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Linebacker retires as one of most respected Ravens

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Linebacker retires as one of most respected Ravens

OWINGS MILLS – As he officially announced his retirement Wednesday, former Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson received praise from many directions.

General manager Ozzie Newsome hailed Johnson for his leadership during his nine seasons with the Ravens.

“He was a tempo-setter,” Newsome said. “He set the tempo in our locker room. He set the tempo in the classroom. He set the tempo out on the practice field. And he definitely set the tempo on Sundays when we played games.” 

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Johnson epitomized the term, “Play like a Raven.”

“Extremely talented, very smart,” Harbaugh said. “He was the guy who made all our calls and set the defense.”

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees talked about his close friendship with Johnson. Pees said every Ravens coach had the utmost respect for Johnson. During his playing days, Johnson drew a huge circle on a grease board in the defensive meeting room.

“That’s called the circle of trust,” Pees said. “That’s double-J’s circle. When your initials went in there, you were proud as heck. That means that guy respected you. I remember walking in there a long time ago saying, I got to get D.P. in there.” 

The only two-time captain in Alabama history, Johnson entered the NFL with a chip on his shoulder, after falling to the fourth round in 2003, where the Ravens finally selected him.

“I thought I was a better player than that,” Johnson said.

He was right. In his nine seasons with the Ravens, Johnson played in a team record 129 straight games, including 80 consecutive starts. Other defensive players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs grabbed more headlines during Johnson’s time with the Ravens. But nobody within the organization underestimated Johnson’s importance.

Johnson played his final three seasons with the Chargers, but decided to retire after last season. He will eventually sign a one-day deal with the Ravens so he can retire with the organization. What’s next for Johnson? He is enjoying spending time with his family, but did not rule out working for the Ravens in some capacity.

“I’d love to have some role in this game,” Johnson said. “I’d love to have a connection with this organization and with this game, because I love it. We’ll see.”

MORE RAVENS: Ravens looking for free agents to help secondary

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Ravens' Lamar Jackson aspiring to become the Tom Brady of Baltimore

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens' Lamar Jackson aspiring to become the Tom Brady of Baltimore

It only took Lamar Jackson seven weeks to get the city of Baltimore behind him. 

Since becoming the Ravens' starter in Week 11, Jackson pulled his team out of a three-game losing streak, going 6-1 down the stretch, and earned the franchise their first playoff appearance in three season.

That's quite impressive for a rookie, but the 22-year-old wants his time in Baltimore to resemble arguably the greatest to ever do it. 

"Ain't no ceiling," Jackson said on his limitations in an interview with Ray Lewis for Showtime's 'Inside the NFL.' "I already said it, when I got drafted, I want to bring a Super Bowl to Baltimore, so I'm going to try to bring as much as I can. I want to bring a Super Bowl here. I want to be the Brady. Bring multiple if I could."

Through 19 seasons, Tom Brady has brought five Lombardi Trophy's to the city of Boston and is currently in the race for a sixth. It's a feat that may never be repeated, but Jackson sure wants to try.

The young quarterback's speed is something that separates him from the 41-year-old veteran. In just seven games, Jackson rushed for more yards (695) than every other quarterback in 2018, and his 119 rushing yards against the Cincinnati Bengals was the most ever by a QB in their starting debut. 

“Probably when, like, I'm playing football with my older cousins,” Jackson told Lewis on when he realized he was the fastest kid on the block. “I used to play with all the older guys. I never played with, really, my age group when I was younger. ... There would be a new kid come on the block, and they'd be like, 'Oh, this kid, he's good,' this and that. So I get jealous, because I'm like, 'Man, I'm the best kid over here,' so I'm going to outperform him.”

His speed is such a threat that the Ravens have already begun shaping their future around it, while accuracy and ball security remain a work in progress. Jackson finished his rookie campaign completing 99 of 170 passes for 1,201 yards and six touchdowns. 

While reaching Brady-type success will be an uphill battle, the good news is he's got 18 or more seasons to hit his goal. Jackson will get his first taste of Brady in 2019 when the Ravens host the Patriots. 

You can watch Jackson and Lewis' full interview Tuesday at 9 p.m..

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Lamar Jackson finishes rookie campaign with the most quarterback rushing yards

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Lamar Jackson finishes rookie campaign with the most quarterback rushing yards

You couldn't have predicted Lamar Jackson's rookie season with the Baltimore Ravens if you tried.

After trading up in the 2018 NFL Draft to select Jackson with the 32nd overall pick, the 22-year-old came in and earned the starting job from an injured Joe Flacco, while leading the Ravens to their first playoff appearance in three seasons.

Jackson had a record-breaking rookie campaign, but also left room to build off of as he becomes the Ravens' leader for the foreseeable future.

Here are 13 key numbers behind his rookie season. 

6-1: Jackson's record as a starter during the regular season. His only defeat was a 27-24 OT loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14. Ben Roethlisberger (7-0) and Dak Prescott (6-1) were the only other rookie QBs with at least six wins in their first seven starts.

1,201: Jackson completed 99 of 170 passes for 1,201 yards and six touchdowns in 2018.

695: The rookie's 695 rushing yards is the most by all NFL quarterbacks in 2018. It also ranks 11th most by a quarterback in NFL single-season-history and third by a rookie quarterback behind Robert Griffin III (815) and Cam Newton (706).

204: Career-high passing yards against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 16. 

119: Jackson's 119 rushing yards against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11 was the most by a QB in their starting debut. 

84.5: The rookie finished the 2018 season with a 84.5 QB rating. 

68: Jackson connected with tight end Mark Andrews for a 68-yard touchdown Week 16 against the Chargers for the teams longest offensive score of the season. 

21: How old Jackson was in the Ravens' Wild Card loss to the Chargers, making him the youngest QB to start a playoff game in the history of the NFL. The Ravens played the Chargers on Jan. 6, and Jackson turned 22 on Jan. 7. 

16: The number of times Jackson was sacked this season.

12: The number of fumbles Jackson had in 2018, but only four were recovered by the opposing team.

6.81: Jackson averaged 6.81 passing yards-per-attempt through 12 games.

5: The QB produced five of the Ravens' 19 rushing touchdowns in 2018.

3: Number of interceptions Jackson had through 12 games.

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