Justin Houston and the Baltimore Ravens have reached an agreement on a one-year deal for the four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker to return to the club, it was announced Thursday.
The Ravens tendered Houston after the draft — much as the Kansas City Chiefs did with Melvin Ingram — to try to ensure his return to Baltimore.
In his first campaign with the Ravens, Houston led the team with 17 quarterback hits but was credited with only 4.5 sacks, his fewest ever for a full season and the second consecutive season in which his sack production has decreased.
Houston, who turned 33 in January, became the 39th player in NFL history to reach 100 career sacks. His 102 sacks is tied for the fourth most in the league since he entered the NFL in 2011.
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His return helps to address the thinnest position on the Ravens defense.
There’s doubt whether starting outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, who tore an Achilles in the season finale, will be ready for the start of the regular season. Outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson died on June 21 from the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine.
Before the Ravens brought back Houston, the other remaining experienced outside linebackers — Odafe Oweh, Steven Means and Vince Biegel — have combined for 13.5 career sacks.
Houston has made an impact in Baltimore as a leader, repeatedly staying after practice to help the Ravens’ young pass-rushers on moves. He was nicknamed “Yoda” by Oweh, a rookie first-round pick.
A 2011 third-round pick by the Chiefs, Houston has totaled 484 tackles, 165 quarterback hits, 18 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries and 4 interceptions in 11 seasons for the Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Ravens.
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