Tagged in: Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers sign DT Larry Ogunjobi to one-year deal

Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday.

The Steelers did not disclose financial terms of the contract.

Ogunjobi now will have played for the Cleveland Browns, Bengals and Steelers, leaving the Baltimore Ravens as the lone AFC North team not to have had him on their roster.

Ogunjobi had also visited the New York Jets since his three-year, $40.5 million deal with the Chicago Bears fell apart after he failed his physical on March 18. The Bears wouldn’t say why he failed the physical, but Ogunjobi did undergo offseason surgery to repair a right foot injury.

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The Steelers had a glaring need for defensive line depth after the retirement of Stephon Tuitt earlier this offseason.

Ogunjobi will be most important in stopping the run, a major focus of the 2022 Steelers after the run defense concluded last in the league a season ago. Ogunjobi had 12 tackles for loss last season in Cincinnati and has 41 in his career.

Ogunjobi has a little history with the Steelers. He was involved in the 2019 on-field altercation between Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and was suspended one game.

Last campaign, Ogunjobi was part of the overhaul that helped the Bengals go from the lowest sack total in the NFL in 2020 to 11th in 2021, registering a career-high seven, which was tied for the third most of any interior defensive lineman, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

His sack total last season was nearly half of his combined total over four seasons with the Browns (14.5).

Ogunjobi, 28, missed most of Cincinnati’s run to Super Bowl LVI after he suffered a season-ending foot injury in the wild-card victory versus the Las Vegas Raiders. Overall, the 2017 third-round draft pick has 21.5 career sacks with 229 tackles and two forced fumbles.

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Lamar Jackson’s return to Baltimore Ravens practice ‘boosts everybody’s spirits’

Lamar Jackson made an impressive return to the Baltimore Ravens, receiving positive reviews after his first practice of the offseason.

Jackson looked comfortable and had good velocity on his throws, and teammates expressed excitement over seeing him on the field for the first time in six months.

“I think everybody knows that Lamar, he’s what drives our team,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said Tuesday. “The energy around him being here lifts everybody up.”

Jackson, who is scheduled to talk to reporters Thursday, skipped all three weeks of the voluntary workouts before reporting Monday. He hasn’t given a reason for his absence.

The last time Jackson was on the field with Baltimore was Dec. 29, when he tried to practice with a pronounced limp. He missed the final four games with a right ankle injury, as Baltimore failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

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On Tuesday, it seemed like old times with Jackson. He moved around well, threw his usual sidearm passes and connected frequently with Andrews, including on a 30-yard pass while on the run. Teammates noticed Jackson’s passes were tight spirals and had some extra zip on them.

“He’s physically in very good shape. I thought his arm looked really good,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “You can see he’s been throwing a lot. You can see he’s in great physical condition. It’s great to have him out there. He kind of boosted everybody’s spirits, too.”

Jackson appeared comfortable on the field despite not attending the nine previous practices.

There was only one instance where the team had to huddle again because there was confusion about a play.

But what upset Jackson the most was throwing two interceptions to safety Tony Jefferson.

“He’s a competitor,” Harbaugh said. “He’s mad about some passes here and there.”

Jackson is entering his fifth-year option, which will pay him $23.016 million this season. If the sides are unable to reach an extension by March 7, Baltimore is expected to place the franchise tag on him.

“He’s the ultimate pro,” Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said. “He prepares and handles his business the way you’re supposed to. Just being a young guy, he’s so mature. He understands how to do things the right way.”

The Ravens also announced they reached an injury settlement with defensive tackle Derek Wolfe and will release him. This comes one day after Wolfe announced he had his second hip surgery of the year.

Wolfe was solid in 2019, when the Ravens went 14-2. But he was sidelined all of last season with hip and back injuries. “So that’ll be it with that,” Harbaugh said of Wolfe.

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Baltimore Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe undergoes second hip surgery this year

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe announced Monday that he underwent his second hip surgery of the year, which is the latest setback in his injury-filled career.

Wolfe, 32, missed all of past season with hip and back injuries. He had his first hip surgery in January and then had another one five months later.

“Feeling pretty good,” Wolfe said in an Instagram video that he recorded from his hospital bed. “We’re going to get a full recovery here and try to live a normal life.”

Wolfe’s $2 million salary this season is fully guaranteed, and his $3.8 salary cap figure ranks 13th on the Ravens. Baltimore re-signed Wolfe to a three-year, $12 million contract (including $5.4 million signing bonus) in March 2021, and he has yet to play a match since then.

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Wolfe injured his back and hip during joint practices with the Carolina Panthers in training camp. He was designated to return off injured reserve in November, but he reverted back to IR after briefly appearing in one practice.

