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Ravens End of Season Transcripts (1/16)


On how tough a day like this is:"It's tough. You have to remember all of the things that this team has went through; all the ups, all the downs and all the growth that we've had. I think for us, just being able to build off that, not forgetting, remembering and growing as a team, as players, as people and coming back stronger."

On what he takes away from this season:"Like I said, just continuing to fight. Things didn't always go our way; there were a lot of things that went wrong – when a lot of times they don't go wrong – that went wrong. So, just continuing to fight, and grow. Like I said, we'll be back, and we'll be stronger."

On coming close to tackling Bengals DE Sam Hubbard on his fumble return touchdown and if he thought he had a shot to stop him:"I was just playing, trying to fight. I knew that obviously he had kind of a free go at it. So, I got close, and I knew if I was able to get him down, our defense was playing well and holding them to three at the very least would've been big for us. We were in field goal range a few times after that, so I wish I would have gotten him."

On overcoming the adversity of injuries this season and what he learned about himself:"Just staying mentally strong, being strong-minded and continuing to push and work and all those different things. I think it was a good testament to that, yes."

On if he has a hope to how QB Lamar Jackson's contract situation will play out:"Yes, I hope that he's going to be back. That's my guy. I have nothing but love and respect for 'No. 8' [Lamar Jackson] as a person, as a player and as a friend. So, yes, I love the guy, so I hope he's back."

On what he wants to see from this offense next year:"I just think right now it's so fresh, and I think you look at the way you played last night, and I think we played really good offense and we moved the ball well. Again, things didn't go our way, so [it's] still really fresh right now. Obviously, that's something that we're going to be thinking about and growing [from]. Like I said, we're going to come back stronger, and that's what we're going to be focused on."

On what was said in the team meeting today:"Just hold you heads high, man. Hold you heads high, be proud. There's a lot of love in this locker room, and with this team, and these coaches and this fanbase. We want to represent this organization, this city the best that we can, and we're sad that we weren't able to do that, but we'll be back."


On the vibe of the team meeting today as the team says goodbye:"It's to be as expected. A lot of disappointed faces in there. We felt like this team had what it took to go out there and make a run for it. We played some good football, we just didn't get it done, but there was a lot of appreciation, a lot of just love shared. The way these years go, you dedicate a lot, sacrifice, and put a lot of time and effort into giving it your best shot. Only one team gets to go home happy. That's just the nature of the business, and we don't get to be that team this year. I think there's some encouragement for the core of the team that gets to come back next year. The core of the team is in a really good spot to do some really great things going forward, but still, it's just tough because you feel like – especially when you watch the tape – it's like, 'Man, how did we lose that game.' We just didn't get it done."

On if he's decided what he is going to do personally in his career next year:"I don't think it would be wise to decide so quickly. I think you have to go through a process. So, I'm going to give myself a few weeks to kind of go through that process and decide after that. This is definitely … It's going to be hard to walk away, that's for sure. So, we'll see. I'll talk to the front office and talk to the coaches and I'll think. There's a chance I could be back here again next year; I just have to go through that process."

On if he was pleased personally with the season he had:"There were some plays I left out there – that's for sure – but I've felt that way every year. I don't think there's ever a year where you leave no plays out there. So, that's just football. I feel like I was still able to affect the ballgames, and that's important. I don't want to be a guy out here that's not affecting the ballgames, just being a guy. So, that matters to me to decide if I'm going to continue playing or not because I want to make sure that I'm going to be confident that I can go out there and be a difference maker and not just being a guy. I think that wouldn't do justice to my career and my legacy if I go out there and become less than what I've been. So, that's something I have to weigh, but this year, I think I was on par to the standard of excellence that I hold myself to."

On if he hopes that QB Lamar Jackson will be back on this team:"Yes, yes. You can't let a guy like him go. I know it's football and there's always some new exciting toy, a new exciting kid that has potential to go out there and be great, but this is a for sure, a known. You know Lamar Jackson is an incredible player. I think it's in the best interest of the Ravens organization to give him a long-term contract and make him our guy. I know the front office is feeling the same thing. They're smart guys. They've built teams that are always competing for a reason, so I'm sure it's going to get done, but you never know. You have to take it one day at a time. Lamar Jackson is a star; he deserves to be paid like it and deserves the opportunity to lead his teams to hopefully multiple championships. As long as he's on the field, you know your team has a chance."

