After missing two of the previous three seasons because of a torn right Achilles tendon in 2009 and a shoulder injury in 2011, Ma'ake Kemoeatu played in 15 games in the regular season, making 13 starts.
The 10-year veteran, who started in the Ravens' 24-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday's AFC wild-card game, finished the regular season with 29 tackles, two batted passes and one sack (his first since 2005) in the team's regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Kemoeatu, who turned 34 on Thursday, offered his thoughts on his season, the return of inside linebacker Ray Lewis from a torn right triceps and his former coach and current Denver Broncos coach John Fox.
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How do you feel your season has gone? Is this how you envisioned it would unfold — with you and Terrence Cody rotating at nose tackle?
Last year, I was just hoping to get on a team. I really wanted to get on the Ravens, and thank God it's worked out. I got to be with the Ravens, and hopefully, I'll be here longer. I'm happy where I'm at. Me and T.C. do our little rotation, and we're both getting rest and we're both getting work. We're both doing things to help the team win. If we can get past Denver this week, maybe we can do more next week. I'm happy where I'm at. Ever since I came here as a rookie, I've always been a Raven and I always will be. So it's good.
When inside linebacker Ray Lewis returned for Sunday's win against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC wild-card round, was there more of an emphasis on you to keep blockers off Lewis, who was playing in his first game since tearing his right triceps?
Well, my role is to always protect my linebackers. I had to be extra careful and make sure that nobody gets on Ray. I'm just trying to do my job. I'm going to enjoy these games playing with Ray Lewis so that I can tell my kids that I played with the great and legendary Ray Lewis.
You played for John Fox when you were both with the Carolina Panthers. Have you seen elements of that defense in the Denver Broncos' version?
John Fox is a defensive guy, and he's a great guy to play for. He's a players' coach. He's going to motivate his guys. He's obviously done some great things with that defense and helped them improve from last year to this year. It's going to be great. I always look forward to playing against Fox because we've been good friends since he brought me to Carolina. I have great respect for him and what he does.
WJZ (Channel13) meteorologist Tim Williams has a chilly forecast for Denver, where the Ravens play today:
"Looks like the Ravens will be challenged to fly in the thin air of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. ... Temperatures will be dropping from a high of 23degrees. Along with a lack of oxygen and pressure, expect flurries and temps falling into the mid-teens."