Ravens Sign Linebacker A.J. Klein Off Giants Practice Squad

Buffalo Bills linebacker A.J. Klein (54) rushes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Orchard park, N.Y., Sunday Dec. 19, 2021

The Ravens have signed veteran linebacker A.J. Klein to their 53-man roster, plucking him off the New York Giants' practice squad.

It's been a wild week for Klein. He signed with the Giants on Monday, started learning their defense and getting ready for the Green Bay Packers. After his first practice as a Giant on Wednesday, the Ravens called saying they wanted him to join their 53-man roster.

Klein said he spoke to Head Coach John Harbaugh and Director of Player Personnel George Kokinis about his role with the Ravens and decided it made sense to uproot again.

"Personally, I think it's a good fit," Klein said. "They have a clear vision of what they see for me here. I know a couple of guys; actually I played with Marcus Williams with the Saints. I just know this is a talented football team, been in the playoffs, and I'm just here to help this team win."

Klein said he hasn't even looked at the Bengals yet, as he had his first practice Thursday and is learning the defense as fast as possible.

"I hope [I can be game ready] pretty quick," he said. "The last 48 hours in New York with Wink Martindale, obviously it's the same defensive system. I've been knee deep in the playbook for 48 hours. There's a lot of carryover here."

"We were talking about a couple of the calls and he was catching right along during special teams," Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald said. "He can play all three linebacker spots, so he can provide some position flexibility for us. We needed depth right now and we'll see where it goes."

Klein, 31, is in his 10th NFL season. He's played for the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills, respectively. Klein has started 80 games and totaled 449 tackles, 15.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and four interceptions.

Patrick Queen and Josh Bynes have been the Ravens' starting inside linebackers through the season, but they could use help. Malik Harrison has moved outside to help the thin outside linebacker corps and Kristian Welch and Del'Shawn Phillips have played almost exclusively on special teams.

Klein can help Baltimore's defense as a proven player who had a career year in 2020 with the Bills, in which he logged 75 tackles and five sacks. He was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Week 12.

"I bring experience playing in different systems. I've been around a lot of good coaches and I've played a lot of ball," Klein said. "So hopefully I can bring experience and share that knowledge and help the back seven communicate. Whatever they see me playing and helping out is what I'll do."

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