WR Snead glad to be with Ravens

By The Sports Xchange  |  June 23, 2018 at 11:52 PM
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Wide receiver Willie Snead got a chance to play with one of the most prolific passers in the NFL during his tenure with the New Orleans Saints.

Still, leaving Drew Brees and the Saints when the team declined to match an offer sheet from the Baltimore Ravens in April was not much of a disappointment for Snead.

"I think it worked out for the best," Snead told the Times-Picayune of New Orleans on landing with the Ravens on a two-year deal worth a reported $10.4 million, including incentives.

Snead was in Louisiana on Friday working at New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning's passing academy when he reflected on his three seasons with the Saints.

An undrafted free agent out of Ball State in 2014, Snead spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers before he was signed to New Orleans' practice squad near the end of the year.

Snead was a big contributor in each of his first two seasons in New Orleans, hauling in 69 receptions for 984 yards and three touchdowns in 2015 and following it up with 72 catches for 895 yards and four scores in 2016.

However, he was suspended for the first three games of the 2017 regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy and never established a role in the offense, finishing with eight receptions for 92 yards.

Snead said a nagging hamstring injury contributed to his near-lost final season with New Orleans, but he is grateful for the organization giving him a chance.

"You never want to leave a place like that because you build so many great relationships, but it's a business," Snead said.

Baltimore featured one of the league's least productive passing games in 2017, leading to an overhaul of the wide receiving corps. Jeremy Maclin was released and Mike Wallace was allowed to leave via free agency, and Snead, Michael Crabtree and John Brown were signed to replace them.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco liked what he saw from Snead at Baltimore's organized team activities and minicamp.

"He has a knack for seeing the game the way the quarterback does, and he makes his decisions quick, and he gets into open spots quickly," Flacco told the team's website during minicamp. "I think that's a wakeup to me when I'm standing back in the pocket, that, man, he's going to be ready and he's going to make the right decisions so I can anticipate and I can be confident to put this ball on him, because he's going to make the right decisions."

Snead showed what a reliable slot receiver he can be in 2016 with the Saints, hauling in at least five receptions in eight of his 15 games. He expects that to continue with Flacco.

"I pride myself on trying to get open and giving myself a big target for him," Snead said. "That's just part of my game, is just try to be quarterback-friendly and just try to be in his mind and see what he's seeing and try to be on the same page with him."

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