OWINGS MILLS – Forgive Josh Wilson if his head is still spinning as he tries to get acclimated to his new surroundings.
The Baltimore Ravens’ newly-acquired cornerback has had a busy week.
The former University of Maryland standout was traded to Baltimore on Tuesday night from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a conditional 2011 fifth-round draft pick, and was pulled off the practice field as the Ravens booked him a flight to Maryland.
The Upper Marlboro native took and passed his physical Wednesday before boarding a plane Thursday with the Ravens for their preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams.
And Friday morning marked Wilson’s first practice with his new teammates.
It’s a lot to absorb in a limited amount of time as he prepares for the first game Sept. 13 against the New York Jets
"It reminded me of being a rookie kind of," Wilson said. "I’m walking everywhere with this playbook. I’m trying to pull my coach to the side, ‘Hey, let’s go over this playbook. I’ve got to learn this and make this happen.’
"Normally, I carry my bible around, but right now I’m going to have my bible in my left and my playbook in my right."
Wilson’s arrival provides an immediate boost to a secondary that sorely needed quality depth at cornerback.
Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are coming off torn anterior cruciate ligaments suffered last season, and star free safety Ed Reed is still recovering from an offseason hip surgery.
The 5-foot-9, 192-pounder also adds a proven kick returner to the special-teams.
"He’s obviously a guy that has started for two years, so I wouldn’t put any limits on what he can possibly do," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It’s just a matter of how quickly he learns what we’re doing and how comfortable we are in putting him out there. A situation could dictate that he has to be out there, and that’s why we felt like we needed a quality player who’s got some experience."
The DeMatha Catholic alum is one of the faster cornerbacks on the team, running the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at the NFL scouting combine three years ago.
He returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns last season.
And he’d like to contribute to the Ravens’ cause in the kicking game.
"This team is going to do whatever it takes to get to the Super Bowl, and I just want to be part of that," Wilson said. "I’m going to do whatever they need me to do. If they want me to get back there and do kicks, I’ll score touchdowns that way."
Yet the arrival of fourth-round rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond in Seattle this year ultimately convinced the Seahawks’ new regime spearheaded by coach Pete Carroll that Wilson wasn’t untouchable.
"I didn’t see it coming," Wilson said. "When you feel like you’re the stepchild and they’ve got their baby boy over there, they’re going to massage him a little bit more than they’re going to massage me."
Although this homecoming is a joyful experience for Wilson, a former all-academic selection for the Terrapins, joining a defense with a rich tradition is the bigger plus as far as he’s concerned.
"Being here and being at home is definitely No. 2," he said. "No. 1 is having a pass rush. That’s definitely No. 1, having a pass rush and a front seven that is amazing. I grew up watching these guys and being excited. The circumstances may not have been how I thought I was going to get here, but I’m definitely glad I got here."
Wilson, 25, will have assistance in getting up to speed on the nuances of the Ravens’ defensive scheme.
And he’ll have a familiar tutor in injured cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who mentored him when both players were in College Park. Now, Foxworth is lending a hand on the NFL level while he’s out for the season with a knee injury.
"My true freshman year I was his backup," Wilson said. "All I did was listen to what he said. My sophomore year we were out on the field starting together, and I’m still listening. He coached me up.
"I’d say that’s one of the guys who was very influential in my life in the football aspect. Now being here, I’m going to go over to his house and get in this playbook with him and do it all over again."
Foxworth’s advice to Wilson won’t be confined to football, too.
Wilson could use a tour guide.
"Somebody asked me, ‘How far is home from here?’" Wilson said. "I don’t even know to get to the highway from here."