Former Bills second-round draft pick James Hardy is hoping good health will allow him to stick to what will have to be one of the last roster spots with the Baltimore Ravens this summer. Hardy sat out the entire 2010 season after being cut by the Bills in training camp. He was signed to a contract by the Ravens in January. He worked out with a couple dozen Ravens players this week.
"I feel I can bring the deep threat," Hardy told the Carroll County Times this week. "That's something that I specialized in college. Unfortunately due to injuries, I wasn't able to showcase that in Buffalo."
Hardy tore knee ligaments at the end of his rookie year. He spent much of his second season rehabilitating and on the sidelines, catching only two passes that year. Then he spent much of last summer's training camp on the shelf with a sore hamstring before being cut. He's big, at 6-foot-5. However, he didn't show much ability to create quick separation during his last season with the Bills.
He needs to make the most of this shot with the Ravens, but players in his situation are not helped by the lockout. They don't get a chance to impress during spring workouts. And if training camps are shortened, fringe players will get few quality repetitions. The Ravens have two established starting wideouts in Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. They drafted widouts in the second and fourth rounds, taking Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss, respectively. They have a pretty good reciever-return man in David Reed. Fourth-year man Marcus Smith returns. Hardy will have to start fast in practice and get some good fortune to make the squad. If not, his NFL tenure could be over.