Among the trio of former Ravens players who will return to M&T Bank Stadium ion Sunday with the Chicago Bears, Pernell McPhee might harbor the biggest grudge after the Ravens let him leave via free agency after the 2014 season.
But the outside linebacker, who racked up 17 sacks in four years with the Ravens after they took him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, said that’s no longer relevant to him.
“If I had played them two years ago, it probably would have” provided extra motivation, McPhee said Wednesday during a conference call with Baltimore media. “But I’m just looking to come help my team get a win right now, and focus on that. Not trying to make this about me and my emotions.”
Although the 6-foot-3, 269-pound McPhee, 28, signed a five-year, $38.75 million contract to join Chicago, he acknowledged the sting of not being wanted by the Ravens.
“It was still in my system – being a Raven, playing like a Raven,” he said. “That’s how I was bred into this NFL world. That was my birth, just playing like a Raven, being a Raven. Not getting an offer from them – it hurt. But I will always salute [general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] and coach [John] Harbaugh for giving me the opportunity to be a Raven. But two years ago, it hurt me a little bit. Now, I’m kind of over it, and I’m just trying to help us get a win.”
McPhee has 12 sacks in less than three seasons with the Bears, including two in five games (one start) this season. But he has not been able to eclipse his career year in 2014, when he finished with 7½ sacks and four pass breakups with the Ravens.
Bears coach John Fox sounded pleased with McPhee’s start to 2017, even though he has only eight tackles.
“He is doing great,” Fox said. “You guys know him well. He loves to play. He is obviously a very physical player, and he has brought that to us as well.”
McPhee said he does not keep in touch with many of the current players on the Ravens roster. But he does have one wish for his return to Baltimore on Sunday.
“I would love to hit [quarterback] Joe Flacco,” he said. “I hope he lets me hit him one time – just one time.”