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Derek Wolfe always wanted to be a Raven — now he gets his chance

Derek Wolfe always wanted to be a Raven — now he gets his chance

New Ravens defensive lineman Derek Wolfe has wanted to be a Raven at three separate times during his career. 

The first time was before he was drafted in 2012 when he thought the Ravens might pick him. The second time was before the trade deadline in the 2019 season, when he debated asking Broncos general manager John Elway for a trade to Baltimore. 

The third time was the charm. After the Ravens’ signing of Michael Brockers fell through, they moved quickly to sign Wolfe to a one-year contract. 

“I'm extremely happy,” Wolfe said. “Everything happens for a reason. When things are supposed to happen, they do, and I always felt like I would fit into that organization really well.”

Wolfe thought he’d missed his chance to be a Raven when the signing of Brocks was announced at the beginning of free agency. After the deal wasn’t completed, though, he and his agent moved quickly to get him to Baltimore. 

Once a deal looked possible with the Ravens, Wolfe’s only focus was to get to Baltimore by any means necessary.

“I said, ‘I really don't care about the money,’” Wolfe said he told his agent. “‘At this point, I just want to get on that team. That's the team I want to get on, I want to be on.’

Wolfe’s contract is worth $3 million guaranteed, though he’s eying a bit longer of a stay in Baltimore.

“I feel like if I can come in there and prove myself, then they'll extend me for a few years, and I could be a part of the organization for more than just one year,” Wolfe said. “I'm just going to stick to the plan and trust the process and hope that it all works out for me,” Wolfe said. “I really would love to bring another ring to the city – help bring a ring to the city.”

He’s coming off a career season in Denver where he registered seven sacks in 12 games — a year that was cut short because of a dislocated elbow. 

Injuries have been a bit of a bugaboo for Wolfe, who has played 16 games in a season just three times in his eight-year career and just once in the last five years. While the past isn’t kind to Wolfe’s injury history, he’s confident he’s turned a corner when it comes to health. 

“It's been a bumpy road, but for the most part I've actually been pretty healthy,” Wolfe explained. “These injuries just come...It was the same injury that was nagging, and I finally got that surgery that cleared it up. I dislocated my elbow, obviously, having the best season of my career, showing that I have a ton of football left, and then I go out there and dislocate my elbow. And I think that hurt me.”

Not only confident about his health, but he’s also got high hopes for his new defensive line, too. 

“It was just like, ‘You know what, man? I think we can have the best defensive line in the league, for sure, and we could break records,” Wolfe said. “We could break the rushing record – yards per rush, stuff like that.’ Those are the kind of goals that I like to set.”

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New Ravens DL Derek Wolfe: ‘I think we can have the best defensive line in the league’

New Ravens DL Derek Wolfe: ‘I think we can have the best defensive line in the league’

Derek Wolfe is set to join a Ravens team that broke all kinds of records in 2019 — offensive records.

With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens averaged the most points in the league last season and broke the record for team rushing yards in a season.

Now, Wolfe thinks they can break defensive records, too.

“When I saw that Calais (Campbell) was going up there and I knew that Brandon (Williams) was up there already, it was a no-brainer for me,” Wolfe said during a conference call Friday. “It was just like, ‘You know what, man? I think we can have the best defensive line in the league, for sure, and we could break records. We could break the rushing record – yards per rush, stuff like that.’”

Wolfe, who came over from the Broncos after spending the first eight years of his career there, is set to start on a revamped defensive front with Campbell and Williams.  

He posted a career year last season and finished with seven sacks, and paired with the new-look front, he’s confident in the Ravens new front.

“I feel like as a defensive lineman and as a defense as a whole, I think we're going to be able to eat these quarterbacks up, especially with the secondary that we have,” Wolfe said.

He doesn’t think the goals are too lofty, though. They’re the expectation for both himself and his defensive unit.

“Those are the kind of goals that I like to set,” Wolfe said. “Sometimes you don't reach them, but you can get close, and that helps you win. So, I think that we're going to be able to shut that run game down, and then when it comes to our offense keeping us up by 10, 20 points a game, it's going to get ugly for these quarterbacks.”

Those quarterbacks he’s referencing, as it turns out, can even include former league MVP and current Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes — Wolfe’s former division rival.

The Ravens are set to host the Chiefs in the 2020 season, a matchup that will surely be seen by many as a game between the league's two best teams.

“I’ve been playing against him twice a year for so long, and I was trying to say that it’s nice to be in a different division,” Wolfe said. “It’s nice to be in a different division where I’m not playing against the same guys year-in, year-out. It’s nice to get some fresh faces, that’s what I was trying to get around with that. Nothing against him as a player; he’s an unbelievable player, and he’s tough to beat. I’m looking forward to beating him twice.”

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Orioles' Chris Davis on the future of MLB 2020 season

Orioles' Chris Davis on the future of MLB 2020 season

Chris Davis has played a game without fans before. He doesn’t want to go back to that again unless he has to.

Davis, who played in the 2015 fan-less game between the Orioles and White Sox at Camden Yards in the aftermath of the Baltimore Riots, is aware of the unique circumstances those games can present.

“I think it’s something that I’ve prepared myself for, hoping that we wouldn’t necessarily have to do that,” Davis said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. “I think at this point, there are a lot of possibilities, a lot of different scenarios that are on the table, just as far as a logistics standpoint is concerned. Obviously I would love to play as many games as possible, but I also want people to be safe.”

Major League Baseball has yet to set a return date for the 2020 regular season, and there doesn’t appear to be a concrete timeline either for baseball to be played. 

One possibility is to begin the season without fans at the ballparks to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus. A big part of that, admittedly, is gaining confidence from both players and fans.

“I want people to feel comfortable being around other people, being around other fans at the ballpark and I want the guys to feel safe on the field,” Davis said. “I don’t look forward to doing that, but I feel like we’re going to have to do some things that are a little unfamiliar, at least for the foreseeable future. We’ve talked about it, it’s definitely a possibility.”

Davis, who said he’s confident he can pick up where he left off in spring training after a hot start to the season, is now just waiting for baseball games to be played, just like everyone else. 

The best-case scenario though, for him and everyone else, is to have the ballparks filled when baseball returns.

“It’s been extremely uplifting to hear the amount of people that are just in love with the game of baseball, they’re infatuated with it,” Davis said. “They’re ready to see guys out on the field again. I just know that once we get everything squared away and we get kind of a handle on everything, there are going to be a bunch of smiling faces in the ballpark. And I look forward to that day.”

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