OWINGS MILLS — Marquise Brown graciously signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans after practice Wednesday, smiling ear to ear.
It didn't matter to the Ravens' first-round draft pick that he had been limited to individual drills. Nothing could diminish the moment of taking part in his first NFL practice.
“It was fun. It was great to be back out there,” Brown said. “I was very excited. I've been waiting on this.”
The rookie wide receiver's practice debut came just under 100 days since the Ravens drafted him 25th overall out of Oklahoma. Brown had been held out as he recovered from surgery for a Lisfranc injury. He missed the NFL Scouting Combine, organized team activities, minicamp and the first five practices of training camp.
The Ravens announced Tuesday night that Brown had passed his physical and was therefore cleared to practice.
“It's great, it's the first step,” head coach John Harbaugh said of having the team's top draft pick at practice. “He's been working hard, but now he gets to get out there in individual and walk-throughs and learn the plays.
“Hopefully, his progression to practice will be pretty fast. We'll see. We don't want any setbacks, we don't have to over-rush him now, but I am looking forward to seeing him out there with the other guys in real situations.”
Brown ran routes and caught passes from the quarterbacks during individual drills. He sat out of the live 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 sessions, using the time to catch balls off the JUGS Machine.
Brown, considered the fastest player in last year's draft, looked the part Wednesday as he ran routes for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“He's been throwing me the ball stationary, so now being able to move and catch the ball from him feels pretty good,” Brown said.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey remarked at the speed Brown was able to reach while rehabbing. The team's tracking system clocked him at 21 miles per hour before he was even cleared to practice.
“I go 'I just ran 20 miles per hour the other day and I was running full speed.' I was a little hurt when he told me that, but that will be good against other teams when the season comes,” Humphrey said.
Jackson and Brown have been developing their connection off the field while the wide receiver was unable to practice.
“He's making me take him home and stuff. I've got to do the rookie duties,” Brown said.
In the car, the two listen to rapper Kodak Black, who is a childhood friend of Jackson's and celebrated a Ravens' win in the locker room with the team last season. Sometimes, they stop for food.
Brown's camp roommate is fellow rookie wide receiver Miles Boykin, who has been among the top offensive standouts so far.
Brown had been outside during practice prior to passing his physical. He took part in every meeting and said he feels up to speed with the Ravens' playbook.
“This is a great organization. They put the people around you to keep your mental up and keep you focused,” he said. “I feel great. The training staff here is great. I give them all the credit, I just followed what I had to do.”
He will continue to obey the training staff, though he is unsure when he will be included in full team drills.
“I'm confident he's going to be fine. A lot of the stuff he did today, he's been doing,” Harbaugh said. “I just think the trainers will give him a little more each day.”
Overcoming a foot injury was far from the biggest obstacle in Brown's way of reaching the NFL. He was so undersized in high school that he received no major scholarship offers and was forced to play junior college football. He operated a roller coaster at a Six Flags park to pay rent and tuition.
It only took one year of JUCO football to earn a scholarship offer from Oklahoma, where he became an All-American at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds.
When he was drafted in April, Brown could not fight back the tears. He said then that they were a testament to everything he had been through.
On Wednesday after his first practice, so was his smile.
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig