Ravens rookie guard Ben Cleveland clears up 'squirrel diet' rumors

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Ravens rookie Ben Cleveland clears up 'squirrel diet' rumors originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

For all the preseason excitement around rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman and linebacker Jason Oweh, the Ravens' third-round pick has piqued the interest of a lot of Baltimore fans.

The 6-foot-6, 343-pound offensive guard out of Georgia, Ben Cleveland, who goes by "Big Country" on Twitter, turned heads at his Pro-Day when he ran a 4.97 second 40-yard dash. But beyond his impossible combo of size and speed, his "squirrel diet" has really piqued the interest of fans and reporters alike.

During Friday's rookie minicamp press conference, Cleveland clarified that his furry friends aren't his first-choice meat, but they definitely did the trick while he was growing up in the small, north-Georgia town of Toccoa.

"It was more so one of those things where you know you eat what you got in the freezer from the fall," Cleveland said. "So, had a few squirrels freeze dried in there. So you know you get a little hungry and ain't got no more deer meat left, you fry you up a squirrel or two and go eat that."

Cleveland admitted that he hadn't paid much attention to his diet before getting to college. He recalled having a couple pizzas to himself on Tuesday nights after high school practices. Since college, however, he said he's cut back on fast and fried foods. That doesn't mean he's entirely done with squirrels by any means.

"Up here, our acorns and stuff aren't really as good as the ones down south," Cleveland said. "But if you put enough seasoning on it, you can make it taste like anything you want it to taste like."

Baltimore squirrels and anyone lining up against Baltimore's rookie behemoth this season, beware.