OWINGS MILLS, MD — In an age of specialization, the Baltimore Ravens’ Pat Ricard is a throwback, splitting snaps between offense, defense and special teams.
But the fullback/defensive lineman’s real versatility comes when he steps off the field.
The University of Maine product has been making a name for himself this season as a reviewer of Baltimore-area restaurants. Ricard’s weekly excursions chronicled on Instagram have piqued the interest of fans, as teammates and social media followers log in for the player’s recommendations.
His former college coach, Maine defensive coordinator Corey Hetherman, is one of those enjoying Ricard’s online tours of Charm City eateries.
“I follow him on Instagram. What’s going on with that? I had to ask,” Hetherman said. “I thought it was pretty neat he was doing that.”
Hetherman said Ricard, at 6-foot-3, 311 pounds, could put away a lot of food even before the reviews began earlier this season.
The idea came from one of his agents, who wanted to see Ricard get more involved in the community in his second season in Baltimore.
He is represented by Exclusive Sports Group of Indianapolis.
What has been the reaction of Ravens fans?
“It is cool,” Ricard said. “They can go (on Instagram) and ask questions.”
Ricard often brings a teammate along to experience the off-the-beaten-path restaurants that he calls “hidden gems.”
He got at least 390 likes after an outing with teammate and tight end Maxx Williams to Wicked Sisters in the trendy Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore.
“A very comfortable, modern feel that had two floors with bars/TVs and plenty of tables to enjoy your food and drinks,” Ricard wrote.
Ricard, a native of Spencer, Massachusetts, beat the odds to make it to the NFL.
He is one of several products of the Colonial Athletic Association, which put six teams in the FCS playoffs this season, to appear with the Ravens in recent years.
That includes current quarterback Joe Flacco and defensive tackle Nick Boyle of Delaware and former running back Terrance West (Towson), who was with the Ravens from 2015-17.
Ricard played linebacker in high school and then was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2017 by the Ravens as a defensive lineman, a position he played at Maine.
“Here he played every snap on defense,” Hetherman said. “He was the anchor of our defensive line. He was just leading by example.”
In the spring of 2017, the Ravens asked Rickard during organized team activities to take get some work as a fullback on offense. That came after former fullback Kyle Juszczyk signed as a free agent with the 49ers after the 2016 season.
“They just wanted to see what I can do. They liked what they say,” Ricard said after a recent practice. “The most challenging part at first was just learning everything. I didn’t play offense in college. Communicating with the coaches and mentally doing everything” is a challenge.
“It keeps me on the team. It keeps me active. Injuries happen. I play here, I can play there. It is fun,” added Ricard, who also played fullback in high school.
The 7-5 Ravens have won three straight games with rookie Lamar Jackson at quarterback and play Sunday at the 10-2 Kansas City Chiefs.