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Odell Beckham Jr. Expects to Play vs. Steelers, Was Being 'Preventative'

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) said he expects to play Sunday against the Steelers after missing the past two games. The veteran wide receiver was injured Week 2 against the Bengals, but returned to practice on Wednesday.

"Yes, I expect to be out there," Beckham said. "We'll see what we have going on in the gameplan."

"I feel good, just feel good to be back out there. It's tough when you work so hard, and little things happen … but I'm just focused on the present and happy to be back out there."

Beckham said he and the Ravens were being precautious the past couple weeks, and that his time on the sideline was "more preventative."

"It's a long season, and we have a great setup for the back half of the season," Beckham said. "[I] want to be able to play in those big-time games. You just have to do the smart thing and know that the team that we have here is still going to find a way to get it done with or without me. … That's just the mentality that we all have here, and I think that's one of the strongest qualities and best things about this team."

Beckham was eager to get his first taste of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry.

"I know the history between the two, so I don't imagine it being any different than when I was in Cleveland," Beckham said. "This whole division is a tough group for these four teams to go against each other."

The Ravens have dealt with multiple injuries this season, and Beckham (five catches for 65 yards) has not had the kind of start he envisioned. Yet, he's encouraged that the Ravens are 3-1, and feels that offense has plenty of room to reach another level.

"I think that's the best thing about this team. We're just a good team, a very good team," Beckham said. "I know we haven't played our best game, but we're still finding ways to win. I take that as a positive. We see the flashes, but we know we're not hitting on everything the way we could be hitting on. We're not there at the ceiling and it's only Week 4. Just keep finding ways to progress and get better. That's one of the best qualities about this team."

John Harbaugh Discusses Torch Being Passed From Ray Lewis to Roquan Smith

Head Coach John Harbaugh coached first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, and now Harbaugh is coaching another inside linebacker who's on a Hall of Fame trajectory in Roquan Smith. Harbaugh sees similarities between the two.

"They're both great linebackers," Harbaugh said. "Ray Lewis, and now the next generation is Roquan Smith. I do see a lot of similarities. They both play for the Ravens, that's a really big one that I'm really appreciative of. I think the leadership, the ability to make everybody around them better, style of play.

"But they're their own individual player. No two players ever are, and that's what's really important as a coach to understand. You're not searching for the same player. No two players, no two human beings are ever alike. But you do look for the same qualities. Ro certainly has the qualities in that world, but he's got a lot of football in front of him and will have an opportunity to write the own book on his career."

Smith considers it high praise to be mentioned with Lewis in great linebacker lineage, but Smith is building his legacy his way, and leading the defense with his own style.

"Just being mentioned in the same sentence as Ray Lewis, it's humbling for sure," Smith said. "Ray did his thing for many years, considered the greatest to ever play the position in many eyes. I'll always have a great deal of respect for him.

"I think the best person to be is yourself. I never try to change regardless of the situation. I think guys respect that, even from afar, as well as guys who are close to me. I never switch up."

Smith, Harbaugh Share Fond Memories of Dick Butkus

Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus passed away Thursday at the age of 80. He was a legendary NFL figure who spent his entire career with the Chicago Bears, known for his intimidating play at middle linebacker. Harbaugh has fond childhood memories of watching Butkus play linebacker with a fury that was unique.

"You say Dick Butkus, that was the same as saying linebacker," Harbaugh said. "There was Ray Nitschke right in there, Chuck Bednarik. That was an era that we grew up looking at black and white NFL films about. Rest in peace Dick Butkus. Without Dick Butkus, the league would not be what it is today. We should all be very grateful, those of us who love football."

Smith was drafted by the Bears and got to know Butkus during his time in Chicago.

."Definitely a lot of respect for the legendary life he's lived and the way he played the game," Smith said. "I had many encounters with him, as well as his son Matt, whether that's going to dinners or sharing a drink or something like thatDefinitely playing for the family.

Timetable on J.K. Dobbins Too Early to Pinpoint

Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers said this week that he had been rehabbing with Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins as they recover from injuring their Achilles tendon in Week 1. Rodgers is pushing the envelope in his recovery, still hoping to return this season.

Harbaugh was asked if he felt Dobbins could somehow return this season, a task that could become even more difficult for a running back than a quarterback.

"I don't know. That's something that's between J.K. and the trainers and the doctors, I'm sure," Harbaugh said. ? "That's not something that I've been focusing on at this time. It's kind of more week to week for us in terms of the challenge at hand. If he can get back, that'd be awesome, I'd be all for it. But I really don't know the answer to that."

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