The Ravens' search for a replacement for Cory Redding's stout presence along the defensive line and leadership in the locker room took an entire year.
Now, the Super Bowl champions are banking on former New York Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty providing similar qualities to Redding, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts last spring.
As the Ravens were signing Canty to a three-year, $8 million contract that includes a $2 million signing bonus, coach John Harbaugh told the 6-foot-7, 317-pounder he hopes he gives the defense back what they lost in Redding.
"We definitely talked about that and how they utilized him," Canty said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "They definitely saw me in a very similar role. I’m excited about that. I’m very familiar with what they’ve done. I saw it on tape.
"I’m very confident that I’ll be able to come in and do that job at a very high level and help provide this defense with an opportunity to be aggressive and a dominant defense. They definitely want me to be a leader on this football team, in the locker room and on the field."
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome characterized Canty's addition as immediately strengthening the defense, and he also praised Canty's character.
"Chris is a good player and an upgrade for our defense,” Newsome said. “We’ve seen that in our study, and he has also played very well against us. We like the fact that he is coming from a winning franchise that recently won the Super Bowl with his help. Plus, he can help us at both end and tackle.
"John and I met with him for a while last night, and we especially liked the enthusiasm he showed to be a Raven. It’s good to add a quality player and person like Chris to our roster.”
Canty, 30, chose the Ravens after visiting the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers.
The Ravens envision a versatile role for Canty, a mobile former Virginia standout whom the Giants in February rather than paying him $6.25 million this year. He's expected to line up everywhere from defensive tackle to defensive end, but isn't expected to play nose tackle.
Heading into his ninth NFL season, Canty has recorded 297 career tackles and 19 sacks
“I’m a big athlete," Canty said. "I’m able to do a variety of things. I think I have a lot of tools in my tool bag, being in the NFL for eight years. I’m a master at my technique and that shows on film. I definitely see myself being an impact player on that defensive front in a rotation, including some very great players, Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw. I’m looking forward to getting in there with those guys and developing and establishing that rapport so we can go out on the field and dominate."
Canty passed his physical after being screened for a knee injury that troubled him last season.
“I’m ready to play football,” he said. “I went through the battery of tests with the doctors there in Baltimore yesterday and they gave me the clearance. I’m 100 percent ready to go, and I’m excited about getting started with the offseason.”
Canty is accustomed to playing for a successful franchise having won two Super Bowls with the Giants.
“You got to know how to get over the Super Bowl hangover,” Canty said. “When you have an opportunity to win a championship, everyone is telling you how great you are. The tendency is for guys to just think they can pick up where they left off, and every year is a different year.”