Earlier this offseason, Wolfe told a hunting podcast that he didn’t know whether his hip injury would force him to retire. But Wolfe later tweeted in March that he fully intended on coming back this season.

Justin Madubuike stepped into the starting lineup in place of Wolfe last campaign, making 36 tackles and two sacks. Baltimore also signed Brent Urban, a former fourth-round pick, to provide more depth at defensive end.

A second-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2012, Wolfe has struggled to stay healthy. He has missed a total of 39 games over the last nine seasons.

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Baltimore Ravens re-sign DE Calais Campbell to 2-year, $12.5M contract

Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell is coming back to the Baltimore Ravens on a two-year deal, the team revealed Saturday.

Campbell’s contract is worth $12.5 million but could be as much as $16.5 million with incentives, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Campbell, 35, decided to return for his 15th NFL season after briefly contemplating retirement, saying he still has a desire to play after watching the Los Angeles Rams celebrate their championship.

He now will get to conclude his career in Baltimore after spending the past two seasons there and will try to get that elusive Super Bowl ring.

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Over the past two days, the Ravens addressed two areas of need while bolstering their leadership on defense, bringing back middle linebacker Josh Bynes on Friday and then keeping Campbell on Saturday.

Ravens Lamar Jackson and Tony Jefferson II took to Twitter to share their reactions to Campbell’s return.

A six-time Pro Bowler, Campbell has long been known for his capacity to get to the quarterback.

But he was more of a run-stopper than a pass-rush force in his two seasons with Baltimore, where he managed 4.5 sacks, including 1.5 last season.

Durability has been a problem for Campbell with the Ravens. After his streak of 98 straight starts ended, Campbell missed six of his past 25 games with Baltimore.

He is one of four NFL defenders since 2000 to record at least 700 tackles and 85 sacks. Among all active players, his 93.5 career sacks rank 10th and his 773 career tackles are 12th. Campbell is still in search of that first Super Bowl championship after six trips to the playoffs.

He played nine seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, who selected him in the second round of the 2008 draft, and three with the Jacksonville Jaguars before being traded to the Ravens in March 2020 for a fifth-round pick.

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Baltimore Ravens fire defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale

The Baltimore Ravens have fired defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale with one year left on his contract.

This surprising shake-up represents the first move made by the Ravens since they lost six consecutive games to end the season and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh issued a statement Friday saying he and Martindale “agreed to move forward in separate directions.”

“We have had a great run on defense, and I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the work he has done,” Harbaugh said in his statement.

“Don has been a major contributor to the success of our defense since 2012, and especially since he became defensive coordinator four years ago. He has done a great job. Now it is time to pursue other opportunities.

“Sometimes the moment comes, and it’s the right time. I am personally grateful for our friendship and for everything he has done in Baltimore.”

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According to a source, the sides couldn’t reach an agreement on a one-year extension for Martindale through 2023.

There were members in the organization who were caught off guard by the parting of ways with Martindale. The decision came 12 days after the Ravens’ season-ending, 16-13 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and came after Martindale had participated in personnel meetings last week.

Martindale also was asked to address the players in the final team meeting a day after the season ended.

The move was revealed while the Ravens’ brain trust — Harbaugh, owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Eric DeCosta — was holding its annual organizational summit.

Baltimore ranked No. 25 on defense last season, the first time the Ravens had finished out of the top 10 in Martindale’s four seasons as defensive coordinator. The Ravens also permitted the second-most yards (363.4) in the franchise’s 26-year history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Martindale, 58, had been with the Ravens since their 2012 Super Bowl season and was known for his ultra-aggressive style. The Ravens regularly ranked among the highest-blitzing teams.

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Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson returns to practice with pronounced limp after missing 2 games with ankle injury

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to practice Wednesday with a pronounced limp as Baltimore heads into what is essentially a must-win match versus the Los Angeles Rams.

Jackson, who is dealing with a right ankle injury, is expected to have limited participation on Sunday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said before Wednesday’s practice. Sidelined for the past two games, Jackson will get back on the field for the first time since hurting his ankle on Dec. 12, when Baltimore lost at Cleveland 24-22.

During the half-hour media viewing, Jackson didn’t move around much when throwing to his receivers. When Jackson went from drill to drill, he had trouble jogging. He was officially listed as a limited participant.

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Harbaugh stated Jackson’s availability for Sunday’s game will depend on how he progresses throughout the week. If Jackson can’t play, Baltimore could turn to Tyler Huntley, who is expected to be activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.

“I’m really hopeful,” Harbaugh said. “I’m hopeful for all our quarterbacks, starting with Lamar. I really want to see him out there on Sunday. I know the fans do, and I know most of all, Lamar does. He’s going to do everything he can to be out there. You can’t make a promise because we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.”

