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Ravens DT Williams 'glad to be home' after signing mega deal

Ravens DT Williams 'glad to be home' after signing mega deal

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Long before the start of free agency, the Baltimore Ravens weighed their options and decided that 340-pound Brandon Williams was a keeper.

Then, after it became apparent that it was going to take a whole lot of money to make it happen, general manager Ozzie Newsome turned to owner Steve Bisciotti for guidance.

"Do what you have to do to get the deal done," Bisciotti told Newsome.

And so, after agreeing to terms last week, Williams on Monday signed a five-year, $52.5 million contract that made him the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL.

Williams has starred over the past three seasons for one of the best defensive units in the league. He is the latest in a long line of standouts at the position, following Tony Siragusa, Sam Adams, Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata.

"This is a really good investment for us, because of the kind of player he's been and the kind of player he's going to be," coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm thrilled Brandon Williams is part of our championship run going forward."

Surrounded by Newsome and Harbaugh at a news conference at the Ravens training complex, Williams wore a gray suit and a broad smile. He could have made big money elsewhere, but didn't want to leave the team that showed faith in him by selecting him in the third round of the 2013 draft out of tiny Missouri Southern State.

"First off, I want to say, I'm glad to be home," Williams said. "Big-time relief."

Most players look forward to the process of putting themselves out there to the highest bidder. Williams, 28, had no desire to be part of it.

"I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst," he said. "It was tough, but in the end it worked out perfectly. When it got down to it, I couldn't see myself in any other color but purple and black."

Williams found out he was coming back with a phone call from Newsome that both participants won't soon forget.

"The emotion that he had, the excitement, how happy he was, it was something that my wife said, `You're on a high,' and I was," Newsome said. "I could just feel it through the phone."

Williams said, "I was emotional. That phone call, knowing that I was going to continue to be a Raven, talking to Ozzie and hearing the happiness and joy in his voice, put a stamp on it -- that I made the right choice."

In addition to retaining Williams, who had 51 tackles and a sack in 2016, the Ravens added free agent safety Tony Jefferson to an ever-changing defense that ranked seventh last year.

"Just one piece at a time," Harbaugh said. Then, referring to Williams, he added, "This is a big piece, literally and figuratively. Really, the main piece for our defense."

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Ravens vs. Texans: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens vs. Texans: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Ravens are hosting Monday Night Football for the first time since 2012, when they welcome the Houston Texans to town.

The Ravens are coming off a much needed win against the Green Bay Packers, where the defense forced five turnovers and lifted the Ravens into the sixth and final wild card spot in the AFC. 

Not only did they regain playoff positioning, the defense got their third shutout of the season.

It even earned linebacker Matthew Judon AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

The 4-6 Texans have been struggling since losing rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. However, they did just end a three game losing streak with a 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals. 

The Ravens defense will be busy keeping an eye on wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has 879 yards on the season for 9 touchdowns. The Texans are also ranked sixth in the league in rushing yards. Will they be able to keep that momentum going?

The Ravens and Texans have met nine times with the Ravens leading the series, 7-2. 

Week 12 Ravens vs. Texans Game Info:

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans

What: Week 12 NFL regular season 

When: 8:30 p.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017

Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: fuboTV

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 

Point Spread: Baltimore, -7

Over/Under: 38

Weather: 41 degrees, clear skies

BALTIMORE RAVENS 2017 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1 (Sun, Sept. 10): 20-0  at Cincinnati Bengals (W)

Week 2 (Sun, Sept. 17): 24-10 vs. Cleveland Browns (W)

Week 3 (Sun, Sept. 24): 44-7 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (in London) (L)

Week 4 (Sun, Oct. 1): vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 5 (Sun, Oct. 8): at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. (W)

Week 6 (Sun, Oct. 15): vs Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 7 (Sun, Oct. 22): at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 8 (Thur, Oct. 26): vs. Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m. (W)

Week 9 (Sun, Nov. 5): at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 10 (Sun, Nov. 12): BYE week

Week 11 (Sun, Nov. 19): at Green Bay Packers, 1:00 p.m. (W)

Week 12 (Mon, Nov. 27): vs. Houston Texans, 8:30 p.m.

Week 13 (Sun, Dec. 3): vs. Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: (Sun, Dec. 10): at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m.

Week 15: (Sun, Dec. 17): at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: (Sat, Dec. 23): vs Indianapolis Colts, 4:30 p.m.

Week 17: (Sun, Dec. 31): vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m

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Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis named semifinalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 class

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USA TODAY Sports

Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis named semifinalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 class

Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been named a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 class. 

Lewis, who is in his first year of eligibility, made the first set of cuts from 108 candidates to 27. 

First-year eligible players included on the semifinals list with Lewis are defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebacker Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

RELATED: THREE THINGS WE'VE LEARNED ABOUT THE RAVENS THIS SEASON

12 offensive players, 13 defensive players and two coaches made the cut. However, there are no quarterbacks on the list.

All ties for the 25th spot also advance. 

In January, members of the Hall of Fame committee will then narrow the modern-era list down to 15. Nominees must receive 80 percent "yes" votes to make the cut.

The selection committee will then meet for a final time on February 3, the day before Super Bowl LII, to select the 2018 class. 

RELATED: LEWIS CLAIMS RAVENS DIDN'T SIGN KAEPERNICK AFTER GIRLFRIEND'S TWEET

Lewis and Moss are considered shoo-ins.

Lewis played his entire 17-year career with the team after the Ravens drafted him 26th in the 1996 draft. During his 17 years, he won two Super Bowls, won Super Bowl XXXV MVP, was named to 13 Pro Bowls, a seven-time First-Team All-Pro, was a two-time Defensive Player of the year winner, won eight Defensive Player of the Week awards, played in 228 career games, made 1,336 tackles, had 41.5 sacks and 31 interceptions.

Players must be retired from the league for five years to be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.