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Ravens coordinator Dean Pees could walk away following this season after delaying retirement last year

Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees told some people around the team during last season that he intended to retire following the 2016 campaign. However, several factors, including how the Ravens’ 2016 season ended, prompted his desire to return.

Pees, who has been on head coach John Harbaugh’s staff since 2010 and has been the defensive coordinator since 2012, is again contemplating retirement following this season. Russell Street Report wrote earlier this month that Pees has decided that this season will be his last and ESPN wrote Sunday morning that Pees is expected to retire at season's end.

Ravens officials are aware that it’s a strong possibility. However, Pees, 68, hasn’t notified the players of his intentions.

If Pees retires, the top candidate to replace him is expected to be linebackers coach Don “Wink” Martindale, who has played the lead role with the development of young linebackers like C.J. Mosley and Zachary Orr. Martindale was the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator in 2010.

Harbaugh has promoted from within on all three occasions during his tenure when he’s had to fill a defensive coordinator vacancy.

There also figure to be several intriguing outside candidates available, including former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who is expected to be fired as the Indianapolis Colts head coach following this season, and Pagano’s defensive coordinator Ted Monachino, a former Ravens linebackers coach.

The Ravens (9-6) would secure the AFC’s first wild-card slot and the 5th seed if they beat the Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) this afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. They could also qualify for the postseason with losses or ties by the Buffalo Bills, who play the Miami Dolphins today on the road, or the Tennessee Titans, who have a home regular-season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Pees’ defense currently leads the league with 22 interceptions and 33 total takeaways. The Ravens are allowing the fourth fewest points per game (18.1) and are in the top-10 in fewest passing yards allowed per game (213.9), total yards allowed per game (322.8), third-down defense (37.2 percent) and red-zone defense (47.6 percent).

The Ravens are on pace to finish with a top-10 defense for the fourth season in a row.

Pees has coached in the NFL for 14 seasons after he spent 25 years on the college level as either a head coach, defensive coordinator or defensive assistant. Pees spent six seasons with the New England Patriots as the linebackers coach and then the defensive coordinator before Harbaugh hired him before the 2010 season to coach the Ravens linebackers.

Pees was the defensive coordinator at Miami University from 1983 to 1986, which intersected with Harbaugh’s playing career at the Oxford, Ohio school.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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