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Ravens sign former starting Lions safety Jayron Kearse to practice squad

The Ravens have signed safety Jayron Kearse to their practice squad, the team announced Thursday, giving the defense a potential playoff contributor.

Kearse practiced Thursday, indicating he’d cleared the NFL’s coronavirus protocol for new acquisitions. He started 11 games this season for the Detroit Lions before they released him Monday, reportedly for violating team rules. According to the Detroit Free Press, Kearse left the team hotel without permission and was late for bed check before the Lions’ loss Saturday to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Kearse has 59 tackles, two passes defended and a forced fumble in 11 games. A seventh-round draft pick in 2016, he started five games over four years with the Minnesota Vikings.

The Ravens, who would clinch a playoff berth with a win Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals, have relied heavily on starting safeties DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark this season. Both have started all 15 games and played over 98% of the team’s defensive snaps. But there’s little proven depth behind them.

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Anthony Levine Sr. and Jordan Richards are primarily special teams contributors. Rookie safety Geno Stone, who rarely played in Baltimore this season, was claimed off waivers Wednesday by the Houston Texans. And cornerback Jimmy Smith, who can play snaps at safety, has been limited in recent weeks by injuries.

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