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Texas-Sized Chips On New Ravens' Shoulders


Players know the NFL is a business, but it can be a cold, harsh business.

Several Ravens added this offseason felt that sting, and it could be a good thing for Baltimore.

Signing players who are released by their former teams is not only good for getting compensatory picks the following year. It's also good for bringing in motivated players.

That's the case with tight end Owen Daniels, running back Justin Forsett wide receiver Steve Smith. Even center Jeremy Zuttah has a little extra motivation to a degree.

Daniels was released by the Houston Texans after eight seasons with the team. When asked if it would be tough to wrap his head around wearing another teams' color, Daniels coldly said he let go of Houston when they let go of him.

"I wasn't good enough for them anymore," he said.

"When you're with a franchise that long, and then all of a sudden they decide you're not good enough for them anymore, and they want to go in a different direction, yes, that definitely gives you a big chip, and it gets you motivated."

The Ravens are scheduled to play in Houston this season, so Daniels will get a shot at his former franchise.

"I think we're playing down there this year, so… What Steve Smith said about playing in Carolina..." Daniels said, drawing laughter.

Smith's comment is well-known at this point. The day Smith was released, he told radio station WFNZ in Charlotte that there's going to be "blood and guts everywhere" when he faces the Panthers next. Turns out, Smith will face Carolina in M&T Bank Stadium this upcoming season.

While the new Ravens receiver later said his blood and guts comment was more tongue-in-cheek than serious, Smith is motivated to show that releasing him was the wrong move for the Panthers.

Forsett signed a two-year contract in Jacksonville last offseason only to be cut by the team after one season in which he battled through injuries and played in just nine games. He had a career-low six carries for 31 yards.

"I definitely have a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas that I want to get off," Forsett said.

"I had a lot of injuries and a lot of adversity last year being in Jacksonville. It made me stronger, definitely a better man, and I'm excited to release everything that I have in me out on this field."

While Zuttah wasn't cut, it was made clear that he wasn't a priority in Tampa Bay, and thus traded.

The Buccaneers, under the guidance of new Head Coach Lovie Smith, signed center Evan Dietrich-Smith, making Zuttah expendable and allowing the Ravens to trade for him. Zuttah said he and his agent had a lot of talks with Tampa Bay and thought it might be better to explore other options.

The Ravens pounced and traded for Zuttah. He will get a chance to face his former team in Tampa Bay next season.

"It's a little surprising," Zuttah said of the trade. "After six years, which went by really fast, to turn around and they say you're not going back to the place where you spent your whole career. It is different. But the new atmosphere, new scene, will be refreshing."

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