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Ravens notes: John Harbaugh says safety Tony Jefferson is ‘close’ to returning

Tony Jefferson missed his seventh consecutive practice Wednesday, but Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the starting safety has made progress in overcoming his injured left ankle.

“He’s close,” Harbaugh said before Wednesday afternoon’s session. “He tells me he’s going to play, and [head athletic trainer] Ron [Medlin] says we need to see him run at full speed. So we’ll be looking for that this week. He told he was going to play last week. He told me he was going to play the week before that. So that’s Tony. But I’ve got my fingers crossed.”

Jefferson has not been on the field since suffering his injury in the second quarter of a 34-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 25. Jefferson, who wore a walking boot after the game, did not appear to limp while walking through the locker room Wednesday, but declined to talk to media because he had to get treatment.

Jefferson, who still ranks second on the team in tackles (61) and is the only Raven with at least one sack, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this season, has been replaced by Chuck Clark, who collected the first interception of his NFL career in Sunday’s 27-24 overtime loss at the Kansas City Chiefs.

In addition to Jefferson, the secondary practiced Wednesday without cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey (groin) and Tavon Young (groin), free safety Eric Weddle (not injury related) and defensive back Anthony Levine Sr. (ankle).

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree and right guard Marshal Yanda also did not participate, but they likely benefitted from veteran days.

Left guard Alex Lewis was limited by a left shoulder injury, while quarterbacks Joe Flacco (right hip) and rookie Lamar Jackson (ankle) and outside linebacker Tim Williams (right ankle) were full participants.

Hello, old friend

When the Ravens welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, they will see a familiar face at center. Ryan Jensen, the franchise’s second of two sixth-round picks in the 2013 NFL draft, will return for the first time since signing a four-year, $42 million contract that made him the highest-paid center in the league.

Nose tackle Michael Pierce, who said he was Jensen’s workout partner last season, said he anticipates the normally feisty Jensen to be even more mischievous against his former teammates.

“I’m sure he’ll be hyped up to be back here,” Pierce said of Jensen, who has been penalized nine times, including four for unnecessary roughness. “He knows one way to play football, just as we do. So everything that he does, we expect, and we’ll be ready for it.”

M. Williams’ keepsake

Maxx Williams 10-yard touchdown catch Sunday was his first foray into the end zone since Dec. 23, 2017, when he scored on a 4-yard reception against the Indianapolis Colts.

The tight end said the score would have been more meaningful if the team won, but he now has four footballs from one preseason and three regular-season touchdown catches he has made in his four-year career.

“It’s hard to score in this league, which a lot of people know,” he said. “I want to be able to look back at the special moments that I had in my career when I’m done playing, and if I’m fortunate enough to have kids, I want to be able to show them and tell stories. It’s something I’ll always want to remember, being in the league and having those special moments to score.”

Extra points

The Buccaneers practiced without a pair of starters in safety Justin Evans (toe) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (thumb). Four other starters in rookie cornerback Carlton Davis III (knee), right tackle Demar Dotson (knee), defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (shoulder) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee/hip) were limited. … The Ravens announced Wednesday morning they had added offensive tackle Jake Rodgers to the practice squad. Rodgers was a seventh-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons and has spent time with New York Giants, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Rodgers filled the vacancy created by the departure of guard Nico Siragusa, who was signed by the Green Bay Packers to their active roster.

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