On if QB Lamar Jackson's standing in the locker room is as it's always been or if anyone was frustrated that he didn't play through his injury:"I think that's a lot of outside noise. We're here. We get to talk to him; we get to communicate with him and stuff. You can see him rehab; I was rehabbing with him. I know he put the work in, [he] just didn't get back in time. Those injuries, I know how it goes. I've been injured plenty of time before. Some stuff you can play with, some stuff you can't; it just depends on what it is. So, it wasn't for lack of effort, that's for sure. The outside world, all the different narratives and stuff of people saying their minds, sometimes it's humorous, but Lamar Jackson's the guy. He loves the game of football. I truly believe he worked as hard as he could to give himself a chance to play. As he gets older and wiser, he'll learn how to take care of his body in different ways. He'll have to learn that process of prehab so you don't have to do rehab, but that's something that comes from time. When I was 26, I didn't know then what I know now, so there's plenty of time for him to learn and grow. We have good veterans who give him a lot of information and knowledge, and a great staff that believes in him and gives him a lot of help as well. So, it's just one of those things where you wish he was out there with us, wish he could have helped us win the ballgame, but we were very confident in Tyler Huntley and we were confident in our gameplan. You guys watched it – we really were in the ballgame [and] had a chance to win when it mattered. So, we feel like we let one slip away. We win that ballgame, I think there was a good chance we make a run, but no should'ves, could'ves or would'ves. It just is what it is."

On if he was surprised to see former players voicing skepticism on QB Lamar Jackson's injuries:"Yes … I feel like it's an interesting storyline, so everybody had something to say. I think if you really think about it from a true, analytical mindset, the majority of guys who played this game would do the same. You're going to make sure you're healthy; you're not going to put yourself at risk. So, when people say something, I think it's just because they have a mic in their hand and sometimes it's easy to say things. Anybody who played this game, they should know how hard it is to go out there and compete. You never want to go out there less than ... If you can't protect yourself, then it's pointless to be out there. If you can't go out there and go full speed, it's pointless to be out there. I've played through plenty of injuries, but the first thing I do when I'm going through an injury is making sure that I can't hurt myself more, I can't cause more damage. Once I get to that point, then we can figure, 'OK, can I play through that and can I manage the pain?' So, it's all talk, but we're good."

On if part of his process on deciding to return will include seeing how the quarterback situation shakes out here in Baltimore:"I want to be a part of a great team. It's not really part of my process though. I think that my process is going to be individual and just like how I feel when I have to go through and get prepared. This is not easy, coming out here and playing at a high level. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time and effort. So, it's just that whole process and figuring out if I want to do that again. That's going to really be the biggest thing, and just having that conversation with my family and my support team and we'll go from there. I do want to be a part of a winning [team]; I want to have a chance to win it all. That definitely is a big part of it. I think that Lamar [Jackson] gives this team the best chance to win it all, but the front office knows that, too. It's not like I'm saying anything news breaking or anything. He's a special talent."

On if he's thinking about career sack 100 after finishing the season at 99-career sacks:"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. I had plenty of opportunities to get it this year and didn't get it done. So, sometimes it's like, 'Well, man, it wasn't that important to you because you didn't get it done.' I had the guy in my arms a couple times, and just missed him. So, I guess it's not the top of the list, but it's something I really want. At the end of the day, what's meant to be will be. So, I definitely felt like I left some plays out there though this year, and that kind of hurt a little bit, but that's football."


On his emotions in the locker room following the game: "When you lose, you go and get sent home, it's not a good feeling. Just that, and then me [with] my uncertainty here in Baltimore, so that's definitely probably what you saw – emotions."

On if he considered the idea that last night might have been his last game as a Raven: "I don't know. Honestly, I don't know what's going to happen, so we'll figure out in talks the next couple of weeks and whatnot, but I don't know."

On if he has a sense of what he wants to happen with his future: "Yes, I know what I want to happen. It's not up to me, at the end of the day. I would like to control it, but we'll see."

