Kamar Aiken just wants a chance to compete for playing time.
“I don’t feel like I had the opportunities,” Aiken said after signing with Indy this week, via ESPN. “I had opportunities when injuries came up and things like that, but it wasn’t a true opportunity to say let’s help me build off what I did or to get me involved a lot in the offense. It was more, ‘We’re going to put him in a special-teams role and we’ll see where he fits in in the offense.’ That’s how I felt when I was there.”
After going undrafted in 2011, the 6-foot-2 wideout bounced around before landing in Baltimore the past three seasons.
When the Ravens suffered injuries to Breshad Perriman and Steve Smith in 2015, Aiken was thrust into a larger role. He went on to lead the team with 944 yards on 75 receptions and also had five TDs. Last season, however, the 27-year-old became lost in the shuffle in Baltimore, earning just 29 catches for 328 yards and a score.
“It was definitely frustrating because I felt like I did enough to at least have the opportunity to build off of what I did the year before,” Aiken said of his performance in 2016. “But I really didn’t have that. My role was dropped back on the depth chart and then basically special teams. There was nothing that I was doing to say, ‘Well, he’s not doing this well. He’s not doing that well.’ That’s just what it was.”
Signing with the Colts affords Aiken the chance to compete with disappointing first-round pick Phillip Dorsett for playing time. Aiken’s versatility to play any position and his size and ability in the red zone pair nicely in Indy’s offense.
“I just feel like this opportunity is a little different than the other ones I’ve had,” Aiken said. “Like when I came into Baltimore, I came in as a practice squad guy so I kind of earned my ranks to get to be able to be active and get plays my way. Now, I am coming into a situation where I have kind of proved myself, not to the tier where I know I can be, but I’ve proven myself enough to where I can come in and compete for a job.”
New general manager Chris Ballard only promised Aiken an opportunity to compete for snaps in a thin receiver corps. Now it’s Aiken’s job to prove he should have gotten a better chance to do so in Baltimore.