Long before he signed with the Ravens, Derek Wolfe felt a connection with them.
The newest addition to the defensive line admired the Ravens organization from afar during his eight years in Denver. In fact, Wolfe came close to requesting a trade last year, with the Broncos struggling and Wolfe in the final year of his contract.
"I actually thought about trying to get traded to the Ravens," Wolfe said on "The Lounge" podcast. "I was going to make that move. I just decided, you know what, that's not my personality to do something like that. I like to be loyal to whoever I'm with."
Once Wolfe became a free agent this offseason, Baltimore became a desired destination. He thought he was going to Baltimore in the 2012 Draft, but eight years later it has finally happened.
"All the way back to 2012, I thought the Ravens were going to draft me," Wolfe said. "They were making a big push it seems. Everything the Ravens stand for is what I'm about. They play hard, tough defense. Especially now with the offense that they have, obviously that's a huge selling point for any free agent to want to come there. Everybody I've ever talked to that's played for that organization has told me how great it is and how much of a family environment it is. I'm really looking forward to it."
Wolfe was disappointed last month when it was reported that the Ravens had agreed to a deal with Los Angeles Rams defensive end Michael Brockers. Wolfe figured his window to the Ravens had closed, and he began looking for other options. It was reported that the Houston Texans were also interested in his services.
"I was like, 'Alright Tampa (Bay), let's go down there with Tom Brady.' Wait, they got to play Drew Brees twice a year. I don't know," Wolfe said with a laugh.
When the Ravens-Brockers deal didn't materialize, Wolfe was elated to fill the void. He had a career-high seven sacks in just 12 games last season, and at age 30, Wolfe believes his best football is still ahead.
"If there was any team I wanted to be with, it was the Ravens," Wolfe said. "To me, it wasn't about the money. It was about the team. They gave me their best offer and I said, 'Yeah, let's do it. I'll come in there on a one-year deal, and I'll show you guys that I'm worth extending for a couple of more years.' I got a lot of football left in me."
Wolfe envisions a Ravens defense that will be tough to run or throw against. He's looking forward to joining a unit that has an elite secondary with Pro Bowl corners Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, joined by Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith. Wolfe believes he could have a double-digit sack season, but after winning Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos, his main goal is to win a championship with the Ravens.
"I think we've got a great secondary," Wolfe said. "You get up by 21 points, you got a great secondary, the quarterback has to hold it, we're going to be able to eat on these guys. It's gonna be feasting time.
"Every defensive line I ever played on, my goal was to be the No. 1 run defense. If they know they can't run the ball, they're going to have to throw it. That's when I start foaming at the mouth, because then we can really get after it."