Ravens' Dinkins discovery pays dividends

BALTIMORE -- For Baltimore Ravens tight end Darnell Dinkins, his first NFL touchdown was a long time coming.<br><br> And when the formerly anonymous member of the practice squad caught a 17-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter of the Ravens' 30-10 victory Sunday over the Dallas Cowboys, he celebrated enthusiastically.

Dinkins dunked the football over the crossbar, enjoying the feeling of a drive that gave Baltimore the lead and started a string of 30 points before an answer. Dinkins' first career score came 10 games into his third NFL season.

"When people go down, you have to step up," said Dinkins, playing more because of tight end Terry Jones' shoulder injury. "When I get the ball, it's just exciting."

Dinkins caught two passes for first downs from quarterback Kyle Boller on the third-quarter drive, finishing the game with a career-high three catches for 40 yards. All of his catches were on that drive. He signalled first down a la Shannon Sharpe after each reception.

Dinkins had toiled on the Ravens' practice squad for a month after being released by the New York Giants this summer. In college at Pittsburgh, Dinkins started at free safety for three years, also seeing action at free safety and linebacker. He came to campus as a quarterback.

"I've never really doubted myself," Dinkins said. "The Giants let me go when I was injured. I kept working hard and waited for an opportunity to make a team. Thank God, they put me in there.
"We all get paid to make plays in this league."

Aaron Wilson writes for ravensinsider.com and the Carroll County Times.

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