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Marlon Humphrey Has Mastered the 'Fruit Punch'


It didn't take long for Marlon Humphrey to, once again, prove his worth.

Last week, the Ravens made Humphrey the second-highest paid cornerback in the NFL, in part because he continues to make game-changing plays a regular occurrence.

In the first quarter of Sunday's 31-17 win over Washington, Humphrey ripped the ball out of running back J.D. McKissic's hands and the Ravens recovered. Baltimore took a 7-0 lead on the ensuring drive and never trailed after.

"We were not playing great at the beginning," Humphrey said. "I was able to get a turnover early on there and was able to catch us a little momentum. So, it was really good to get a big play in that first quarter."

Humphrey now has two forced fumbles this season and both jumpstarted the scoring. His first was in Houston when he punched the ball away from Keke Coutee and linebacker L.J. Fort scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown.

Humphrey's forced fumbles go back to last year as well. His punchout on Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster essentially won the game in overtime. Humphrey also had three fumble recoveries and two returned for touchdowns last season. Add in eight career interceptions, including one so far this season, and it shows how interception master Marcus Peters isn't the Ravens' only playmaking cornerback.

Humphrey is already a fantastic cover corner. Since 2018, he has the highest Pro Football Focus grade in single coverage of any cornerback in the league. But it's his ability to make plays that's part of what sets him apart. The Rams' Jalen Ramsey is the only cornerback paid more than Humphrey. Over the past two seasons, Ramsey has one interception and two forced fumbles.

Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said last week that there's some "natural ability" that makes a player good at forcing fumbles, but most of the knack comes from want-to.

"Not necessarily ability – desire just to get the ball off of a guy," Martindale said. "He has perfect timing when he usually does it."

Last week, Humphrey said he has always been bothered by a high school football coach who called him a "track guy," which was code for a player that didn't like to tackle. That stuck with Humphrey and he takes it out on receivers.

"Anytime I'm around the ball, I just try something, whether it's a tackle – whatever it is – an interception. However way we can get a turnover, it's big for the team," Humphrey said. "The biggest thing that you can have on defense is a defense that creates turnovers, whether it's an interception or a forced fumble or sack."

Humphrey used to have the Twitter handle @FruitPunch, but he had to change it to @marlon_humphrey to get verified (the blue check). Now he's considering switching back.

"It wasn't because I was punching the ball out, but it kind of started turning towards that – seemed like it," Humphrey said with a chuckle. "So, maybe I have to talk to Twitter, figure out some things, and maybe it can be 'The Fruit Punch' or … I looked at my family group message, and my dad was kind of trying to take the credit for that being a thing. So, maybe it can be 'The Fruit Punch,' 'Punch-out' – whatever."

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