Ravens defensive back Anthony Levine Sr., who earned the nickname “Co-Cap” with his unfailing devotion to special teams play and his mentoring of younger teammates, has announced his retirement from the NFL after 12 seasons.
He will remain with the organization as a scout and coaching assistant.
In a team-produced video, Levine said he could not have landed in a better football home. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to me, besides my kids and my family,” he said. “That’s all I wanted to do; I wanted to make it to the NFL, not knowing that I would play in the best organization in the world.”
Levine, 34, began his NFL career in 2010 with the Packers, who signed him after he went undrafted out of Tennessee State. After two seasons on Green Bay’s practice squad, he joined the Ravens in September 2012 and appeared in his first game that November. Three months later, the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII.
Levine went on to play 10 seasons in Baltimore, at one point playing in 117 consecutive games. He occasionally filled a substantial role as a defensive back, most notably in 2017, when he finished with 29 tackles and three sacks, and 2018, when he finished with 28 tackles and eight passes defended. But he was better known for embracing a leadership role on the Ravens’ perennially excellent special teams, where he earned the “Co-Cap” nickname from linebacker Albert McClellan. He finished with a franchise-record 62 tackles in coverage.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh has never hidden his affection for players such as Levine, who remained on the team through numerous roster changes because of his willingness to take on unglamorous tasks. For example, he played just 31 defensive snaps but 402 special teams snaps in his final season.
“Tough, smart, persistent and dependable, Anthony represents the very best of what it means to be a Raven,” Harbaugh said in a statement Wednesday. “A relentless competitor and man of high character, Anthony poured every part of himself into the team. He worked tirelessly to become one of the NFL’s best special teams players, and he could always be relied upon to contribute at a high level on defense — no matter the role he was asked to play.”
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General manager Eric DeCosta echoed Harbaugh’s thoughts: “Anthony Levine is one of those rare players who beat the odds and became one of the best special teamers in the league over a 10-year span. ‘Co-Cap’ epitomizes mental grit, physical toughness and intelligence, and he has an uncanny ability to rally others. He also excelled on every phase of special teams and contributed on defense as a safety, nickel, dime and many other important roles. Anthony is a forever Raven, as selfless as they come.”
Special teams coordinator Chris Horton recalled how Levine “terrorized opponents” who prepared to face the Ravens’ coverage units. “When reflecting on Anthony’s career, one thing we always talked about is that the tape is our resume,” Horton said. “When you saw No. 41 playing on tape, you knew he was gaining the appreciation of the 31 other teams who were watching.”
On Twitter, tributes poured in from former Ravens teammates. Retired inside linebacker Zachary Orr said Levine “took me underneath his wings as a rookie and helped me grow as a player and a man.” Running back Mark Ingram Sr. said Levine was a “legendary baller” and “better human.” Defensive lineman Calais Campbell called him “one of the most respected men I’ve ever been around.”
In a November interview, Levine recalled one of his first interactions with then-rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. “When we first drafted Lamar [in 2018], I pulled him aside in the weight room … and I told him, I was just like, ‘Man, you have no idea of the impact that you’re going to have on these kids.’ And he was just, like, looking at me, like, ‘What do you mean?’”
Levine has also been among the Ravens players most active in community outreach. In 2017, he founded the Anthony Levine 4Every1 Foundation, which helps at-risk youth and their families through “mentorship, educational opportunities and life-changing experiences.” In February, Levine received a citation from state Del. Chanel Branch, a Baltimore Democrat, for his commitment to community service.
“I’m grateful, man,” Levine said in the Ravens’ video. “This is it. It’s been a great ride. It’s been fun.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Jonas Shaffer contributed to this article.