On if he'd like to stay with the Ravens: "Oh, yes, definitely. This is the team that drafted me; I've been here [for] all my career; I'm comfortable here; I know the other guys, the locker room, the environment. I don't know. Sometimes, you've got to step out of your comfort zone. You never know what's going to happen."

On what he proved this year: "Honestly, I proved to myself that I know I'm still a baller – unshaken, unphased. At the end of the day, I've been balling."

On if there was frustration at the injury situation that forced QB Lamar Jackson to miss the end of the season: "From a selfish standpoint, I think that would run through your mind, but you've got to go with what's right, and if [Lamar Jackson] is not healthy, and you're seeing him, daily, walking around here, you can't force somebody to play."

On if the "what-ifs" about this season ever creep in: "Yes, you always think about 'what-ifs,' but if it would have happened, it would've happened."

On if it was obvious that QB Lamar Jackson wasn't himself, just from seeing him around the building: "Yes, you could tell that [Lamar Jackson] is not all the way there fully, so I didn't think he was going to go out there."

On what it was like to play this season with looming questions regarding his future as a Raven: "It was tough in the beginning, honestly. The people around here, they could tell you, I was frustrated. It was mentally challenging. I overcame it, and once I started balling, I got in my comfort zone – getting out there on the field and getting back to it. In the offseason, you're not out there playing football – you're just working out, training [and] can't wait for the season – but once the season rolled around, and I got back out there playing ball, it just all kind of went away. I was like, 'When the season ends, I guess, it will all handle itself,' so now here the end of the season is; we'll see what's going to happen."

On if he felt like the safety group performed well: "Yes, it was definitely good having a three-safety rotation. Watching film this season, watching other games, I saw a lot of teams going with that [and] playing three safeties out there now. So, we'll see how it goes with the rest of the league moving forward."

On how he plans to approach the uncertainty about his future this offseason: "I'm just open – trying to see what's going to happen, at the end of the day. I really don't know."

On if he was impressed by how the team bounced back this season, considering his "Watch How We Bounce Back" message at the end of last year: "Ultimately, my goal to say, 'Watch how we bounce back' is we're going to get to the Super Bowl and win it all, so I'm not happy with the fact that we didn't do that. But I think we definitely started to hit a point there defensively down at the end, and we just all really started bonding and gelling, and just everybody [was] balling out there together, and I think it just showed."

On if it's even more difficult to end the season losing a game that the team feels it should have won: "I think it's just difficult because we lost, and it's the end right here. So, that's why it's difficult."


On how tough a day like today is: "It's more bitter than sweet, but it's a little bittersweet. We get to appreciate all the times that we've had this season. It's been an up and down year, but I think for the most part, we grew together a lot. And, for the guys who are going to be here, I think we set a good foundation for the next year. There are a lot of question marks that still have to be answered, but at the same time, I think we know who we are and know what we're going to be in '23. So, it sucks we couldn't get it done last night, but in my situation, and [for] a lot of guys, we've got next year to prove ourselves."

On takeaways from his rookie season: "It's a long year. It's a long rookie year. You come in the draft process and don't really know who you're going to be with, but I think I came into the perfect situation. Staff, players, personnel – everybody has just been amazing to me this year, and I'm really thankful for the whole organization."

On how pleased he was with the way he was playing towards the end of the season: "I think it's just repetitions and just confidence and settling in. We're at the highest level in our profession and being a new guy – I'm basically the youngest guy on the team – it took a little while to just kind of settle in and remember who I am and what I can do out there. And I think once I figured that out, guys on the team, coaches, everybody just staying confident in me and instilling confidence in me on a weekly basis just helped me out a lot."

On if he's gotten a sense from the coaches that the slot position he grew into is something they'd like for him long term: "I have no clue right now. The season just ended 12 hours ago, so we haven't had that conversation yet. I'm not really worried about that right now. If that is the case, then wherever they need me at, I'm willing to play. So, on my part, I'm open to everything and anything."

On how much he'd like to build off his rookie year with this defense: "Yes, for sure. Signing Roquan [Smith] was huge, so he's going to be here for the foreseeable future, and he's a big leader on our defense. Who knows – we might lose some pieces that are integral to our success. But, at the same time, just organizationally and defense-wise, top to bottom, I think everybody is so prepared to just fill in any role that they need too – and myself included – wherever that may be. I think we've set a good foundation for next year."

