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C.J. Mosley: I Have To Be A More Vocal Leader


Immediately after the Ravens drafted linebacker C.J. Mosley, General Manager Ozzie Newsome teased the linebacker about being so quiet.

"You know what? At some point I'm going to get you a little more excited," Newsome said in his first phone call with Mosley after drafting him. "I've seen you four times and you're just so down to earth, so quiet."

In his first two seasons, Mosley has proven to be one of the Ravens' top defenders. He was the franchise's first rookie Pro Bowler.

Yet Mosley has done it with little more than a peep.

Now with the departure of Mosley's mentor, Daryl Smith, via free agency, Mosley recognizes that it's time to come out of his shell. Mosley is stepping into Smith's spot, both positionally and as a leader.

"I think I have to be more of a vocal leader more this year, especially being at 'MIKE' now," Mosley said Tuesday at the start of the team's voluntary strength and conditioning program.

"It's going to take time to get comfortable with it. It's not [like] me to be the one to talk a lot. But once everybody starts getting together and once the group that's here now starts going through OTAs together, that leadership part will start kicking in."

Mosley is already stepping up simply by being present at the team's voluntary sessions. Last year, a wrist injury kept him on the shelf for much of the offseason. Now he's alongside the team's other young players in the weight room.

But how can Mosley just flip a switch when he's not naturally outspoken?

"Honestly, I think it's just a mindset thing," he said.

"You can always be a leader by example. But when you feel like it's: 'OK, somebody needs to say something,' that's when you have to be like: 'Alright, it's my time to do that.' Or just something in general, whether it's just talking to somebody on the side or [if I] see somebody struggling and just talking to him, keeping his head up. [It's about] being a leader any kind of way you can."

Mosley has led well by example during his first two seasons. He learned that from Smith, who was his mentor when he entered the league as a rookie in 2014. Smith wasn't very outspoken either.

Mosley said he's sad to see Smith go, but happy that he got another payday and that he returned home to Florida. "I'm pretty sure he's happy about that," Mosley said with a grin.

Now in his third year, Mosley may very well have a younger player lining up next to him. The Ravens could draft a starting inside linebacker, such as UCLA's Myles Jack. Mosley said Jack would be an "incredible piece to our defense" and called him a "freak of nature."

An in-house candidate to play alongside Mosley is Zachary Orr, who like Mosley is heading into his third season, but, unlike Mosley, is a former undrafted player.

Mosley was asked whether it feels weird being a mentor to other players like Smith was to him.

"Not really, because I guess I don't really see myself as a mentor," he said. "I'm [still] learning the game."

But that won't stop Mosley from stepping up and voicing his opinion when he has one.

"Sometimes I can talk to a vet or say something to a vet," he said. "It's all about building that bond, that brothership. So, sometimes I don't look at is as a mentor, [it's] more I'm just trying to help my teammate, trying to help my brother out."

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