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Marshal Yanda Going Into Ring of Honor. Is Hall of Fame Next?

Guard Marshal Yanda (December 8, 2013)
Guard Marshal Yanda (December 8, 2013)

Ozzie Newsome said if he had a billboard in Baltimore featuring those who "played like a Raven" Marshal Yanda would be one of the first guys he'd put on there.

Well, Yanda will get basically the equivalent at M&T Bank Stadium, as he'll be inducted into the Ravens' Ring of Honor in the "very near future," General Manager Eric DeCosta announced Wednesday.

Yanda played his entire 13-year career with the Ravens, won one Super Bowl, and went to eight Pro Bowls. He embodied and embraced Baltimore.

"We can't think of a better recipient to be in our Ring of Honor," DeCosta said.

Former Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will be inducted into the Ring of Honor this upcoming season, so it's possible that Yanda could follow him in 2021.

Is a spot in Canton coming after that?

Yanda will be eligible in five years and could be the fourth Ravens player to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, following Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

Yanda's resume is certainly deserving. He was perhaps the best guard of his generation and finished his career still on top of the game after 13 seasons. In addition to the eight Pro Bowls and Super Bowl, he was also a seven-time All-Pro. He sweetened his resume this year, being the lead blocker for the best rushing attack in NFL history.

Those in Baltimore don't need the stats. They know the kind of player Yanda was.

"He was tough, competitive, smart and had a unique respect for the game, as well as his teammates," Newsome said. "I know sometime in the future, as I've been told, you'll be getting your mail in Canton."

"As a coach, you could never ask for anything beyond what Marshal did and gave," Head Coach John Harbaugh added. "He embraced every bit of his career, made the most of it, and is, in my opinion, a first-ballot Hall of Famer."

While Yanda is certainly deserving, it's tough for guards to get into the Hall – at least right away.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca retired after the 2010 season following a 13-year career. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler, eight-time All-Pro and Super Bowl XL champion. He still has not gotten into the Hall of Fame.

Former Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields played for 14 seasons, was a 12-time Pro Bowler and seven-time All-Pro. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015 – nine years after retiring.

Yanda said coming from where he did as a former junior college player and third-round pick who wasn't sure he would make it in the NFL, he's grateful for all the acclaim he's received already.

"I don't like talking about myself and the accolades. I'm a humble guy," Yanda said. "[Going into the Hall] would be awesome, but there's no pressure, there's no expectations of any of that."

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