DE Chris Canty Impressed With Young Linemen, Still Expects To Start


The Ravens defensive front has a different look this year.

After a decade of Haloti Ngata anchoring the line, now Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan have taken over work in the middle. Young linemen Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore are on the field looking for their first chance to play after serious injuries.

All but one of the 13 defensive linemen are 26 or younger.

Chris Canty, 32, is the "old head" of the group, and the veteran likes what he sees.

"They're really taking the next step," Canty said. "I'm excited about all the young guys who are on defensive line. It's a tremendous collection of talent, a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things."

Canty is entering his third season with the Ravens and 11th in the NFL. He's a proven defender with a long pedigree as a starter, and even with the emergence of young talent, Canty still expects to find himself in the starting lineup. 

"I've been a starter in this league for a decade. I don't really see that changing," he said at last week's minicamp. "That's being consistent, playing that position on the defensive front. That's what I foresee."

The 6-foot-7, 317-pound defender has been a quality player during his two seasons with Ravens. He's racked up 63 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles during that stretch. His 2014 season was shortened by five games because of a staph infection in his wrist, but he was still productive when healthy.

The Ravens actually cut Canty in February to save salary cap space, and then brought him back a few weeks later on a two-year deal. Canty also considered retirement after the season, but decided he wasn't ready to hang up his cleats just yet.

"It was an opportunity just to take a step back from the game. You're beat up during the season and during the postseason, so you don't want those thoughts to kind of enter into your mindset as far as decision-making for your future," he said.

"My heart was telling me that I still wanted to play football, and importantly, my body said that I could still play football. Once I came to that realization, it was an easy decision."

Part of the reason the Ravens re-signed Canty was because he's a leader and a respected voice in the locker room. He has a history of success – he won a Super Bowl with the Giants in 2011 – and he's never been on a losing team during his 10 years in the NFL.

Canty came to Baltimore with the expectation of continuing that success, and he has high hopes for what this group can do in 2015.

"This team has been close in the past in terms of competing for a championship, and so I definitely feel like we're in position to be able to put in that kind of work and give ourselves an opportunity," Canty said. "I think that if this team continues to work the way we've been working, continues to figure things out and put it together, we'll have an opportunity to do that."

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