Ramon Harewood Makes An Unlikely Journey From Barbados To The NFL
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Ramon Harewood, Guard #70
Hometown: St. Michael, Barbados
Experience: 3 years
The Baltimore Ravens were set to play the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football in their season opener. Many expected the Ravens to field Bobbie Williams as the starter at left guard. Instead, the Ravens shocked everyone when they decided to start Ramon Harewood. Fans haven’t seen much of the third year player due to injuries throughout his career, but he played exceptionally well against Cincinnati. For the time being, Harewood will be a fixture in a Ravens’ offensive line that appears to be solid. Based on how Harewood started his journey, the fact that he is playing at all is a major accomplishment in itself.
Ramon Harewood didn’t play football in high school. That’s because his high school didn’t have a football team. Harewood grew up in the Barbados, a small Caribbean island known more for its beautiful beaches and less for producing NFL prospects. That’s probably because football isn’t really considered a sport in Barbados. Most of the residents of the island barely know what it is.
“I didn’t really know too much about football,” said Harewood during an interview with CNN hours before the NFL Draft. “I played volleyball for my country. I played rugby for my country and track and field. So, I was always into sports.”
He may have been into sports, but football wasn’t one of them. That would remain the case until he met a former football coach at a college fair in Barbados. The coach took one look at the 6’6” giant and saw potential for collegiate success. After much deliberation, Harewood decided to give football a try.
And he “immediately fell in love with it.”
Ramon Harewood would commit to Morehouse College and dominate the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) as a three-year starter. He would finish his career in Morehouse with nearly 100 pancake blocks. Ramon simply dominated the competition at Morehouse. And even though Harewood competed in Division II football, he showed enough skill to get drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The fact that Harewood wasn’t even invited to the NFL Combine makes the achievement all the more impressive.
Drafted purely as a raw project, at first Harewood rarely got a chance to see the field. Injuries plagued the young man’s career as he would start both the 2010 and 2011 season on the injured reserved list (IR) due to injuries to his knees and ankle, respectively. Entering his third season, Harewood wasn’t even sure if he would make the team in 2012.
“[I was only a ] 6th round draft pick, [I was on] IR for 2 years, [and the team] brought in [another] tackle; it made sense to have those thoughts [of being cut],” said Harewood.
There’s no doubt Harewood had to have an impressive camp to be a part of the 53 man roster, let alone start in the season opener. That made summing up his first experience as a NFL starter all the more challenging for the former Morehouse Tiger.
“I really can’t explain it right now. I want to say phenomenal, but that doesn’t even sum it up to be honest with you. The last [few] years have been so hard; to be able to run out of that tunnel tonight was an amazing feeling.”
The athletic giant from Barbados had dreams of being an engineer, something his parents would have been happy with. The former high school volleyball player is now a starting guard for a championship contender. And if he can build on his Week One performance against the Bengals, the best is yet to come.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.