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Quarterback Joe Callahan joins Ravens, reunites with Greg Roman

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Joe Callahan during a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets in Philadelphia, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Joe Callahan during a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets in Philadelphia, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (Matt Rourke / AP)

When the Ravens called, there was no decision for quarterback Joe Callahan to make. Callahan said five minutes after they called offering a position, he packed up his car and drove to Baltimore.

Callahan, a free agent who spent time with the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, worked out with the Ravens about a week ago. He said he’s had conversations with other teams as well, but nothing was more than talk until the Ravens called, looking for another quarterback after Robert Griffin III’s hand injury.

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Wednesday was Callahan’s first day practicing with the team, and coach John Harbaugh said he looked good.

Callahan said he felt good, too, considering he only had one day to study the playbook. Starting quarterback Lamar Jackson has helped him get as up to speed as he can in the short time he’s been with the Ravens.

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The move reunites Callahan with Greg Roman, the Ravens offensive coordinator. Roman was the offensive coordinator at Holy Spirit High School (N.J.) during Callahan’s sophomore year.

Before being coached by Roman, Callahan had spent his freshman season switching between quarterback and safety with another player. Roman turned him into a quarterback, and they won the New Jersey state championship that year.

Callahan said he remembers a few of the plays Roman ran with them and that he was lucky to have him as a coach.

“He was definitely trying to dumb down some NFL level stuff to a group of high school kids with a really young core,” Callahan said. “He was a good coach and I think really helped accelerate my learning process.”

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Callahan, who was a Division III All-American at Wesley, has appeared in one regular-season game, completing five of seven passes for 11 yards with the Packers in 2016.

Defense tests Jackson

When safety Earl Thomas III reached up and snagged Jackson’s pass, he did it so smoothly that cornerback Marlon Humphrey thought he was a receiver — until he started running in the opposite direction and into the end zone for a pick-six.

“It felt good for everyone,” Humphrey said.

Thomas especially looked like he was feeling good as he ran to the sidelines yelling and celebrating.

Harbaugh said Thomas looks smoother, and Humphrey, who batted down Jackson’s pass the play before, said they’ve already been affected by the veteran safety’s energy.

“I feel like that’s going to be the story of this year, man: Earl making plays, the whole secondary flying to the ball,” Humphrey said.

The defense might be clicking and coming up with turnovers, but Humphrey said Jackson is improving as well. Whatever he did in the five weeks between mandatory minicamp and training camp, “he made some serious strides,” Humphrey said.

The team hopes Jackson will only continue to improve as the defense tests him.

“Our defense is going to make plays, and he’s going to be surprised,” Harbaugh said. “But to have to deal with those guys back there on the other side has got to be a plus for a developing quarterback.”

All but three Ravens practicing

The Ravens’ list of players absent from the field has shrunk to three.

Offensive lineman Alex Lewis is still on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and guard Randin Crecelius was not practicing either.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith was absent for personal reasons.

Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, cornerback Tavon Young and offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor have all returned to practice, although Brown is still limited.

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