The Ravens have plenty of longshots on their training camp roster, but the longest of all has to be a 30-year-old rookie linebacker nicknamed Shakespeare.
Stevie Baggs Jr. has traveled the globe during his pro football career, spending time on NFL practice squads, playing in NFL Europe and the Arena Football League, and making a name for himself in the Canadian Football League, but at age 30, he has never played a regular-season down in the NFL.
The Ravens signed him last weekend, adding him to their mix of linebackers trying to earn spots on the 53-man roster.
What my familys been through, what Ive been through in this league and playing with as many teams as I have, its great that somebody is still able to see my ability and hunger for the game, Baggs told the Ravens official website. I think Im the only pro football player in history to play for 10 teams.
He earned the nickname Shakespeare because he made so many plays during his days as an All-American at Bethune-Cookman.
He has played for the CFLs Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders, leading the league with 12 sacks in 2009. That prompted the Arizona Cardinals to give him a shot in 2010, and Baggs almost made it: he was among the final training camp cuts and returned to the CFL as the leagues highest-paid defensive player, reportedly earning 150,000 a season.
He became available this year when he rejected a pay cut and phoned eight NFL teams asking for a shot, picking out those with which he felt he best fit. The Ravens eventually landed him.
Although he is a longshot, I dont want anybody to feel sorry for me because God has blessed me with an amazing gift and ability to play this game, Baggs said. Im just elated to be here, truthfully.