“My role for now is coming out and work hard and earn my playing time,” said Zuttah when asked about his role with the Ravens. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
On March 15, the Ravens traded starting center Jeremy Zuttah and their sixth-round pick in the NFL draft in April to move up 12 spots in the sixth round.
Five months later, Zuttah was back with the organization after agreeing on Friday to a two-year contract that includes a base salary of about $4 million and could increase to as much as $6 million based on certain incentives, according to the NFL Network.
So did he ever envision returning to the team after the trade?
"Uh, no," he replied flatly without elaborating after Saturday morning's practice in Owings Mills.
Zuttah's lack of verboseness extended to questions about his role on an offensive line that has lost starting left guard Alex Lewis (torn left labrum) and rookie guard Nico Siragusa (torn ACL, MCL, and PCL in left knee) and has been missing tackles Ronnie Stanley (undisclosed) and Stephane Nembot (unspecified) for the past week.
Since the trade in March, Jensen has been working as the starting center. But coach John Harbaugh said he views Zuttah as primarily a center with playing guard as an emergency situation.
"I think they're both in play," Harbaugh said. "We'll do whatever is best for the Ravens, and best players play. ... That's how we do it – always have, always will. We'll see how it plays out. I love competition.
"I'm sure all those guys in there want to start, so they'll have to earn it. That's what they'll try to do."
One advantage for Jensen is that he has absorbed the run and pass blocking schemes under senior offensive assistant Greg Roman and offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris. But Zuttah, who is entering his 10th year in the league, expressed confidence in his ability to pick up the nuances of the new system.
"I ran a lot of offenses through the first nine years of my career," he said. "So it's just really about translating everything. Everybody calls something a little different. So it's just that new wording and terminology, but it's all the same thing."