The news that Trevor Pryce had signed with the New York Jets swept through the media and general public Thursday. But at least one of Pryce's former Ravens teammates said they knew about the defensive end's defection as early as Wednesday night.
"I found out last night," nose tackle Kelly Gregg said. "He called right after we got out of practice. It's just sad to see a guy like that go. He was instrumental in our defense and in our room, and it's just a crazy situation."
Added outside linebacker Jarret Johnson: "It sucks losing him. We were hoping to get him back next week. When you release a good player like him, there's always a possibility that another team will scoop him up."
Pryce's absence continued to resonate Thursday. His locker at the team's training facility remain untouched, and free safety Ed Reed wore Pryce's jersey during the open locker room session prior to practice.
Pryce was released by the team Wednesday to make room for safety Ken Hamlin, but coach John Harbaugh had been adamant that the roster move was not significant and that Pryce could return to Owings Mills as early as next week.
In signing with New York, Pryce reunites with former Ravens defensive coordinator and current Jets head coach Rex Ryan. Under Ryan between 2006 and 2008, Pryce registered 19½ sacks, including a career-best 13 sacks in 2006.
That year, Pryce was asked whether Ryan would be suitable head coach. "If he becomes a head coach, I'm going to find out and I'm going with him," Pryce had said at the time.
Although Pryce led the Ravens in sacks last season with 6½, the 35-year-old defensive end lost his starting job towards the middle of last season, and he agreed to a $2.5 million pay cut in the offseason to remain with the team.
But defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said Pryce never wavered in his belief that he could contribute.
"I know he feels like he's not done and that he has a little more left in his tank," Ngata said. "It's good that he was able to find another team."
Pryce will earn $2 million from the Ravens for this season and money on the one-year deal he signed with New York.