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Why Tony Jefferson And Danny Woodhead Chose The Ravens


Tony Jefferson arrived in Baltimore to sign his contract Friday, and was badgered so much by safety Eric Weddle to get a workout in that Jefferson did so even before meeting with the press.

Danny Woodhead had already come up with a nickname for Jefferson (Jeffey), by the time they took the stage.

It was clear Friday afternoon that the Ravens' two free-agent signees are quickly getting comfortable in their new surroundings. They oozed Raven.

Both signed quickly with Baltimore, agreeing to terms before the new league officially opened Thursday afternoon, and they explained why they made quick decisions to go with the Ravens.

Jefferson was the top safety on the free-agent market, and was highly sought after by multiple teams. He joked that the first day of free agency is cool because a player gets to see what teams are interested. But once he found out Baltimore was in the mix, Jefferson headed that direction.

"My love and passion match this organization," Jefferson said.

Asked what his impressions of Baltimore were from afar, Jefferson quickly said "defense." He envisioned he and fellow Ravens safety Eric Weddle, who helped recruit him, having a lot of success together.

"It's defense over here. This is my type of ball," he said. "You look at the division and the teams you're going against, teams like Pittsburgh that like to run the ball. This is old-school football. That's my style."

Jefferson reportedly turned down more money with the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets to join Baltimore, though he referred a question about that to his agent. Jefferson's passion for the game superceded money.

"I really came here because I love to win," he said. "I know this organization, that's what they want. I'm excited and I look forward to the future."

Woodhead also came to the Ravens because of the team's winning culture. He spent three years in a similar environment in New England (2010-2012), but didn't win a Lombardi Trophy while there.

The Patriots and Ravens faced off in back-to-back AFC championship games during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Patriots won the first, but lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. The Ravens topped the Patriots the following year, and won it all in Super Bowl XLVII.

"I wanted to come here because I believe in what this organization believes in, and that's winning," Woodhead said. "I hated these guys when I was in New England and lost the AFC championship game. Those are the teams you want to play for."

Woodhead noticed the "Play Like A Raven" mantra on the walls as he walked around the Under Armour Performance Center.

"I want to play like a Raven and I think I'm going to," he said. "I'm excited to play for this city because it seems like my type of city: go out and work hard, blue collar."

What can't go unnoticed is Weddle's influence in both signings as well, as all four people on the podium stage recognized.

Weddle hit Jefferson up in a Twitter Q&A weeks ago, and was reportedly in constant contact with him in the days leading up to free agency. Weddle is good friends with Woodhead dating back to their time together in San Diego. Both Jefferson and Weddle said they immediately called Weddle to get a scouting report when they heard the Ravens were a possibility.

The mutual fit goes both ways. Harbaugh said players who fit the Ravens are "very rare," which is part of the reason why the team builds so much through the draft.

"These are big investments that we are making," Harbaugh said. "We have high aspirations. We wanted two players that fit us really well. The kind of guys that Baltimore can be proud of and the kind of guys that play the way we like to play.

"I think that Tony Jefferson is one of those guys, and Danny Woodhead is one of those guys. … They are perfect fits for us; they are Ravens. Thanks, guys, for coming on board."

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