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News & Notes: Jason Pierre-Paul Feels Ready to Make an Instant Impact

OLB Jason Pierre-Paul
OLB Jason Pierre-Paul

Jason Pierre-Paul arrived in Baltimore just a few days ago, but he feels ready to rock Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

Pierre-Paul practiced fully all three days this week as he tries to get up to speed. He had no doubt that he can immediate add juice to Baltimore's defense.

"Yes, I'll be ready this Sunday. I'll definitely be ready," Pierre-Paul said Friday.

"The first week of practice, it went well. I think I'm adjusting to the calls pretty well, getting the calls pretty well, getting my legs back under me. I'm playing catch-up, but I've been in this position before, so it's not going to hold me back."

Head Coach John Harbaugh said Pierre-Paul worked very hard this week to "learn the defense that he's going to need to know." Even if Pierre-Paul doesn't play the full complement of snaps out of the gate, the Ravens can find a role for such a talented player.

The Ravens could use immediate help at outside linebacker, especially with Justin Houston dealing with a groin injury that kept him out of practice all week. Odafe Oweh and Malik Harrison are the only other healthy outside linebackers on the 53-man roster, and Brandon Copeland and others could be called up from the practice squad.

Pierre-Paul said he and the Ravens had mutual interest in each other all offseason and it was just "basically the business part of it being taken care of, and they took care of that, and I took care of the other part."

"They really gave me an opportunity to play some great football here, so that's what I'm going to do," Pierre-Paul said. "And they believe in me, so that's what really made the decision."

Pierre-Paul went to the Pro Bowl in 2020 after registering 9.5 sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has 91.5 sacks over his 12-year career. Last season was a tough year for him, however, as he played through multiple injuries and registered just 2.5 sacks.

"At the end of last year, I had a supraspinatus, a rotator cuff tear, bicep tendon tear – all that. So, I basically got a whole new shoulder," Pierre-Paul said.

"Now, I'm back. I feel way, totally, way better. I was playing with only one shoulder last year; since Game 3, I was playing with one shoulder. So, imagine playing with one shoulder as a defensive end. I did what I can do for the team and holding my own, but not having two shoulders is a big thing; can't push, can't grab, can't snatch – but I can do all that now."

Pierre-Paul has won two Super Bowls over his career and teammates talked this week about how that veteran perspective will help them reach their goals this season. He said he can tell the Ravens "for sure" have a chance to win the Super Bowl this season.

"They practice hard – the way they get after the ball, the way they communicate with each other, I think you have a pretty good shot," Pierre-Paul said. "But it's hard work."

Asked if he's talked to his teammates about what it takes yet, Pierre-Paul said he's still new and getting to know guys first.

"My energy says it all, especially when it comes to gamedays," he said. "My energy is just going to take over, and you're going to see the reason why everybody loves me and likes to have me on their team. So, I'm pretty sure everybody knows that by now, but we'll see; it's only a matter of time, right?"

John Harbaugh 'Astonished' By Tua Tagovailoa Situation

The NFL world and beyond winced seeing the images of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa injured during Thursday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, just four days after looking woozy following another hit.

Tagovailoa was taken to the hospital on a stretcher Thursday night and later released. But many around the sports landscape are questioning the Dolphins for even allowing him to play on such short rest after his injury in Week 3, which the Dolphins claimed was related to his back, not head.

"I just, like probably most people, I couldn't believe what I saw last night; I couldn't believe what I saw last Sunday. It was just something that was astonishing to see," Harbaugh said Friday. "I've been coaching for 40 years now in college and the NFL – almost 40, not quite – and I've never seen anything like it before."

Harbaugh brought up how the Ravens handled Devin Duvernay's concussion in Week 2. Even though Duvernay didn't experience any side effects of a concussion, he didn't re-enter the game and didn't practice fully until Friday.

The Ravens have also been on the cautious side this year with their players returning from season-ending injuries. They held back players, such as running back J.K. Dobbins, even when they wanted to play earlier.

Harbaugh said he appreciates how the Ravens – from top to bottom and in conjunction with the team's medical staff – approach return from injuries.

"A lot of times, players want to play. They want to go out there and they want to play, and sometimes you just have to tell them, 'No.' You have to say, 'No.' No has to be the answer," Harbaugh said.

"I just appreciate our docs, I think they would probably call themselves conservative, but that's what they should be. The other part of it, that last night, was not something you want to see."

Ravens Send Condolences After Gavin Escobar's Death

Another shocking story from Thursday was the death of former tight end Gavin Escobar in a tragic rock climbing accident in California.

Escobar, 31, played in two games for the Ravens in 2017. They were the final regular-season games he played in during his career. Escobar spent most of his career (2013-2016) with the Dallas Cowboys.

Harbaugh began his Friday press conference by offering his condolences.

"A great guy; we really enjoyed him here in 2017," Harbaugh said. "Just for his family, for his kids, for his wife, just want them to know that the Ravens are thinking about them, and they are in our prayers."

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