Defensive tackle Justin Bannan, who was cut by the Denver Broncos on Thursday, said he is interested in returning to the Ravens.
"I love that place," said Bannan, who spent four seasons with the Ravens before leaving for the Broncos for the 2010 season. "I love Baltimore. I still keep in contact with a lot of guys back there. They're family to me, the Ravens organization is family to me. So that's a definite possibility. It just depends on what they've got to do. There's a lot of things that go into it, but they know how I feel about them and I know how they feel about me. I'm still the same guy. I'm healthy, I'm ready to go, I feel great. I've made it through the years strong."
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Bannan started all 16 games for Denver as the left end in that defense's 3-4 alignment and recorded 35 tackles, one sack and four pass break-ups. Those numbers fell slightly short of his 2008 campaign with the Ravens when he posted 45 tackles, one sack and three pass break-ups in 15 starts.
Bannan, 31, could be an inexpensive option to replace nose tackle Kelly Gregg, who is 34 years old and registered a career-low 38 tackles this past year. Bannan, however, said he would not want to be the one to push Gregg into the sunset."Kelly's like my brother," Bannan said. "If he's able to go another year, he's going to go another year. It shouldn't come down to whether Kelly is going to stay or go. I've played with Kelly and [defensive tackle] Haloti Ngata at the same time, so who knows? I really don't know what's going to happen at this point. I just don't know. Everything's in limbo, and it's a tough deal."
While Bannan is still tight with Gregg, Ngata, outside linebacker Jarret Johnson and defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, another option could be the New York Jets, where Bannan would re-join coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, defensive coordinator and former Ravens linebackers coach Mike Pettine and former Ravens Bart Scott, Trevor Pryce and Jim Leonhard.
"Yeah, that's the same type of thing," Bannan conceded. "A lot of my old coaches are over there. It's kind of like shared custody of a child. That's part of my gang over there, and my main gang is in Baltimore. So who knows?"
Bannan said he was still absorbing his release from the Broncos, who had signed him to a five-year, $22 million contract in March that included a $6.3 million signing bonus and $10.5 million in guarantees.
But Bannan said Denver asked him to take a pay cut, and when he declined, the organization waived him.
"I've got a pregnant wife on my hands, and she's upset," Bannan said of his wife Sommer who is due on Sept. 10. "We thought we had a home base for at least a little bit. Our world really just got turned upside down today. So it really came as quite a shock, and it's very upsetting to me and my family. We're going to have to take a step back and see what the next move is going to be."