As soon as C.J. Mosley signed with the New York Jets this offseason – a five-year deal worth a reported $85 million – part of the story was that he would have a date back in Baltimore.
However, a groin injury suffered in Week 1 derailed Mosley's season, and landed him on injured reserve a week ago. After trying to battle through it, and re-aggravating it in a one-game return, Mosley finally opted for surgery recently.
The man who sealed the Ravens' AFC North championship a year ago in December won't be suiting up in M&T Bank Stadium. Are the Ravens sad about it?
"Not really, no," cornerback Jimmy Smith said. "He's not playing and that's good for us. He was a good player – a great player – for us, but stay on the sideline."
The Ravens have too much going this season – sitting at 11-2, on a nine-game winning streak with home-field advantage and Super Bowl aspirations – to put much focus on the return of a former player.
That's how the NFL business works. A player, even one as good as Mosley, signs elsewhere and the team moves on.
Mosley went to four Pro Bowls in his five seasons in Baltimore. He was one of the defense's finest players for half a decade – a beloved hard-working leader and game-changer.
But when Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked whether he was looking forward to seeing Mosley back in Baltimore when the schedule was released, he said he didn't think about it.
"I miss C.J., wish he was here," Harbaugh said. "[I] love him and appreciate everything he did for us. It's a tough break with the groin, but he'll bounce back. He's a great player, a hard worker and a good guy. But I haven't really thought that much about it."
Mosley isn't the only former Raven now suiting up in green – far from it.
The Jets also have guard Alex Lewis (who they traded for in August), running back Ty Montgomery, cornerback Maurice Canady, safety Bennett Jackson and linebacker Brandon Copeland.
Two months ago, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said, "Thank God he's here," in reference to Canady, who was stepping up amidst injuries. Five days later, the Ravens traded for Marcus Peters.
New York even has linebacker Paul Worrilow, who signed with the Ravens in August and asked for his release less than 24 hours later. He signed with the Jets in early November.
It shouldn't come as a huge surprise given their first-year general manager is Joe Douglas, who began his career in Baltimore in 2000 and was with the team until 2014. He likes former Ravens, and so do plenty of other teams.
While Mosley's season hasn't gone well, Za'Darius Smith has excelled in Green Bay (10 sacks), John Brown is having a career year in Buffalo, Eric Weddle has had another strong season in Los Angeles and Terrell Suggs got off to a hot start in Arizona (5.5 sacks).
When Mosley departed for New York, and others followed suit this offseason, it was a tough loss. But the Ravens have recovered and flourished. The sting Baltimore felt at the time isn't so strong now.
"I do think we've had really good players, and you're happy when you see them go other places and do well and sign big contracts – you really are," Harbaugh said. "As a coach, you want to see guys make a difference for their families and their lives and stuff like that. That's part of the goal."