By the very nature of being employed by the Ravens, Willie Henry views the Cleveland Browns as the adversaries. But the defensive tackle’s feelings are tempered by the fact that one of his closest friends is a member of the Browns.
When the Ravens visit FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on Sunday, they will reacquaint themselves with Carl Davis, a defensive tackle who had spent the first three years of his career in Baltimore.
“It’s going to be weird because that was one of my closest friends on the team, and seeing him finally in a different team’s jersey on the other side as like an enemy — but he’s not an enemy because he’ll forever be my brother — it’ll be weird,” said Henry, who joined the organization one year after Davis did. “That’s still my dog, that’s still my brother, but it’s going to be weird. It’s all love, and it just comes with the game.”
“It’s going to hurt,” nose tackle Michael Pierce said of the inevitable reunion. “He’s like a big brother to me. So it’s going to be tough to see him there. We all talk to him at least once a week. He’s our brother. We don’t want that much success for him this week of course, but it’s going to be awesome to see him play and do well.”
Davis, 26, was the Ravens’ third-round draft pick in 2015 and made 11 tackles and two batted passes in 13 games (three starts) as a rookie. After an ankle injury in the preseason sidelined him for the entire 2016 season, Davis started nine games last year for defensive end Brent Urban (Lisfranc foot injury), finishing with 19 tackles, a half-sack and one tipped pass.
But the team released him Sept. 1, part of the final wave of cuts before the opening of the regular season. The next day, Cleveland claimed Davis off waivers. He has yet to make a start for the Browns and has only one tackle, but the statistics are not what matter to his former teammates.
“I think the whole D-line is happy for Carl,” nose tackle Chris Wormley said. “He’s playing well in Cleveland, and he gets to do what he loves. But I think it’s going to be a little bittersweet. Obviously, we want Carl to be here with us and playing with us like he was for the last three years. But it’s going to be fun seeing him out there. Hopefully, he doesn’t make too many plays against the guys, but we’re always happy for other guys’ success, especially guys that have been here with the Ravens.”
Henry and Wormley said they were not reaching out to Davis this week, while Pierce said he anticipated talking to Davis. They all agreed they expect Davis to share his knowledge of his former employer with his current employer to gain a competitive advantage, and coach John Harbaugh anticipates a strong showing from Davis.
“He was a Raven. Once a Raven, always a Raven,” Harbaugh said. “But I know he won’t be a Raven on Sunday. He’s a guy we have a lot of respect for as a player, and we expect to get his best game out here on Sunday.”