Ravens guard Marshal Yanda, a week into a four-year, $37.4 million contract extension that keeps him in the organization through 2019 and could allow him to retire a Raven, said the agreement reached Friday allows him to "stay here and to be able to, hopefully, end on my own terms."
"It was awesome," Yanda said Thursday, his first comments about the extension since it was signed. "I wanted to stay here the whole time, and they got pretty serious the last couple of weeks with negotiating. Everything worked out. I'm fired up about it.
"It's just tough. Obviously, you sign the contract, but then obviously, you go to work. We're fighting, we're grinding, so it's one of the things where I'm excited about it, but also we're in the fight right now, the battle with football. We just got to keep fighting."
Citing the team's struggles, Yanda did not speak about the contract after a 25-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers dropped the Ravens to 1-5.
But with their next game still days away, he elaborated on the negotiation process and what it means for him to sign a third deal with the Ravens, who developed him into a star from a third-round draft pick in 2007.
Yanda said his representatives began negotiating with the Ravens "a little bit" in the spring as he entered the final year of his existing contract.
"You think about it a little bit, but at that point, we were a ways away," Yanda said
He said he was prepared to ride that deal into free agency this April, understanding both he and the team had interests to protect.
"You stay patient and you hope it works out at the end, and it definitely did," he said. "I'm glad to get it done before, not wait till the end of the year just because you don't want to have to worry about it. Now, I can just worry about playing football, playing at a high level, doing my part for this team. Hopefully, we start winning."
That's Yanda's short-term benefit, but the long-term benefit is he might join a small group of players, including Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden and middle linebacker Ray Lewis to spend their entire careers as Ravens.
"It would be something special, that's for sure," Yanda said. "Obviously, they drafted me here, and to be able to stay here and retire here would be awesome. But I understand, that's a long ways away and that's a lot of work away, too. I've got to stay healthy, too, and keep playing at a high level. … But the cool thing is I do get to decide at the end, as far as my play and hopefully staying injury-free, that I can fill that out. That's a ways down the road, but still, like I said, very excited about it."