With defensive tackle Michael Pierce nursing an ankle injury, the Ravens have added a defensive lineman to the 53-man roster.
The Ravens signed Justin Ellis on Tuesday to bolster their defensive line ahead of Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. The Texans have averaged the fourth-most rushing yards per game (142.8) and running back Carlos Hyde has the 10th-most rushing yards in the league (704).
Ellis was released by the Oakland Raiders last month after spending five-plus seasons with them as a fourth-round pick in 2014. Ellis didn’t play for the Raiders this year and began the season on injured reserve. However, the 6-foot-2, 350-pound Ellis was a run-stopper and regular starter for Oakland in 2014, ’16 and ’17.
If Pierce cannot play Sunday, the presence of Ellis could help Pro Bowl defensive tackle Brandon Williams anchor the run defense. Rookie Daylon Mack only played one game this season and he was on last week’s injury report (knee) and inactive against the Bengals.
In other roster moves, rookie cornerback Iman Marshall has been activated from injured reserve, while the Ravens have released returner/cornerback Cyrus Jones and defensive end Ufomba Kamalu.
Jones, a Baltimore native and former Gilman School star, was inactive last weekend after losing his job as the punt returner when he muffed a punt in Week 9 against the New England Patriots. Veteran returner De’Anthony Thomas was signed as a free agent last week and returned one punt for eight yards and one kickoff for 18 yards Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Marshall was drafted in the fourth round from USC, but he was placed on injured reserve in early September before the regular-season opener. He has been practicing the past two weeks and the Ravens were nearing the end of the three-week window when Marshall had to be activated or placed on IR for the rest of the season. His most likely role would be with special teams, with the Ravens deep at cornerback after the return of Jimmy Smith from a knee injury and the addition of Marcus Peters in a trade last month.
Kamalu did not see any game action with the Ravens after being signed off the Patriots’ practice squad on Oct. 24.