On where he thinks he grew the most in his rookie season: "I would just say staying consistent; on a week-to-week basis, play-to-play basis, resetting my mind. And whether it was good play, bad play, good week, bad week, just knowing that you've got to have a short memory, and I feel like I did a good job of developing that and just trying to stay mature and stay in the process."

On what impressed him the most about defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald: "[Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald] is a very cerebral guy – smart, meticulous, calculated, and you can tell just from the gameplans. He makes sure everybody has a great understanding of what we're doing, why we're doing it, how we're going to do it, and top to bottom, the back end to the front four, to whoever may come on the field, if somebody goes down, if somebody goes in, everybody is prepared, and he does a great job of getting his staff ready to prepare us for any situation that we may have. So, he's a younger guy in this league, and he's just still very confident and very smart in the way that he does things. So, he's got a great future, as well, and so, it's going to set us up for success."

On if he ever thinks about how far he's come since training camp: "Yes, ever since then, I haven't really been on Twitter, so, good or bad, I haven't checked anything, and I haven't been very active on social media like that. I think it's something I may do going forward, because there's so much going on already in the building, in practice and in games that any added social media or whatever it may be probably isn't too good for the mentals. But yes, I try to take it all in stride and not take myself too serious. So, it is what it is now, at this point, and I just try to get better and build forward."

On his optimism about the rookie class: "Yes, a lot of guys had a grow up quick. Like Tyler [Linderbaum] did an amazing job this year holding down one of the hardest positions on the field [on] both sides of the ball. Mark [Andrews] was dealing with some injuries early in the season and 'Zay' [Isaiah Likely] stepped up like he's been a season vet, and he's one of the more athletic tight ends I've seen all year. He and Mark and everybody else in that room challenge us on a daily basis, where when we get into the game, and we're not really surprised by anything. And a lot of other guys – 'Pepe' [Damarion Williams] Jalyn [Armour-Davis] – guys I'm not mentioning … Everybody grew up a little bit, so I think that's set us up for a good second year."


On his thoughts about last night's game:"Let the chips fall where they may. It wasn't our time. God's got a plan, and we weren't a part of it. So, we've just got to live with it." 

On how he's seen young members of this defense – like S Kyle Hamilton – grow throughout this season:"It's amazing how fast [Kyle Hamilton] bounced back. I know the beginning of the season was hard on him. I know he gave up a couple of big plays, and it cost us. But, at the end of the season, you see the man, and it helped him grow as a person and as a player. He took that challenge head on, and he accepted that challenge and grew and became a great player. And he's still growing. I can't wait to see what his future is going to be like. He's going to be amazing." 

On if he relished his role as a mentor to his younger teammates:"I guess so. I got little brothers and sisters at the house. So, it's easy to accept that role. When they look up to you, they respect you and honor you. They're great players; they're great people to be around. They're not like they're hard-headed, and you don't like being around them. They listen, they're fun, and they keep you young. So, I love being around them."

On what the future holds for him:"I'm about to go pray, and we're going to see what happens. That's out of my control. I just trust God, and he's going to lead me to where I should be. So, we'll see."

On what he thinks this defense can be with a full season of ILB Roquan Smith next year:"We got to find out all the pieces and puzzles. I think it's way too early to be talking about that when you don't know who's going to be where. So, yes, I don't know."


On the message from the last team meeting of the season:"I think anytime you leave a team meeting, you're encouraged. The biggest thing is that all year, we've been working for this one goal – and that's to get into the playoffs and have a run. And we got in the playoffs, and [now] it's for us to come back in the offseason and not start all over, but start from where we left off. I think we can build from what we did this season and move forward – that's the positive in it. I feel very good about it. Obviously, losing yesterday sucks [and] being out of the playoffs. But the group of guys that we've got – the coaching staff, the players, everybody in here that puts in the work every day – I think we've got a great staff [and] great players that we can take it with. [I think we'll all] take a little break and get our minds ready and get restored and come back and get back to work." 

