Matthew Judon stood at his postgame locker Thursday night with a money clip hanging from his neck, taking donations from his teammates for his 27th birthday.
Good friend and fellow linebacker Patrick “Peanut” Onwuasor gave him $2. Judon joked that reporters’ questions would cost $5 (and he got nothing).
His big birthday wish though? A contract extension.
Asked what’s in store for his next year on Earth, Judon said, “Hopefully a contract extension with the Ravens, but we’re going to see.”
“We have a lot of stuff to prove out there, and hopefully I’m a part of this organization, this defense, for a long time to come.”
Judon has already proven a lot in the NFL, registering 19 sacks in his first three seasons, but he knows there’s more weight on his shoulders after the departure of Terrell Suggs – a man Judon learned a lot from and is kind of like.
Judon sent a reminder of how good he can be Thursday night. He was all over the field in his limited action, registering a sack when he tracked down quarterback DeShone Kizer trying to flee the pocket, and tackle for loss when he came flying from the opposite side of the field.
“Kudos to those guys rushing in, putting pressure on him. I just chased him down with my speed,” Judon said.
“You don’t expect a shutout every week. [But] we expect to go out there and dominate any time we step on the field.”
Judon has eschewed most questions this offseason about getting a contract extension, but it’s clearly on his mind. First-year Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta said earlier this offseason that locking up good, young players early would be a priority.
Still, both sides would have to come to a price that they feel comfortable with if they want to move forward together. Earlier in training camp, Judon said “that’s all know-your-worth stuff.”
“But I’ll say this, I’m never one to not bet on myself,” Judon said. “I got this far. Now we’re going to see how far it takes me. If we want to do something great, you’ve got to go be great.
“I feel like the first three years, I wasn’t really leaned on like I will be this season. Now I’m accountable for the pass rush. Now we’re going to see what we got. We’re going to see if I’m a leader of men, if I’m a certain caliber. This is what I want.”