OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Domata Peko thought he had blown his shot to play on the Ravens.
Peko was brought in for a workout with the Ravens a few weeks ago, and offered a contract, but he turned the offer down and said the move wasn’t right for him.
Just a few weeks later, however, another situation arose with the Ravens and he jumped at the opportunity to sign in Baltimore.
“It went really well, I had an offer, but it wasn’t the right one for me,” Peko explained. “Big shoutout to the people upstairs, Eric did a great job communicating with my agency and they called me two days ago. We were able to get it done.”
The Ravens brought in Peko and another defensive tackle, Justin Ellis, after the team put Daylon Mack on IR and waived Ufomba Kamalu as well. With Michael Pierce’s ankle injury, the defensive line suddenly need a jolt of run-stopping ability.
A 14-year veteran, Peko played for the Bengals for 11 seasons before heading to the Broncos for two seasons. He hasn’t played on a team this year, but feels confident he can help the Ravens’ run defense right away.
“Coaching my son’s football team and doing individual drills with them, that’s how I was kind of staying in shape,” Peko said. “I’m super excited to be here in Baltimore and make a run. That’s why I’m here, to help the defense out and to do my job. As a 14-year-vet, as a nose-man, I feel like I can come right in and do my job and do my part to help us win.”
Peko is in a unique situation, however, having been apart of so many successful Bengals teams for the majority of his career. He’s been in the trenches with Ravens guard Marshal Yanda before, only on the other side.
Now, he’ll try and help the team he played against for so many years make a push for a championship in the final weeks of the season.
“It does feel weird, playing with the Bengals for 11 seasons and playing up here, playing these guys twice a year,” Peko said. “It does feel a little bit weird, but I’m excited to put this purple and black on. I think I’ll look pretty good in it on Sunday.”
The other addition, Ellis, came from Oakland where he spent the previous five seasons. At 6-foot-2, 350-pound behemoth up front specializes in stopping the run.
His opportunity came due to his release from the Raiders in October.
“I’ve kind of been just focused on what’s in front of me,” Ellis said. “When I got the call, my agent thought it was a great opportunity.”
Coach John Harbaugh mentioned their “stout, physical ability,” which was one of the reasons the team added them on. Pierce’s unknown status didn’t hurt, either. Ellis and Peko will likely be big contributors moving forward, should Pierce be absent for any amount of time.
With other defenders having made significant impacts early on like Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort and Marcus Peters, there’s hope that Peko and Ellis will be able to solidify a defensive line that suddenly is banged up.
“I’ve been just patiently waiting and anticipating the call,” Peko said. “Now that I got the call, I’m here, ready to work and ready to get after it and ready to show Baltimore what I can bring to the table.”
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