Ravens rookie TE Isaiah Likely felt ‘like a little kid on Christmas’ throughout preseason debut vs. Titans

Thursday evening might need been only a preseason sport for the Ravens, however for rookie tight finish Isaiah Likely, he felt “like a little kid on Christmas.”

Baltimore’s 23-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium was Likely’s first style of an NFL sport. And though Likely admitted he had jitters pregame, the previous Coastal Carolina standout was capable of lock in and present why it may be tough for the Ravens to maintain him off the sphere this season.

“Just living out my dream and being that superhero to the little kids is always a blessing,” mentioned Likely, who caught 4 passes for 44 yards.

Likely’s first catch got here with eight minutes to go within the first quarter, a easy 3-yard achieve that become one in every of a number of spotlight reels of the evening. After catching a go from quarterback Tyler Huntley, Likely shook a Titans defender earlier than making a number of extra jukes and securing a primary down. Coach John Harbaugh joked after the sport that whereas Likely wanted the primary juke, “the next four were unnecessary.”

“But I told him, ‘It’s good to see you can do them. That was good,’” Harbaugh mentioned jokingly.

Even Likely, a fourth-round draft choose in April, admitted that he made too many jukes throughout that play, however he mentioned his thoughts was racing.

“It was just, ‘Isaiah, go left, Isaiah, go right. Go forward. Get the first down.’ So, just everything in my mind,” he mentioned. “At the end of the play, I was just like, ‘Isaiah, just get the first down.’ And, that’s what I did.”

Likely moved like a large receiver in a decent finish’s physique. When he made a powerful 22-yard catch over Titans linebacker Chance Campbell, a Calvert Hall grad, in the midst of the second quarter — resembling some of the leaping grabs he made during practice — it’s straightforward to know why Huntley affectionately referred to as him “a dog.”

“He’s going to prove to a lot of people that he’s here to play football,” Huntley mentioned. “I think he’s a great player. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s on the right path, for sure.”

There had been some rookie moments, too. Likely’s studying curve was evident when he picked up two holding penalties within the first half, one in every of which negated a future. Harbaugh talked about how all the staff’s holding penalties all through the evening had been on the sting “where it gets called tighter.”

“You just have to understand that, and he’ll have to learn that,” Harbaugh mentioned. “But, he stepped up and played really well. He has a lot of talent, and he keeps improving every day.”

Said Likely: “It’s just adversity. Coming into your first game, there are a lot of things happening at once, and your excitement level is at an all-time high, especially playing in the National Football League. So, there are just things I’ve got to clean up — myself, in blocking, hand placement — and just keep on building upon them.”

Likely, who totaled 2,050 yards and 27 touchdowns in 4 seasons in school, has been in comparison with fellow teammate Mark Andrews, which he referred to as a blessing. He has embraced enjoying alongside Andrews and star quarterback Lamar Jackson, soaking in as a lot data as doable.

“I get to literally go to practice and get to pick their brains apart on little details I might see differently or what they might have done differently,” he mentioned. “And [with] Lamar [Jackson], on a route, I might have to speed up; on a block, I might have to seal faster, and just be able to build upon that [to do it in games] the right way.”


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