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Bronson Kaufusi, Chris Wormley Eager for Their Opportunity

Posted Sep 28, 2017

The Ravens like their depth at defensive end. Now it will get put to the test with Brent Urban lost for the rest of the season. Bronson Kaufusi or rookie Chris Wormley could be called upon.

Bronson Kaufusi had to be on the sideline for his entire rookie season after breaking his ankle.

Then, after finally being fully healthy and ready to go, Kaufusi was inactive for the Ravens’ first three games of the regular season.

Now, after Brent Urban’s season-ending Lisfranc foot injury, Kaufusi could be the man stepping into Urban’s starting role. And there may be no better start than against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

“When the opportunity arises, everyone looks forward to it, and I’m definitely someone that looks forward to every opportunity,” Kaufusi said.

“I always want to make the most of it and be fully prepared so I can go out there and be the best for not only myself but the guys on my left and right.”

The Ravens drafted Urban in the fourth round in 2014. He was a massive 6-foot-7, 300-pound beast on the defensive line, somebody they envisioned bullying offensive linemen to disrupt the run game and occasionally get quarterback pressure.

Two years later, as Urban struggled with injuries, the Ravens made another very similar pick. This time they grabbed Kaufusi, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound monster out of Brigham Young University in the third round.

But just like Urban, who missed his entire rookie season because of a torn ACL, Kaufusi lost his rookie year when he broke his ankle in training camp.

Kaufusi returned this summer a bigger, better version of himself after an aggressive rehab and offseason in the weight room. He impressed in the preseason, including a sack against the Washington Redskins. Coaches glowed about his high motor, work ethic and talent.

But with Urban also dominating in the preseason and the team having a lot of defensive line depth, Baltimore opted to make Kaufusi a healthy scratch for the first three games.

“There’s definitely a feeling of urgency because I got hurt last year and I want to contribute,” Urban said. “I just take whatever reps I get and I go full speed, full out. Every week I prepare like I’m going to play so I’m ready. At any moment, you can get called into battle.”

The Ravens could also call on rookie defensive tackle Chris Wormley to help. Wormley is third on the depth chart behind Brandon Williams and Willie Henry, but he’s a different player than both. He’s two inches taller than Henry and 40 pounds lighter than Williams.

A third-round pick out of Michigan, Wormley has also been a healthy scratch for the Ravens’ first three games. In his most extensive preseason action in the fourth game, he logged three tackles, but reps have been hard to come by.

“It definitely humbles you,” said Wormley, who added that he similarly had to experience watching from the sideline when he tore his ACL during his freshman year in college.

“I grew up watching this [rivalry] game. When you realize that you have a chance to make an impact for the team and get in there and hopefully make some plays, you stay a little longer, you get the body feeling good, you watch a little extra film at home.”

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