As Keenan Reynolds heads into Thursday's preseason finale, he remembers the words of his wide receivers coach.
Bobby Engram loves to tell the the story about how Kamar Aiken made the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 on his play in the fourth preseason game. Reynolds finds some inspiration from that.
"It's not over until it's over," Reynolds said.
Reynolds, the record-setting quarterback at Navy, faces an uphill battle to make the Ravens' 53-man roster as a receiver and returner. His best shot was to make an impact on special teams. Now, he's also fallen behind Michael Campanaro in the battle for the punt-returner job.
Plus, he's the only Ravens wide receiver to play in the preseason this year and not catch one pass. In fact, he's the only one not to get one ball thrown his way.
Has there been frustration from the lack of opportunities to show he's improved at receiver?
"As a competitor, you want to be out there and you want to do everything you can to help the team win," Reynolds said. "The opportunities I do get, I try to take advantage of them. I give my all every play."
In 2016, Baltimore was elated to draft Reynolds in the sixth round with the intention of switching him from quarterback to wide receiver and returner.
The Ravens expected a period of transition for Reynolds, who starred at Navy as a triple-option quarterback. He finished as the FBS all-time leader in total touchdowns and won more games than any other quarterback in academy history.
After struggling in training camp and the preseason last year, Reynolds showed some big-play ability this summer. He caught a 30-yard touchdown pass down the seam in an open practice at Navy, and he followed that with a 46-yard punt return in the preseason opener.
But Reynolds has disappeared the past two preseason games, which could put him on the Ravens' practice squad for a second straight year.
"He’s in a fight, just like a lot of guys are," coach John Harbaugh said. "He’s competing like crazy; he’s right in the mix. He’s done a really good job. He’s improved tremendously. So, you’re just going to have to see how it shakes out. There are some undetermined spots right now. A lot of it is going to come down to this game for some of those spots."
On Thursday against the New Orleans Saints, Reynolds is expected to see his most action of the preseason. Baltimore should rest its starters and top backups, meaning Reynolds should play almost the entire game and handle a majority of the punts.
This game represents his best chance to make a lasting impression. In seven preseason games, he has only one catch for 2 yards.
"I feel much more confident in a lot of phases of the game," Reynolds said. "I think it's an ongoing improvement. But I do feel a lot better than I did a year ago."
But, just like last year, Reynolds is squarely on the bubble. He is battling Chris Matthews, Quincy Adeboyejo, Griff Whalen and C.J. Board for the final wide receiver spot, and that's only if Baltimore carries six receivers.
"I'm just focusing on what I can control and that's just being the best as I can be on Thursday," Reynolds said. "I'm preparing every day in practice, so let the chips fall where they may."