When the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't keep Daryl Smith two years ago, it was a business decision influenced by a recent lack of durability from the veteran middle linebacker.
Smith was coming off an injury-plagued 2012 season in which he underwent surgery for a groin injury and was limited to two games.
Two years later, Smith has been extremely durable and productive for the Ravens. Since joining the Ravens before last season, Smith has 225 tackles, six sacks, four interceptions and four forced fumbles in 29 games.
Smith, 32, was signed to a four-year, $16 million contract in March to remain with the Ravens after he played in 2013 under with a one-year, $2.125 million deal.
A 2004 second-round draft pick by the Jaguars from Georgia Tech, Smith said he has no hard feelings toward Jacksonville heading into Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I had a good nine years down there, and I'm in Baltimore now," Smith said. "I'm definitely thankful I got an opportunity and I love being here. I'm happy here. At the end of the day, we're here to win games. I'm just happy to have these games mean something at this time of the year."
After leading the Ravens with 125 tackles last season and also recording five sacks and three interceptions, Smith ranks second on the defense behind rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley with 100 tackles, one sack, one interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery this year.
"Daryl's a great teammate and a great player," outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil said. "It's the cost of doing business sometimes. I've been there, being released. To have Daryl on our team has been tremendous. He's the quarterback of our defense. He's been very dominant as of late."
The Ravens have had very few injury concerns to deal with involving Smith. He hasn't missed a game in two seasons.
"That's a double-edged sword," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Smith, acknowledging the team had some worries about his health initially. "You look at it two ways. You wonder if it's a trend or what you hope for is that that's the reason he didn't have more production and things like that. Healthy, he would get back to his form. We bet on that and it paid off for us.
"We really thought the world of Daryl as a player. He always played great against us. Then you study the tape and you say, 'He's a really, really good football player.' And then [linebackers coach] Ted Monachino was with him down there, as you know, and he couldn't speak any more highly of him as a professional and as a person. We had a real need at linebacker, so it turned out to be a perfect fit for us."