The Ravens (8-7) have lost four consecutive games and are currently No. 8 as they try to make the seven-team AFC playoff field. If Baltimore loses to the Rams, its chances of reaching the playoffs will plummet to 8%, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. The Ravens’ postseason chances would increase to 59% with a victory.

The return of Jackson could provide a boost when the Ravens need it the most. Jackson is 37-12 (.755) as a starting quarterback and has led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his three seasons in the NFL.

Before the injury, Jackson was mired in the worst slump of his career. Since Week 10, Jackson has thrown three touchdowns and six interceptions for a 34.3 Total QBR, which ranks 25th in the league over that span.

But Jackson remains one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. In his previous game versus the Rams, Jackson threw for five touchdowns and ran for 95 yards in a 45-6 rout in Los Angeles in his 2019 NFL MVP season.

Jackson’s injury has been described as a sprained ankle, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Jackson is dealing with a bone bruise.

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Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers balancing recovery, preparation during short week

Ben Roethlisberger knows playing the Minnesota Vikings on a short week after a physical game versus the Baltimore Ravens is going to require little extra help.

“Just have as many people help as you can: chiropractors, masseuses, training staff,” the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said Tuesday. “Getting in the pools and just doing whatever you can to get yourself ready. Everyone has to do this throughout the year.

“I don’t think anybody really likes it except for the NFL and all the money that they make. Players, it’s tough. Obviously, the back end of it is the benefit, right? The weekend, some time off. That only really feels good if you get the win. But you’ve just got to find a way, really.”

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To balance the team’s recovery and preparation, the Steelers are only lightly practicing this week.

Tuesday’s shortened practice was more like a walkthrough.

“Yeah, so I’ll participate fully today,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s the craziest thing. Typically, I don’t even practice until Friday, and now we’ve got to play on Thursday. So I’ll be a full participant [Tuesday] and Thursday.”

Roethlisberger, 39, has fought through injuries and COVID-19 this campaign, dealing with injuries to his pectoral and hip early on. He stated Tuesday that his elbow, which was surgically repaired in 2019, feels fine.

“It’s my shoulder that hurts more than my elbow,” Roethlisberger said. “My elbow feels great, thanks to the doctors. It’s just dealing with throwing. Wish someone could keep track; like I’ve thrown a million throws in my life, so at some point your shoulder starts to wear down a little bit. Just like any quarterback, your arm always hurts a little bit.”

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Baltimore Ravens OT Ronnie Stanley to have season-ending ankle surgery

Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley will undergo season-ending surgery on his left ankle for the second consecutive season.

Stanley, 27, announced he will be out for the remainder of the season after the Ravens placed him on injured reserve. He will undergo surgery Tuesday, according to a source.

“At this point in time, my ankle isn’t where it should be,” Stanley said in a statement. “This is the best decision not only for my health, but also for the team long-term. I look forward to supporting my team from the sideline this season and coming back fully healthy in 2022.”

This is the latest blow for Baltimore, which now has an NFL-leading 17 players on injured reserve. The Ravens had hoped Stanley would return fully healthy this season, which is why they traded Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs before the draft.

Alejandro Villanueva, a six-year starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, will continue to start at left tackle and protect Lamar Jackson’s blind side for Baltimore, which has the AFC’s best record at 5-1.

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In another roster move, the Ravens promoted running back Le’Veon Bell from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Baltimore had elevated him twice, so it couldn’t elevate him again without adding him to the active roster.

Bell joins Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Ty’Son Williams as running backs on the Ravens’ active roster. In two matches, Bell has run 12 times for 29 yards and one touchdown.

Stanley, a first-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl player in 2019, first injured his ankle two days after signing a five-year, $98.75 million extension. Last season, he missed the final 10 games after breaking his left ankle Nov. 1 versus the Steelers.

Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt inadvertently rolled into the back of Stanley’s lower left leg while trying to sack Jackson.

The NFL’s second-highest-paid offensive tackle, Stanley underwent two surgeries on his ankle before this season. After being sidelined for the entire offseason and for the first nine days of training camp, he returned to play in the season opener in Las Vegas but visibly struggled.

He hadn’t played since. Stanley represents the third-biggest cap hit on the Ravens at $10 million.

The No. 6 pick of the 2016 draft, Stanley has been Baltimore’s best left tackle since Hall of Fame lineman Jonathan Ogden.

“This is not what I wanted or expected when coming into the season,” Stanley said. “Throughout the last year, I did everything I could to be 100% healthy so I could be out there playing for our team and city.”

In addition to Stanley, Baltimore’s other significant season-ending injuries are to cornerback Marcus Peters, running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill and linebacker L.J. Fort. They totaled 2,872 snaps in 2020.

