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Late for Work: Tony Jefferson Reportedly Coming Out of Retirement, Ravens Named Potential Landing Spot

Former Ravens S Tony Jefferson
Former Ravens S Tony Jefferson

Tony Jefferson Reportedly Coming Out of Retirement, Ravens Named Potential Landing Spot

This time last year, veteran safety Tony Jefferson announced his retirement and subsequently joined the Ravens as a scouting intern. Now, the former Raven apparently is looking to play again in 2024.

CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan named the Ravens as a potential landing spot for the 32-year-old Jefferson.

"Seems pretty logical given the familiarity, right?" Sullivan wrote. "On top of having two different stints as a player with the Ravens, Jefferson was also a part of the organization during his year off in retirement as a member of the scouting department. Baltimore has Kyle Hamilton as their starting strong safety, but currently has two rookies in Sanoussi Kane (seventh-round pick) and Beau Bade (undrafted) behind him, so there could be room for a veteran to deepen the position group."

Jefferson started 35 games for the Ravens from 2017-2019 and was one of the team's most well-liked players.

He suffered a major knee injury five games into the 2019 season and spent the entire 2020 season out of football before the Ravens gave him his first real chance back in the league (after the San Francisco 49ers barely gave him any playing time) late in the 2021 season.

Jefferson played with the New York Giants in 2022 after being released by the Ravens in training camp.

Ravens' Team-Building Approach 'Will Keep Them Competitive for Years to Come'

The Ravens' approach to team building is to field a team that contends for a championship every year, and their track record of success speaks for itself.

Fittingly, when ESPN's Bill Barnwell handed out offseason superlatives for each AFC team, he named the Ravens, who lost a slew of key players in free agency, as the team most likely to trust itself.

"No organization can keep all of its outgoing free agents without spreading itself so financially thin that its roster snaps. The Ravens have been in the midst of competing in the AFC for most of the past, oh, 25 years, and they have a strong handle on what they're good at and where they can develop talent," Barnwell wrote. "With reigning MVP Lamar Jackson now in the middle of his new contract extension, GM Eric DeCosta & Co. had to be thoughtful about where they used their money and draft picks this offseason."

Barnwell cited the personnel changes the Ravens made on both sides of the ball this offseason as examples of their organizational philosophy.

"The Ravens have a long record of drafting and developing interior linemen or otherwise acquiring journeymen linemen who become useful starters," Barnwell wrote. "Last year, they lost guard Ben Powers and replaced him with John Simpson, who had been anonymous with the Raiders. They also let veteran guard Kevin Zeitler leave this offseason, and we'll see Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, Andrew Vorhees and Josh Jones compete for starting work on the interior around center Tyler Linderbaum.

"On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens probably had to choose between keeping one of their two standout draftees. With Roquan Smith playing at an All-Pro level at middle linebacker, the choice was easy: They let Patrick Queen depart and retained interior disruptor Justin Madubuike, who was one of the league's most dominant defensive linemen a year ago. And while veteran corners Ronald Darby and Rock Ya-Sin left the team, Baltimore used its first-round pick on Nate Wiggins, who should emerge as a starter alongside Marlon Humphrey as early as this season."

Barnwell acknowledged that not every move works out, but he believes the Ravens "are going to continue to be competitive with this approach for years to come."

Pundit's Bold Prediction: Derrick Henry Will Run for 1,600 Yards columnist Judy Battista made 10 bold predictions for the coming season. Among them is that Derrick Henry will run for 1,600 yards.

"This is the free-agency marriage we all wanted, and the Ravens and Henry will be just as great a fit as we imagined," Battista wrote. "The Ravens had one of the most efficient running games last season, but introducing Henry is a game-changer. Even at 30 years old, he should lead the league in carries (as he has in four of the last five seasons) and could accumulate more rushing yards than he has in any season except 2020, his 2,000-yard effort.

"Yes, the Ravens lost three starting offensive linemen (tackle Morgan Moses and guards John Simpson and Kevin Zeitler), but they also seem to have a knack for finding and developing replacements. The Ravens had one of the league's highest-scoring offenses last season and that will be a boon for Henry. Get a lead, give him the ball, bleed the clock. That's a recipe for a Ravens playoff run."

Battista doesn't foresee that playoff run ending with a championship, however. She predicted the Kansas City Chiefs will win an unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl and the Cincinnati Bengals will make it to the AFC Championship Game.

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