When defensive lineman Chris Canty met with Ravens General Manger Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh Tuesday night, Cory Redding's name came up in the conversation.
Redding was a quality starter and veteran leader during his two years in Baltimore, and that's exactly what the Ravens hope to get from Canty, who signed a three-year deal with the Ravens.
"They definitely saw me in a very similar role," Canty said during Wednesday's conference call. "I'm excited about that. I'm very confident that I'd be able to come in and do that job at a very high level and help provide this defense with an opportunity to be aggressive and to be a dominant defense."
Redding went to the Indianapolis Colts last year in free agency, and now Canty brings a similar kind of pedigree with him to the Ravens.
Canty, 30, is a veteran defensive lineman that comes to Baltimore after spending the last four seasons with the New York Giants. He's a versatile defender with the ability to play both defensive tackle and end.
But* *as important as his contributions are on the field, the Ravens made it clear to Canty that they want him to take on a leadership role.
"They definitely want me to be a leader on this football team – in the locker room and on the field," he said.
Adding a veteran to the locker room is critical for the Ravens, who lost a handful of their leaders since winning the Super Bowl last month.
Ray Lewis and Matt Birk have retired. Anquan Boldin was traded. Bernard Pollard was reportedly released. Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger departed via free agency. And Ed Reed is still an unrestricted free agent testing the market.
The Ravens got much younger in a very short time, and they'll be counting on Canty to help soften the blow and take charge in the locker room, similar to what Redding did when he arrived in 2010.
"The role that Mr. Newsome and Coach Harbaugh want me to play, I'm very comfortable with and am excited to have that opportunity," Canty said.
Part of the leadership aspect that Canty brings to the table is his experience in trying to stay in contention after winning a Super Bowl. He's won a title with the Giants in 2011, and Newsome referenced that experience as an attractive asset.
"You got to know how to get over the Super Bowl hangover," Canty said. "When you have an opportunity to win a championship, everyone is telling you how great you are. The tendency is for guys to just think they can pick up where they left off, and every year is a different year."
From a football standpoint, Canty said that he expects to rotate between defensive tackle and defensive end. The 6-foot-7, 317-pound lineman can play either position. He has the size to stuff the run up the middle, and also the athleticism toget after the quarterback around the edge. Canty has 8.5 sacks over the last three seasons.
"I definitely see myself being an impact player on that defensive front, in a rotation including some very great players – Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw," he said.
"I'm a big athlete; I'm able to do a variety of things. I think I have a lot of tools in my tool bag, being in the NFL for eight years. I'm a master at my technique and that shows on film."
Canty was released by the Giants in February as part of a salary cap purge, and one of the concerns at the time was how he would hold up physically. A knee injury forced him to miss seven games last season, and some teams reportedly did not clear him medically as a free agent.
Canty, who has been relatively healthy throughout his career, insisted that injuries won't be a problem.
"I'm ready to play football," he said. "I went through the battery of tests with the doctors there in Baltimore yesterday and they gave me the clearance. I'm 100 percent ready to go, and I'm excited about getting started with the offseason."
Canty will likely compete with Cody at defensive tackle, and challenge defensive ends Arthur Jones and Pernell McPhee for playing time. When Redding was in Baltimore, he started at defensive end over Jones and McPhee.
Strengthening the interior of the defensive line is a priority for the Ravens heading into next season, and bringing in Canty was the first step in that process.
"I'm looking forward to getting in there with those guys and developing and establishing that rapport so we can go out on the field and dominate," Canty said.