Ravens banking on a strong return from Brightful

The Ravens are banking on a strong return from Lamont Brightful. <br><br> A sixth-round pick in 2001, Brightful struggled early as a rookie return specialist before showing some flash in the second half of the season. The Ravens didn't bring in any veteran presence this offseason and are gambling that Brightful picks up where he left off.

Brightful showed more confidence during the minicamps and even said it's his job to lose heading into training camp.
"It's always up to the coaches but I'm going into it with that mentality," Brightful said. "The people they have back there with me, I have the most experience. But it's always a fight every year. For you to get better, you have to have somebody below you trying to get your job. It definitely makes me work harder and compete out there."
During last season's training camp, Brightful frequently bobbled punts and kickoffs, which led to him being inactive for the first four games last year. It wasn't until the halfway point of the season the former sixth-round pick showed some flash.
In the final two months, Brightful returned punts for 28 and 43 yards and ran back another 95 yards for a touchdown. He also had at least one kickoff return over 34 yards in four of his last seven games.
"You have a lot more confidence in him," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The ability is apparent, with that speed and quickness he has. The size concerns you until you actually see him play."
Brightful's size -- he's listed at 5 feet 10, 170 pounds -- is just as deceiving in the weight room. He said that he can easily bench press twice his weight and his personal best was lifting 365 pounds.
"A lot of people look at my size, but they don't know me," Brightful said. "I have a big heart and I'm a man. You got to have some sort of strength to play in this league."
That strength comes into play during the drills as a backup defensive back. A wide receiver at Eastern Washington, Brightful is solidifying himself on the team with his work in the secondary.
"He's actually elevated his status in the secondary," Billick said. "He's a tough, little competitor. The one enhances the other.
"The more faith you have in him as a defensive back, it enhances your confidence in the return aspect of it as well. Given his experience now and the fact that's he has been able to insert himself into the DB mix certainly enhances his chances of nailing that (return) position down."

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