Ozzie Sees WR Hardy’s Potential

General Manager Ozzie Newsome addressed the desire for a deep-threat wide receiver.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 at 10:17 am | Categories: Ryan Mink

On Jan. 17, the Ravens signed eight players to reserve/future contracts, including wide receiver James Hardy. Hardy was the only player in the group that didn’t finish the season on Baltimore’s practice squad.

It probably passed by many as a minor transaction, but not to Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome.

When asked about the team’s desire to add a big, deep-threat wide receiver to the roster, Newsome unexpectedly brought up Hardy’s name.

“He’s coming off an ACL [injury] that he had in his first year, but we think he’s a guy that has the opportunity to become a good player in this league, and maybe he can do that here in Baltimore,” Newsome said.

Hardy is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound product out of Indiana whom the Buffalo Bills drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

But he made just nine receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games during his rookie season, which was shortened due to the knee injury. He did have a game-winner against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which was featured in the NFL Network’s Anatomy of a Play.

Hardy, who didn’t add much on special teams, was cut by the Bills the following September. He was beaten out by 2008 seventh-round pick Stevie Johnson, who went on to have a monster 2010 campaign.

Newsome was asked whether getting a big, deep-threat wide receiver is a goal for the offseason. There has been some media criticism that Baltimore had too many similar receivers this season and not a deep speed or bigger-sized player.

“Well, we’re going to try to improve every position,” Newsome said. “More than likely, yes, some [positions are] a lot tougher than others. … If there’s an opportunity for us to get a receiver that fits the mold that you just described – if he’s there and he’s available for us – then I’m sure we’ll be happy to have him in Baltimore.”

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