Considering he was an unheralded recruit coming out of high school, this summer was certainly not the first time Ravens offensive lineman Patrick Mekari had successfully flown under the radar.
Mekari was a consensus two-star recruit out of high school and ended up putting together a productive four-year career at the University of California. Mekari signed with the Ravens in May, but the California native knew little about the team other than its past and current stars like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Marshal Yanda.
After a productive summer, Mekari made the team. For the past 16 years, the Ravens have kept at least one undrafted free agent on their 53-man roster. This year, they kept two: linebacker Otaro Alaka (Texas A&M) and Mekari.
"I had no clue about the streak," Mekari said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Sept. 3. "It came as quite a surprise to me, but I am happy to be here."
Throughout his life, the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Mekari has been playing with a chip on his shoulder and is incredibly grateful for the opportunity he now has with the Ravens. Mekari grew up in Westlake Village, Calif., but his father is from Lebanon and his mother is from Iran. Both left for California when they were 9 or 10 and met later in life.
Mekari said it was difficult for his parents to grow up "having to learn a whole new language and adjust to a new place." Mekari is thankful for the support he received from his parents and extended family -- particularly his uncles who lived nearby -- when he was young.
"My family played a huge role in shaping me and my siblings for who we are today," Mekari said.
Mekari played at Cal from 2015-2018, appearing in 34 total games and starting 24 of them. His senior year ended prematurely due to a shoulder injury. During his first year at Berkeley, he blocked for Los Angeles Rams Pro Bowl quarterback Jared Goff, and in 2017, he received honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors.
Mekari knew he needed to take advantage of every opportunity during the Ravens' four preseason games this summer and never settle for mediocrity.
"Every day matters. If you have one good preseason game or one bad preseason game, that does not really determine your fate on the team," Mekari said. "I had four opportunities and every day in practice. Even if I stacked up a couple good days or a couple good games, I kinda just knew, 'Hey there's another day, you're gonna be evaluated tomorrow.' There was never a point in camp where I felt comfortable."
Preseason workouts, practice, and breaking down film keep Mekari busy, but when he's not thinking about football, he likes to get as far as he can away from the game.
"On a Friday night, you'll find me playing 'Clash of Clans' or 'Fortnite,' talking to the family and lady," Mekari said. "I'm not much of a party guy."
To hear more from Mekari, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox