After a rough month that included a brush with the law and lingering hamstring
problems that coincided with the coaching staff auditioning candidates for his
job, the Baltimore Ravens’ return specialist did a lot to dispel any doubts and
cement his status.
Sams returned the opening kickoff 48 yards in the Ravens’ 21-6 victory over the
New Orleans Saints at the Superdome, setting up Chester Taylor’s touchdown run
one play later.
“I had to put on a show for my family,” said Sams, who was arrested earlier this
month in Maryland and charged with driving under the influence, negligent
driving and speeding. “I had to do something exciting. I hope I made everyone
happy. To do it here, meant a lot.”
Not only did Sams take a rough shot on one kickoff return, he dished one out of
his own in kick coverage.
Sams returned three kickoffs for 86 yards, an average of 28.7 yards, and
returned four punts for 32 yards for an 8.0 average.
The former McNeese State (La.) standout may have overdone it on one sequence in
his zeal to impress a large contingent of relatives. Sams fielded a punt at the
1-yard line and returned it to the Ravens’ 8. He was immediately scolded by
special teams coordinator Gary Zauner.
Sams set a franchise single-season record with 1,826 combined return yards last
season, setting another team mark with 1,251 kickoff return yards.
Now, his hamstring feels better and he’s beginning to regain his timing and
reads of the blocking wedge.
“This is just the beginning,” Sams said. “There’s a lot more to come. I just
want to pick up where I left off last year.”
In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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