<
>

Breshad Perriman's health good after making debut (thanks for asking, Coach)

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman knew the question was coming following his long-awaited NFL debut. He was just surprised by the person who asked it.

After making two catches for 25 yards in Thursday's preseason finale against the New Orleans Saints, Perriman was asked how he felt on a scale from 1-10 by coach John Harbaugh, who was playfully posing as a reporter during the postgame press conference.

"My health is good, Coach," Perriman said with a laugh. "My health is real good."

In a span of four series Thursday -- on the same Superdome field that his father Brett started his NFL career on -- months of frustration surrounding Perriman's two knee injuries turned into "pure joy," as Harbaugh put it.

Perriman felt "a sigh of relief" when he caught his first pass, a 9-yard toss from Ryan Mallett on the game's first play. He pointed up to the sky afterward.

The more important catch was his second one. He fought off press coverage and made a hard cut by planting on his right knee, the one he sprained his poster cruciate ligament on a year ago. Perriman had to reach behind him to pull in the 16-yard reception.

The Ravens were pleased with his ability to be physical and make the tough catch. The most important news, though, was that Perriman came out of his first game healthy.

"I feel the same way that I felt coming into the game," Perriman said. "I didn't have any hiccups or any problems at all."

It's been a long 16-month journey for Perriman since he was the No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Perriman sprained the PCL in his right knee on the first day of the 2015 training camp. After being on the verge of returning, he aggravated the injury in late September and was placed on injured reserve in November.

In the offseason, Perriman lost his close friend and teammate, Tray Walker, in a dirt bike accident March 20 and saw his father hospitalized in critical condition after he suffered a significant stroke in May.

A month later, he partially tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He was sidelined for 74 days until he was activated off the physically unable to perform list Aug. 22.

With all that anticipation, Perriman only slept six hours the night before the preseason finale and woke up at 5 a.m., about 14 hours before kickoff. He couldn't get the game off his mind.

"Once I got into the hotel, I couldn't really sleep," Perriman said. "It was bad. It was real bad. But I got through it and it gave me that chip on my shoulder to go out there and play faster, harder."

Perriman played a little less than two quarters and wanted to stay in the game when coaches told him his night was over.

"It was great to see him out there," Harbaugh said. "He was enjoying himself. It was fun. Just the pure joy that he has now -- he had to go through a tough year -- and you can see it in his face and body language. It's really fun to watch."