If healthy, Ravens' Neal should make an impact

August, 14, 2008
8/14/08
11:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Neal

Newly-signed Baltimore Ravens fullback Lorenzo Neal says he's ready and willing.

But is he able?

The four-time Pro Bowler joined the team this week to provide stability to a struggling Ravens offense.

Neal has the credentials to make this signing look like a great move. He's played at a high level his entire career and knows the system due to his time in San Diego with current Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

"There's no learning curve right now," Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday.

Harbaugh mentioned that this move was made at Cameron's urging. There was a sense throughout Ravens training camp that Cameron wasn't completely satisfied with the parts he has in Baltimore, so now he's at least able to bring in one of his former players Cameron knows can be counted on.

But there are reasons a player of Neal's caliber was available so late.

For starters, Neal has injury concerns. He broke his leg at the end of last season and has to prove he's fully recovered. Neal also is 37 years old and playing the physically-demanding position of fullback.

"I know I broke the leg for the latter part of last year, but it feels good," Neal said. "I still was rated last year, not just first-team All-Pro, but I made the Pro Bowl. I still think I can play another two to three years."

Neal added that his debut with the team could come Saturday night when the Ravens host the Minnesota Vikings. Now that Neal has found a home, he also had a message for all the teams that shied away from him this offseason.

"I'm back, and I'm coming for everybody that doubted me," Neal said.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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