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Baltimore Ravens

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta would ‘love’ to re-sign DL Calais Campbell; injury updates on LT Ronnie Stanley, RB J.K. Dobbins | NOTES

Indianapolis — Defensive lineman Calais Campbell is coming back for a 15th NFL season. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta hopes it’ll be in Baltimore.

DeCosta said at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday that Campbell, a pending free agent, had already communicated his desire to play in 2022. Campbell confirmed those intentions publicly last month, when he said on Sky Sports’ Super Bowl telecast that he still has “a desire to go out there and play football and to compete.”

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Now the Ravens have to prove they’re the best fit for Campbell, who turns 36 in September and would be one of the top defensive linemen available in free agency. Over two seasons and 27 games in Baltimore, the six-time Pro Bowl selection recorded 5 ½ sacks, 22 quarterback hits, 10 tackles for loss and seven passes defended. Campbell had just 1 ½ sacks last year, but he still ranked among the NFL’s most double-teamed defensive tackles and helped anchor one of the league’s best run defenses.

“I have a lot of admiration for Calais as a person and as a player and as a leader,” DeCosta said. “I’m hopeful that we can bring him back. We’d love to bring him back. He’s a guy that plays winning football and he does as much for the team and the organization in the building as he does on the field. I have a lot of respect for him.”

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The Ravens’ defensive line could be overhauled this offseason, with tackles Brandon Williams and Justin Ellis also headed to free agency and team officials managing a tight salary cap. Run stuffers are still highly valued in Baltimore, DeCosta said, but he acknowledged that the team’s interior pass rush has room for improvement.

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“We have always believed, and still believe, that you’ve got to stop the run,” he said. “That’s kind of a Ravens tenet. On the other hand, teams are throwing the ball more and more, teams are using the passing game more and more. The running game is maybe not what it was for most teams five years ago, 10 years ago. We’ve always wanted a strong defensive line, guys that could two-gap and stop the run. In saying that, we also want guys that can rush the passer.”

Injury updates

Less than a month after saying he was “optimistic” about left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s recovery from a second straight season-ending ankle injury, DeCosta offered another hopeful update on the All-Pro’s rehabilitation.

“I feel like I can say Ronnie feels farther ahead now than he did at the same stage last year,” DeCosta said. Stanley, who has been limited to just seven games over the past two years, appeared in the Ravens’ season opener in September after a limited preseason but did not play again. He underwent his third ankle surgery in a 12-month span in October.

“He’s excited. He’s very optimistic. I think he’s working hard,” DeCosta added. “As an organization, we’re very optimistic. As I said before, I’m not going to make the same mistake. We’ll have contingency plans moving forward. But we’re optimistic that Ronnie is making good progress.”

DeCosta also said the Ravens are “very confident” that running back J.K. Dobbins, who missed last season with a torn ACL, will “really flourish this year.” Before he went down with a season-ending knee injury in the Ravens’ preseason finale, Dobbins was poised to build on a rookie season in which he led all NFL running backs in yards per carry (6.0).

“It was certainly a big blow losing J.K. and then Gus Edwards and then Justice Hill,” DeCosta said. “All three of our guys, three of our mainstay players, losing those guys in the span of two weeks was very, very challenging as an organization.

“Saying that, we are very confident that those guys will all come back this year and play winning football for us. J.K., specifically, obviously suffered a serious knee injury. But he’s a young player. He’s a hungry player. He’s got a great mindset. He’s been working very, very hard and we are very, very confident that he’ll come back and be the type of player that he was two years ago.”

Extra points

  • DeCosta said the Ravens, as always, will be receptive to trade offers this offseason. “I think sometimes there’s a conservative nature where people say, ‘You know what, it’s almost better to not make a trade than to expose yourself potentially and say, “Why did I make that trade? It was a bad trade.” We’ll always be open to any situation.”
  • With the Ravens expected to meet with player agents in Indianapolis this week, DeCosta indicated that more roster moves could be completed soon. In some cases, the Ravens can create salary cap space by converting salaries to bonuses and by releasing players. “We have had multiple discussions and meetings on the moves that we feel we need to make moving forward. I think in the coming weeks, you’ll start to see us make roster moves and transactions.”
  • DeCosta praised the team’s top returning wide receivers, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Rashod Bateman. He said Brown “made great strides this year” in finishing with a career-high 91 catches for 1,008 yards despite instability at quarterback and along the offensive line. “We think the very, very best is yet to come with him.” Bateman, meanwhile, a first-round pick in 2021, impressed DeCosta with his attitude and willingness to compete. “We think he’s going to make a big, big jump this year in his second year. We’re very excited for his future.”

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