
The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.
Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews.
Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.
Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th.
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Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however.
During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions.
"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.
"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."
While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for.
While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB.
"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."
The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.'
"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."
Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.
"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."
While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.
Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons.
"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."
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