Jarret Johnson To Retire A Raven Wednesday


There's no set-in-stone definition of what it means to "Play Like A Raven" – a mantra echoed for years in Baltimore. 

To explain it, one might be best off simply pointing to outside linebacker Jarret* *Johnson. Watch the tape and talk to his teammates. That guy played like a Raven.

Thus, on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., Johnson will sign a one-day contract at the Under Armour Performance Center to officially retire as a Raven.

Johnson was a fourth-round draft pick of the Ravens in 2003. He played in Baltimore for nine seasons before signing with the San Diego Chargers before the 2012 season. Johnson spent three years in San Diego.

But as was the case with safety Ed Reed, who retired as a Raven last week, Johnson has always been a Raven. And that's why he'll officially retire as one.

Johnson recorded 350 tackles, 25.5 sacks, three interceptions, one touchdown and 11 forced fumbles during his 12-year career. The Ravens never finished outside the top 10 in total defense during Johnson's time in Baltimore.

But the stats weren't what defined him. It was the way Johnson played the game.

He was tough. Johnson played in 129 consecutive games, becoming Baltimore's football Iron Man and franchise leader. Punter Sam Koch surpassed Johnson's mark last season, but it's certainly a more difficult feat for an outside linebacker to accomplish than a punter who rarely gets hit.

Johnson played through numerous injuries. Of his 129 consecutive games played, 80 were starts. He never missed a start from 2007 through 2011.

Ravens reporters often played a game at training camp each year. If they were going to take one player in a fight with them, who would it be? Johnson was a popular answer.

He was physical and relentless. Johnson's de-cleating hit on Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward during the 2011 regular-season opener may have been his best hit, but there are many, many more.

While Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Reed go the Pro Bowls, Johnson did a lot of the dirty work for the Ravens defense. He took on countless blockers, pushing runners inside for others to make the tackle.

Johnson was flexible. He first came to the Ravens as a 284-pound defensive tackle from the University of Alabama. In order to get playing time, he slimmed down to become an outside linebacker. That's an almost unheard of position switch.

Johnson was smart. In many instances, he was the one making checks on the line of scrimmage and reacting to what the opponent was doing. He was often the communicator of the Ravens defense.

Johnson was loyal. Even after going to the Chargers, Johnson still kept in contact with his former Ravens teammates. After the Ravens beat the Chargers on miracle Ray Rice's fourth-and-29 "Hey Diddle Diddle" play in 2012, Johnson came to the Ravens locker room to congratulate his friends.

The only disappointing part of Johnson's Ravens career was that he never got the ring he deserved. He arrived three seasons after Baltimore won its first Super Bowl and left the year before the second.

Still, Johnson will always be a part of Ravens lore. That will be cemented Wednesday.

The former Ravens linebacker retired after 12 NFL seasons, including nine in Baltimore.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content