A wide receiver to watch

We’re about 30 hours away from the Big Game in Big D, and while I’m excited to see the Packers and Steelers square off in what should be an entertaining game with plenty of points, I think I’m more excited just to have the game over with.

The two weeks of continuous talk gets very old for me. I love football, and will normally watch NFL coverage on ESPN and NFL Network any chance I get, but the last few days, I’ve purposely stayed away from the minute-by-minute Super Bowl updates.

We get it - Ben Roethlisberger has “changed as a person,” Aaron Rodgers is a good quarterback, and Troy Polamalu and Clay Matthews both have long hair. Let’s move on.

Am I mocking my own profession here? Yup, I am. But, man, I wish they’d just play the game already.

Meanwhile, I wanted to pass along a follow-up note regarding my post yesterday on the Ravens needing to look for a speedy, playmaking wide receiver.

When GM Ozzie Newsome was asked about the wide receiver position at the team’s season-ending press conference a couple weeks ago, he made a point to single out a guy who the Ravens had signed to a reserve/future contract just a few weeks earlier - James Hardy.

Hardy might not be the answer that the Ravens are looking for right off the bat, but the 2008 second-round pick has the size (6-5, 220 pounds), the speed (he ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash), and will be a nice developmental prospect to watch next season.

“He’s coming off an ACL that he had in his first year,” Newsome said, “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.”

Hardy didn’t do much in two seasons with the Bills in ‘08 and ‘09, appearing in 16 games, and catching just 10 passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

A torn ACL late in his rookie season set him back the last two years, and he was waived by Buffalo in the Bills’ last round of roster cuts prior to the 2010 season.

He should be fully healthy by the time the Ravens begin team workouts (although, again, we have no idea when that will be because of the pending lockout), and the team hopes he’s able to regain the form that he showed at Indiana, where he set school records in career receptions (186), receiving yards (2,690), and touchdowns (36).

Will Hardy be able to step in and provide 60 catches next season and give the Ravens the consistent deep threat they’re lacking? Probably not.

But he might be a name to remember as the 2011 season approaches.

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