BALTIMORE — On the second play of Thursday’s second half, Patrick Ricard, playing along the Ravens’ defensive line, recovered a fumble by Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Tim Boyle.
Ricard started to head to the sideline after the turnover, along with the rest of Baltimore’s defense. But the hybrid player was told to turn around and stay on the field.
“As soon as I recovered it, I was running off the field and they told me ‘No, you’re back on offense.’ That’s my job here, to play offense and defense,” Ricard said.
He lined up at fullback as the Ravens ran their first offensive play of the half. Ricard led the way as rookie running back Justice Hill gained 5 yards and reached the Packers’ 1-yard line. Hill rushed for a touchdown the following play – again running behind Ricard, who was lined up at tight end on the right side of the offensive line.
The Ravens had led by 7 at halftime. The touchdown helped Baltimore begin to pull away for a 26-13 preseason win at M&T Bank Stadium.
“Really, it was a close game, we talked about young guys learning how to play winning football at the end. I thought our guys did a good job of that,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “In the second half, they fumbled it, we got on it and scored. That’s what you need to do to extend leads. I was really proud of the guys for that. Pat Ricard got that fumble.”
Ricard is a rare breed in today’s NFL, where the two-way player is mostly a thing of the past. He has done it regularly since earning a roster spot as an undrafted rookie in 2017.
In the first half Thursday, Ricard ran the ball twice for a total of four yards. Both carries were enough for first downs.
“That’s the first time I’ve gotten the ball like that since high school,” Ricard said. “I’ve been doing it in practice this camp and OTAs and stuff, so I’ve been getting reps at it, just haven’t done it in an actual game. I did it the first time and got the first down, and then I did it again and got a first down.”
Defensively, the third-year Swiss Army knife made one tackle, dropping Packers running back Darrin Hall for a 5-yard loss early in the fourth quarter. He recorded two sacks a week ago in the Ravens’ preseason opener.
“He’s been very versatile. He’s in the backfield quite a bit on defense, and he’s in the backfield quite a bit on offense. That’s a good balance, I guess,” Harbaugh said. “He’s played well and I think he’s really establishing himself as a really valuable part of our team.”
Ricard always seemed to be on the field throughout the second half, regardless of which team had the ball.
“Just when he starts looking like he’s really gassed, we try to give him a break,” Harbaugh said. “He recovered the fumble, he came off, and when his personnel group was called, he kind of looked up. It was like, ‘Dude, this is what you wanted. Get out there.’ He did well.”
Ricard has yet to record a rushing attempt in the regular season, but caught four passes as a rookie in 2017, including two touchdowns. The 310-pounder has made 10 career tackles as a defensive tackle.
“I’m just happy to play,” Ricard said. “I’m just happy to be here, and whenever my name is called, give everything I’ve got.”
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig