The passing of Jaylon Ferguson on June 21 was a shock to his teammates, the sudden loss of someone they cared for deeply.
As veterans reported to training camp Tuesday, it was the first time the team had been together since Ferguson's passing. Several players talked about coping with their grief, and the difficulty of losing a friend who was only 26 years old.
"That's something that has been hard," defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. "It's been hard for all of us. After minicamp when it happened, we had a call and everyone got to say something if they wanted to. It was just a prayer and all of that good stuff. But, it really is just one of those things where you couldn't believe it when it happened. It was just like, 'Wow.' You forget that things can happen, and quick."
One of Ferguson's closest friends was inside linebacker Patrick Queen. Ferguson was the last person Queen saw when he was leaving mandatory minicamp, and he never imagined that would be the last time. It's a reality Queen is still trying to process.
"It's tough," Queen said. "That was my guy. He grew up 25 minutes away from me. So, I definitely miss him, it definitely hits hard, but we're just going to go out there and do it for him this year. [We're] still sending prayers to him and his family and just keeping them in our prayers."
Queen said he was too heartbroken and processing the loss to speak during the team conference call following Ferguson's passing.
"My coach called me at like 7 a.m., just to let me know, and I was just sitting there shocked and broke out crying, really, and then I still couldn't grasp it," Queen said. "It took me, probably, a good, two, three days just to calm down and be able to accept it. But it's still tough."
When veteran players reported to camp Tuesday, it was another reminder that Ferguson would not join them on this season's journey. Campbell said the team is discussing ways to honor Ferguson, but they will cherish the memories he left.
"You miss him every day," Campbell said. "Coming in for the first day and knowing that he would be here normally if he didn't pass away.
"Guys talked about him today, there was a lot of conversations where it was like, 'Man.' You definitely have that sense that you lost a really good friend, a person that you cared about. It's definitely still hard, but I think that it's something that we have to manage as a team. I know that a bunch of guys want to do something for him this year, and for his family to show our appreciation for his friendship and to try to help his family out. I don't know what everyone is going to do, but there are definitely some conversations going on to figure out what we can do moving forward.
"Probably the biggest thing is just trying to make sure that we keep his family as a part of [our] family, and trying to make sure that we do something to just show our love and appreciation for who he was and what he represented. He was a great Raven. But, it's going to be something that's hard to deal with all year."