On what he personally takes away from this season:"It's been amazing, man. I just completed Year Nine and I haven't won a lot of games in my career. So, being able to be a part of such a great atmosphere – a family atmosphere – a locker room full of brothers and family members that I can call family for life. You look up to a lot of these guys. Even as an older guy like me, you look up to guys like Calais [Campbell] and Justin Houston that come out every day and they show you how to craft your craft. And when you're able to do that as a veteran guy, it's easy to come back and keep on playing. I look forward to the younger guys coming back in better shape, stepping up, taking bigger roles. But also, our veteran guys leading us the way. So, I appreciate those guys [and] I appreciate everything that's been done this season."

On if there was frustration at the injury situation that forced QB Lamar Jackson to miss the end of the season: "It's football, man; you deal with injuries every year. Everybody is banged up, and a lot of players are missing around this time. For him [Lamar Jackson], it's just to get healthy and then get us back to where we need to get back. I have full confidence in everybody in this locker room; I think I said that earlier this week. It didn't matter who we played at quarterback; I knew the best 11 that were going out there to touch the field were going to touch the field. And we moved the ball [and] did some great things. A couple of things didn't go our way, and that's life, but it's for us to build on those things, and I think we've got a great opportunity, great players in this locker room [and] great leadership. [We added] Roquan [Smith] – a great leader and great man, a great football player; those are the types of guys that are going to take us where we need to go. We've got Lamar – him being healthy. Those are the guys that are going to take us. As veterans, we're here to lead and be great at what we do, but those are the guys that we put our shoulders on and say, 'Hey, take us [for] the ride; we'll finish it off.' So, coming back next year, I think we have on that mindset [of], 'Hey, let's take off where we left off and not start all over.'"

On his feelings surrounding QB Lamar Jackson's future and if he believes Jackson will be back: "I definitely hope so. Obviously, that's his [Lamar Jackson's] business, and I'm not going to step in his business. He's a hell of a player, and I thank him every day, just [for being] the type of person he is, the type of player he is, the type of teammate he is. Even just coming in here with my children and them getting to sit around with him and talk to him, and he's treating them like family, that's huge; you don't find that in a lot of places. So, whatever he needs to take care of, he'll take care of. But at the end of the day, he's a brother for life, and I look forward to just suiting up with him again next year."


On his initial feelings on the end of the season:"Obviously, it sucks, but you have to try to find positives in everything. It definitely sucks."

On how he thinks he played over the past few weeks:"I think just being more confident, just trusting what I see and then just trying to play fast."

On how the defense grew this year and what he learned about it:"We got through adversity, we're resilient. We're close, and when we were called to the test, we succeeded. So, I'm really proud of this defense this year, and I'm excited for where we can take it next year."

On if his offseason shoulder injury hampered his development this year:"I wouldn't say hampered, but I didn't have an offseason. I kind of just did training camp to try to be out there with the guys, but I'm excited to have an offseason this year, and I'm really just working on getting stronger, moves and everything. So, we'll be good."

On if his performance at the end of this season is an example of the kind of pash rusher he wants to be:"Yes. I just try to play fast, if he was in my way, try to move off the speed and stuff like that. That's how I want to play the game. I'm not a big move guy, I just try to use my athleticism, and it's going to work for me. Just honing in on that – getting stronger, being faster – it's going to all tie in together."

On if he felt like he was a lot better in Week 18 than in Week 1:"Yes, I would say that just because of maturity and just continued confidence. I got more opportunities. I was doing three-technique rushes now, so that opens up my rushes, and I can just try different things."

On having one of his better games in the Wild Card Playoff and how that will springboard him into the offseason:"It's definitely a confidence boost, but I have to just put it in perspective and just continue to work to get better. There are definitely little things that you have to work on, and I'm just going to try to work on those things."

On what his top priority is this offseason:"Staying low, pad level, continuing to consistently get off [blocks] and bending the edge once I get off. A lot of times, I get off, and then I don't [bend the edge] or stuff like that. So, I'll probably say that."

On if he's excited about the future of this defense:"Yes. It's definitely exciting. I'm excited for my brother [David] Ojabo. He didn't really get his opportunity like he should've, but he's definitely on his way up. I'm excited where he's going to be at. Me and him are going to be working and just the whole defense. We're all just going to mature, have another year together, and next year it's going to be a better outcome by God's grace."

