It hasn’t taken long for L.J. Fort to prove his value to the Ravens defense.
The veteran inside linebacker signed a two-year contract extension Friday. Since being acquired as a free agent on Sept. 30, Fort has become a regular part of the linebacker rotation with Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes, while also contributing on special teams.
Fort says he loves the atmosphere since joining the Ravens.
“How authentic it is, everything’s real,” Fort said. “The coaches are authentic about everything. You don’t have to wonder what’s going on, what people are thinking. The coaches believing in you, when that happens you reach your potential. I think that’s what’s happening.”
Fort seamlessly stepped into the starting lineup after Onwuasor injured his ankle in Week 4 and has contributed 14 tackles and a sack in four games. Fort’s role also became bigger when the Ravens traded second-year linebacker Kenny Young to the Los Angeles Rams.
“We’re excited to have him going forward,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s played well in everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s been out there a lot on defense, different packages, special teams as well. He’s proven o be a good player, good fit for us.”
Young was under contract through 2021, and now Fort will be in Baltimore for at least the same time. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Fort signed a $5.5 million deal with $3.25 million guaranteed.
Fort signed a three-year, $5.5 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in March, but was released after four games when the Eagles had to make moves to sure up their banged-up secondary.
The Ravens signed Fort after their loss to the Cleveland Browns, in which they gave up more than 500 yards for the second consecutive game and were gashed on the ground. The play of Bynes and Fort, who were both signed after Week 4, helped solidify the run defense and the Ravens (6-2) are currently riding a four-game winning streak.
Bynes and Fort have given the Ravens added steadiness at inside linebacker after Young was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in the deal that brought cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens.
The 29-year-old Fort has played for five different teams, starting his career in 2012 as an undrafted free agent with the Browns. He has also been with the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers and Eagles.