Jamison HensleyESPN staff writerSeptember 6, 2023 at 05:46 PM ET3 minutes to read

OINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., playing in a game for the first time in 574 days, said Sunday’s season opener against the Houston Texans feels “like this is my first game.”

Beckham has not been fit to play since injuring his left knee in February 2022, when he played in Super Bowl LVI for the Los Angeles Rams. And Beckham admitted on Wednesday that it would be an emotional thing to be back on the pitch for a game.

“The whole thing feels like a reset to me,” said Beckham. “There have been a lot of moments where little things have happened like déjà vu. It’s kind of reminiscent of my first year a little bit – just feeling the excitement of playing football and just having a new opportunity, life. So I don’t know what to expect, but I’m excited. “

Beckham, 30, was sidelined last season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his left knee for the second year in a row. He then signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Ravens in April.

There were no setbacks for Beckham, who had a handful of rest days throughout training camp. Beckham has run so well that quarterback Lamar Jackson has talked about modifying his passes because he frequently outsmarts the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.

“He’s passionate about the game, and he can’t wait to show people in the world what he’s still capable of,” Jackson said.

Beckham produced five 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his first six years. He has not had a 600-yard receiving season since 2019.

Asked how motivated he is to show he’s still the same wide receiver he was in the past, Beckham said: “I think that’s the way I act. I feel good. It’s been a lot of hard work to get to this point. I know that.” “. “Who am I? It’s time to let your hair down and have fun. I’m not going to give any numbers or predictions. I feel good and ready to play football again.”

Beckham did not appear in any of Baltimore’s three preseason games. His only action this summer against another team occurred during two joint workouts with the Washington captains.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Beckham would not be drafted into his first game in 17 months.

“He’s very aware of the fact that he hasn’t played for a long time, how excited he is and how keen he is to get back to this point,” Harbou said. “When you commit so much, make so many sacrifices, and work so hard, you know these are investments made of your time, your energy, your effort and your emotions. I know he’s looking for that to pay off.”

The addition of Beckham was a key addition to the Ravens’ wide receiver collection that lacked consistency. Beckham has 56 career touchdown passes, while Jackson has thrown 51 touchdown passes to wide receivers during his five-year NFL career.

Ahead of training on Wednesday, Beckham tweeted: “I know training is always a day in and day out…but damn can’t wait for Sunday.”

After the practice, Beckham said, “It’s really a blessing. You know God really gave me another chance to play. The Ravens have given me another chance to play. I don’t take it for granted.”

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