On how much OLB Justin Houston has meant to him over the past two years:"A lot. Just tough love and just respect. Just letting me know how it is; he always keeps it honest, mentored me and just taught me the ways of the business. And, obviously on the field. So, I respect him."

On how much confidence the defensive group has with the young core and a lot of returning players:"A lot. We get to stay together, and when we stay together, we'll know what we have to work on, how we can attack opponents better, and stuff like that. So, it'll be good. I'm excited for where we can take it."

On how he looks back on this season:"[It was] a character-building season, for sure, but you go through everything for a reason. [We'll] come back stronger."


On his feelings about the season ending:"A lot of disappointment with the season ending. Whenever it ends, it's heartbreaking. A lot of work goes into it, a lot of time, a lot of effort, so when it ends, it kind of gives you … You need 24 hours to really comprehend and understand what all it took going into the season."

On how he plans to approach this offseason as a free agent:"Just take it day by day and see how that goes. This is my first time being a free agent, so to be honest, I have no idea what to expect."

On if he would like to be back in Baltimore:"I've had nothing but great experiences in my last four years in Baltimore, but with that being said, I do not know what the future holds."

On what he will take away from this season:"As a professional, you try to get better every year, and that starts by getting better day by day. So, to be able to improve, and to be the player that I was this year, it's a good start. I'm happy with it, but I only plan to get better."

On how he approached improving this year:"Just that day-by-day [approach]. One of the first things Marshal [Yanda] told me when I got here was, 'You take the league day by day, week by week.' So, I've been sticking with that. I control what I can control, and that's about it."

On his thoughts on the season that C Tyler Linderbaum had:"Tyler [Linderbaum]'s a great pro. He has a bright future ahead of him. He's a great guy, and I wish nothing but the best for him."


On his thoughts about how the season went:"Definitely not happy with the outcome of the season, but just fortunate to be healthy coming out. First time in a couple years being able to really get stronger and not rehab in the offseason. So, I'm looking forward to being able to build on that." 

On if his injury situation gives him a different perspective on QB Lamar Jackson's injury situation over the last few weeks:"Yes, 100%. I never once questioned Lamar's [Jackson] tactics when it came to his body. He knows what's going on in his body more than we all know. I felt the same about my situation. There are a lot of things that may look good to the normal eye that may seem like someone can perform, but when you do this at a high level, you know if you can be effective or not. I trust Lamar and he knows that same thing. That perspective definitely helped." 

On if this year reinvigorated his love for the game after getting to play again:"Yes, being able to just have a chance and just to have an opportunity the last couple of years. [It's been] really hard to just watch and really not knowing what the future had. Being able to come back and be effective and really help the team and do everything I could to help the team – and I was very happy that I could do that."

On if he feels he showed that he could be that high-level left tackle that he was prior to his injury:"I think I showed spurts of that. I think for my standard, I would like things to be just cleaner [and] more efficient. But I think after going into this offseason, I'll be a completely better player than I ever was." 

On how much the future weighs on him right now with regards to the QB Lamar Jackson situation:"It doesn't weigh on me really that much at all. But all I know is that I want Lamar [Jackson] to be playing here with me as long as I'm playing. And he knows that, and I have full faith that they're going to work something out." 

On if there's even a question in his mind on whether or not QB Lamar Jackson is back with this team next season:"In my mind, I know he's going to be here. He's a competitor and he wants to win, and this is his team and this is his offense. The money is not the most important thing with Lamar [Jackson]. He really wants to win – contrary to popular belief."

On the season G Ben Powers had as he's set to become a free agent this year:"Yes, [Ben Powers] 'Benny P', I love 'Benny P.' He's a great guy. He's just a road-hog. He comes out, he's a physical guy, he gives his all every game. He's just a gritty, gritty person. Those are types of guys you need, especially on the interior line. He's grown so much this year. [He's] played every single game this year. I don't know what the future holds for him. I really hope that they can work something out where he can come back. But wherever he goes, I know he's going to be a benefit to whatever team he's on."

On if it's nice to have an offseason where he doesn't have to worry about rehabbing:"Yes, I think being able to have time to really focus on building and strengthening, versus rehabbing, is going to really provide a lot of benefits for me during this offseason."