Shareece Wright has been cheering on the Ravens for years.
The fifth-year cornerback spent the first four years of his career with the San Diego Chargers, but he always kept a close eye on how his childhood best friend Jimmy Smith was doing over on the East Coast.
Wright rooted for the Ravens whenever he wasn't facing them. He even went to Super Bowl XLVII and celebrated the victory as Smith's guest at the team's official after-party.
"I got a chance to experience that with this organization – not really being on the team – but it's a great organization," Wright said at the end of his first year in Baltimore.
Wright is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but he hopes his 11 games with the Ravens was just an appetizer. If he and Smith have their way, the two of them will be patrolling Baltimore's secondary again next season.
"It's something that we talk about. It's something that we look forward to it possibly happening," Wright said. "I came here with those intentions of possibly coming back here."
Wright signed with the Ravens in Week 6 after getting cut by the 49ers the previous week. The California native made the cross-country move after spending his entire life up to that point on that the West Coast.
He made the move at Smith’s urging, with the expectation that Baltimore could be a long-term stop for the Colton High School alums.
"Hopefully we can keep him around," Smith said. "He has done a lot for us, and he has the left corner spot right now. [It is] kind of reminiscent of [our] high school days when we used to go down, shut it down in high school."
Wright emerged as a starter in the second half of the season and the secondary improved during that stretch. After a rough debut against the 49ers in Week 6 where he gave up 132 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, Wright found his footing. He allowed just 124 passing yards and one touchdown in the next 10 games, according to Pro Football Focus.
Inserting Wright into the starting lineup allowed cornerback Lardarius Webb to move to safety, which is where the Ravens plan to keep him long-term. Wright's improvement over the course of the year was a key piece in the overall turnaround by the secondary.
The Ravens gave up 283.9 yards per game in the first eight contests of the season, but the unit shrunk that to 182.6 passing yards in the final eight games. They had the best pass defense and second-best defense in total yards during the second half of the year.
"The secondary is trending up," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said at the season-review press conference.
The Ravens have said they would like to add a cornerback through the draft or free agency this offseason, but that would not prevent them from bringing back Wright as well. The only certainty going into next season is that Smith will be in the starting lineup. Newsome has said many times he can never have enough corners.
Wright plans to spend the offseason training alongside Smith, and the strong finish to this season has them hopeful about what the secondary could look like next year.
"Working out this offseason, we're trying to be the best corners in the league next year as far as covering guys and playing one-on-one matchups," Wright said. "Being those lockdown corners, we definitely want to be that. We're close."