Ravens rookie offensive tackle Ramon Harewood has come a long way. Not just coming from Barbados distance-wise to Baltimore, but he has taken an even bigger journey toward becoming an offensive tackle in the NFL from a place where very few people get good educations and high paying jobs.
Harewood, the Ravens’ sixth-round pick, joined fellow rookies Arthur Jones, David Reed, and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson to sign last week, and with a three year deal in place for the rookie out of Morehouse State, Harewood is ready to continue his path toward becoming an NFL tackle.
“My main focus right now is taking what the coaches are telling me and applying it on the field. When you use correct technique in every aspect, it’s definitely a lot easier,” Harewood told Rex Snider and Luke Jones last week on WNST.
Harewood is actually ready to get started as a Raven, because technically Harewood is behind everyone else. It was Harewood who injured his knee in the first couple days of rookie minicamps, and had to spend the majority of the remaining OTA practices building his right knee strength back up and watching from the sidelines.
But Harewood is confident that when training camp starts in the next few weeks, he feels like he will be fully healthy and ready to go.
“Ive been working,” Harewood said. ” I’m confident I’m going to be 100 percent.”
Harewood was very frustrated by the injury hitting him early because it continued to slow down his progress at adapting to the NFL. He is also coming from a Division II program in Morehouse State (Atlanta) and has only played football for the last couple years coming from Barbados, which makes Harewood’s learning curve take that much more time.
But Harewood has made sure to reassure himself that everyone has gone through these same hardships in the NFL as he has.
“I got it into my head early that you’re a rookie for a reason. Everybody, whether they’ve played in the league for six years or 10 years, has had the same moments as me.”
But there are very few in the NFL who have had the moments that Harewood had before joining the NFL and going to college. Harewood only began to play organized football right before moving to America in 2006.
In his native Barbados, he was discovered at a college fair by Morehouse State assistant coach Michael Grant, who was the one to encourage the 6’6” 340 Harewood to try his hand at football. Ramon then went on to take a full academic scholarship to Morehouse State, where he spent three years on the offensive line for the Maroon Tigers, getting named to the all-conference team every year and recording 100 pancake blocks over his playing time.
He became the third Maroon Tiger to get drafted into the NFL; ironically one of the others is current Ravens running backs coach William Montgomery.
Where he came from makes his current status as an NFL player that much more special. And Harewood, who was an applied physics and engineering major at Morehouse, also has the rest of his life panned out after his playing days are over-he wants to be an engineer.
He has learned to not take this opportunity for granted, because it could be over in a flash, and he also feels like he could be an example to many kids back in Barbados that not only is it important to be gifted athletically, but if you combine that with smarts, it can really pay off for you.
“Coming from Barbados, we don’t have the tremendous opportunities Americans have. As an American 18 year old, you can go to school, and be your best in sports. You can go to Texas or Ohio State, and get a full education based on sports. Where I’m from, you have to go to school, do your best in school, you have to maximize your grades so that when you leave, you can get a decent job.”
“There are few athletic scholarships, but they’re mostly track and field, and they’re mostly far and between to be honest with you. That in itself is ingrained in me. I’m in the NFL now, but at the same time I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I came from and what was taught to me in my first 18 years of my life.”
And even though Harewood hasn’t been able to hit the field as much as he may have liked yet, he said that the Ravens offensive line as a whole-not just the young tackles in Michael Oher and Jared Gaither-have been a great asset to him.
“It’s a great feeling, but its not only Michael Oher and Gaither…it’s a bunch of great offensive lineman. The thing with offensive lineman, it’s all the same technique. I’ve learned a lot from everybody.”
And all that knowledge that he has picked up on over the last two months has really helped ease the nervousness running through his mind as of late.
“Originally, it was more nervousness, but after being in the atmosphere for a couple weeks, I’m just ready to get at it and get better. That’s really all there is to it. There’s no more anxiety.”
And we’ll see how comfortable Harewood is when the Ravens jump start training camp July 26th at McDaniel College in Westminster.
To keep up to date with Ramon Harewood’s journey as an NFL tackle, keep your eyes and ears tuned into WNST and WNST.net. We Never Stop Talking, Tweeting, and Texting Baltimore Sports!