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Baltimore Ravens fear RB Gus Edwards, CB Marcus Peters have torn ACLs

The Baltimore Ravens fear they lost running back Gus Edwards and cornerback Marcus Peters to season-ending knee injuries Thursday, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Ravens think Edwards and Peters tore their ACLs during Thursday’s practice, sources told Schefter. Baltimore wasn’t practicing in full pads Thursday. Both players are undergoing testing to confirm the initial diagnoses.

This continues a horrid run of injuries for Baltimore and delivers a major blow to the Ravens’ Super Bowl aspirations.

Edwards becomes the third running back to suffer a season-ending injury in a span of 12 days. J.K. Dobbins tore the ACL in his left knee in the preseason finale Aug. 28, and Justice Hill hurt an Achilles tendon Sept. 9.

Ty’Son Williams, a practice player from a year ago who doesn’t have an NFL carry, becomes the Ravens’ lead back. The other two running backs on the roster –Trenton Cannon and Le’Veon Bell (practice squad) — only started practicing with the Ravens on Wednesday.

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The Ravens are also signing free-agent running back Devonta Freeman to their practice squad on Thursday, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told Schefter.

It is expected that Freeman will be promoted to the active roster.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown took to Twitter to wish the best for their injured teammates.

The Ravens have had the NFL’s most dominant ground attack, leading the league in rushing the past two campaigns. Dobbins and Edwards totaled 1,528 yards rushing last season, which accounted for 81% of the output by Baltimore running backs. Edwards signed a three-year, $12.38 million deal in June that included $8 million in guaranteed money.

The loss of Peters would represent the most significant injury to the defense this year. The Ravens have depth at cornerback, but it will be difficult to replace Peters’ playmaking ability. His 31 interceptions leads the NFL since he entered the league in 2015.

Since Peters was traded to Baltimore in Week 9 of 2019, the Ravens have permitted the fewest yards per pass attempt (6.1) and tied for the second-fewest touchdown passes allowed (31), according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Anthony Averett, a fourth-round pick in 2018, would be a candidate to replace Peters and start opposite Marlon Humphrey. The Ravens open the season at the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football.

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Baltimore Ravens’ J.K. Dobbins having MRI but expectation is RB is out for season

Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins sustained a left knee injury Saturday night, but the expectation is the injury will end his season, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Dobbins was carted off the field after injuring the knee during the opening drive of the Ravens’ 37-3 rout of Washington at FedEx Field. A second-round pick from a year ago, Dobbins was entering his first season as Baltimore’s featured running back.

If Dobbins is out for the season, the Ravens’ top two backs are Gus Edwards and Ty’Son Williams. Edwards is one of the more underrated backups in the league, averaging 5.2 yards per carry over the past three campaigns (third best among running backs).

Williams, who went undrafted out of BYU last year, has impressed the Ravens this summer with his physical running style, rushing for 131 yards on 24 carries this preseason (5.5-yard average).

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The Ravens have confidence in Edwards, who signed a two-year, $10 million extension this offseason and has shown he can be a starting running back when called upon. In 2018, Edwards took over as the Ravens’ No. 1 running back midway through the season and helped lead Baltimore to the playoffs. He averaged 93.4 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns in the final six games that season.

The Ravens have had the NFL’s top-ranked running attack over the past two seasons because of the system that it has installed around quarterback Lamar Jackson, who gained a team-leading 2,211 yards rushing combined in 2019 and 2020. Over that span, three running backs have gained over 800 yards: Edwards, Dobbins and Mark Ingram.

This offseason, the Ravens explored the possibility of adding a veteran running back for depth.

Free agent Todd Gurley II visited the Ravens in June, but he left without a contract. It’s unknown whether Gurley’s knee issues would let him to hold up for a full season.

Dobbins, 22, was primed for a breakout 2021 season. Last year, he averaged 6.0 yards per carry, the second-highest average by a rookie running back over the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Only the New Orleans Saints’ Alvin Kamara (6.1) had a higher average as a rookie.

Dobbins’ injury was the latest setback in a rough summer for Baltimore. Because of injuries, Baltimore’s top three wide receivers have missed a chunk of training camp and its projected starting offensive line didn’t practice together for the first time until last week.

Wide receiver Rashod Bateman, a first-round pick, had groin surgery on Aug. 13 and could miss the beginning of the regular season.

Now, the expectation is Dobbins will miss the 2021 season, which is the outcome many of the Ravens’ players were bracing for Saturday night. “That one hurts, bro, because you know how much work he put in [and] the type of guy he is,”

Ravens wide receiver James Proche said after Saturday’s game. “He loves the game. Anytime the game is taken away from you like that, you really feel for him.”

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