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Two Ravens rookies saw the first-ever NFL action of their careers in Sunday’s 27-21 loss to the New England Patriots.
Undrafted rookie linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and second-round draft pick Paul Kruger both were on the field after watching from the sidelines in Weeks 1-3.
And somewhat surprisingly, Ellerbe was the one that saw the most playing time.
Ellerbe entered the game early, playing in the Jack linebacker spot that was vacated by an inactive Tavares Gooden, who dealt with shoulder and head injuries last week. Jameel McClain was originally expected to start for Gooden, but that nod went to Brendon Ayanbadejo.
Ayanbadejo, by the way, was getting a lot of time in the Ravens’ sub packages, but he said he tore a quadriceps muscle in the fourth quarter and had his leg in an immobilizing brace after the game.
As far as Ellerbe goes, he was happy to earn his first professional minutes.
“It was amazing, just to be out there,” said Ellerbe, who notched five tackles and one stop for a loss. “Reading the other team and playing with them in a real game, it just felt great. The speed of the game wasn’t as fast as I thought it was going to be and I was just as fast as the other guys. I kept telling myself, just calm down, just calm down. I felt like I did a good job and felt like I handled my own out there.
“I felt like I belonged in that position. It was the first game so I couldn’t expect too much, but it felt good. I want to play as much as possible, that is why I came here. I love football and I love this team.”
Kruger’s day was quieter.
He had one tackle among the four snaps he estimated he got.
Kruger had been inactive for the first three contests because he did not regularly contribute to special teams.
“It was great to break a sweat,” Kruger said. “It’s not easy watching your teammates play. You want to be out there. I thought I did OK, but there is still a lot to work on. I hope I can do more next week.”