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For Marlon Humphrey, Ravens Extension Is All About Family


When Marlon Humphrey first started talking to media members about the five-year contract extension he inked Thursday morning, he played it chill. He said it was "cool."

It wasn't until Humphrey spoke about the guidance of his father, former NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, that his emotions overcame him. Humphrey couldn't get through a sentence about his father without dropping his head and wiping his eyes.

Beyond being one of the NFL's most talented cornerbacks, it's obviously clear that family means everything to Humphrey – both personally and professionally.

"My dad has kept me in line," Humphrey said. "Since I was young, I told my dad that I wanted to play in the NFL, and he never let me slip."

Bobby Humphrey played five seasons with the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins. Like his father, Marlon played his college ball at Alabama. Like his father, he was a first-round pick. Like his father, he became a Pro Bowler. Like his father, he wears No. 44 on his jersey.

But unlike his father, Marlon has now become a multi-millionaire. Reports of Humphrey's $98.75 million contract ($19.75 million average) would make him the NFL's second-highest paid cornerback, only trailing the Jacksonville Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey ($20 million).

The deal came together rather quickly. Humphrey said there was talk Tuesday, the day after the Ravens' loss to the Chiefs, and discussions intensified Wednesday.

"I said some subtle jokes [about money] to some guys yesterday and they thought I was kidding," Humphrey said.

Of course, a big payday was something he wanted and deserved, but Humphrey said the contract figures, or becoming one of the NFL's highest-paid cornerbacks, wasn't his top priority. He wanted to remain part of his Baltimore family too.

Humphrey's new deal puts him under contract through the 2026 season. The Ravens have a lot of tough decisions still to come as they try to retain a cluster of young Pro Bowlers, but they made it clear that Humphrey is everything they want for the long-haul.

"The biggest thing for me was just staying a Raven," Humphrey said, adding that even as a rookie he would joke with wide receiver Chris Moore about being a Raven for life. "It's a very good feeling to actually be one."

The Ravens have invested heavily in their secondary in recent years. Last season, they inked Marcus Peters to a three-year extension, and now they've locked up arguably the NFL's best cornerback duo for years to come.

"Marlon is the type of player we want in Baltimore," General Manager Eric DeCosta stated. "Besides his obvious talents as a playmaking corner, he's a passionate competitor who craves winning. Marlon has been a stalwart in our community, and we are excited that he's going to remain with us for seven seasons."

Humphrey was a super athletic and talented cornerback when he arrived in Baltimore as the 16th-overall pick in 2017. The Ravens tried to trade up to get fellow cornerback Marshon Lattimore that year, but the Saints turned down their offer. Sometimes everything works out for all parties involved.

Humphrey checks every box for an elite cornerback. He has allowed the third-lowest completion percentage among defensive backs since he entered the league. He's a physical hitter who crashes the line of scrimmage and has the versatility to play inside. He's become a premier playmaker.

Since 2017, Humphrey is one of two NFL defenders (along with Lattimore) to produce at least 40 passes defensed, eight interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. This season, he's already notched an interception and forced fumble that were game-changing plays.

"He's one of those players that he can play in any era," Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said. "How important [this deal is] I can't express because of the type of person that he is and the player for what he does for us."

Humphrey thanked many people in his life that helped him along the way, going all the way back to high school coaches.

Part of what makes Humphrey so unique is his physicality. He said he grew up watching Deion Sanders and Richard Sherman and seeing how even the best cornerbacks had passes caught on them. His mindset was that if a pass was caught by his wide receiver, he was going to try to knock it loose afterward.

"It also didn't help that my high school coach told me I was a track guy, which basically meant you weren't trying to hit anybody," Humphrey said. "It was a joke, but I didn't like that. I would be lying if I didn't say it affected me."

Another one of his high school coaches told him that if he continued to use his abilities and stayed out of trouble, "in a few years, you can hit the lottery."

But the ultimate supporter was Humphrey's father, who was part of the process in hammering out the deal.

"My dad has been so much more than a father," Humphrey said. "He coached me as a kid. He's actually been my everything for me, along with my mom. I really thank him a lot for what he's done."

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