Jimmy Smith didn’t greet the team at the airport in the wee hours of Monday morning as New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram did, but the cornerback did return to the Ravens’ headquarters in Owings Mills the day after his four-game suspension was lifted.
“I haven’t spoken with Jimmy yet,” coach John Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. “I just haven’t had a chance with what we’re doing. Rumor has it he got here at 8 o’clock, I guess. He did not beat me in, for the record, but he was here and he’s been working out and those kinds of things. So we’re expecting him to practice Wednesday. Of course, we’ll have to make sure he’s physically ready to go. We’ll meet with trainers and all those kind of things to make sure he’s ready to go physically.”
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Smith sat out the first quarter of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after league investigators concluded that the 30-year-old cornerback threatened and inflicted emotional abuse on his ex-girlfriend. Smith is also seeking to rebound from a torn left Achilles tendon he suffered against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 3.
Smith, who has been the team’s top cornerback for several years, will try to reintegrate himself to a defense that ranks fourth against the pass, allowing 193.2 yards per game. Outside cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey and slot cornerback Tavon Young have fared well in Smith’s absence.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins leads the league in fumbles lost with three, but running back Alex Collins is part of a 10-member group that trails Cousins with two lost fumbles each.
Collins, who was stripped by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Coty Sensabaugh and safety Sean Davis (Maryland) at the Steelers’ 2-yard line with 12:39 left in the second quarter in Sunday night’s 26-14 win, fumbled the ball four times and lost two of them last season. Harbaugh alternately expressed concern about and faith in Collins’ ability to hold on to the ball.
“One thing about Alex is that his style lends to that a little bit,” he said. “I think that’s been kind of an issue throughout his career because he’s such an elusive guy and he tries so hard to make big plays all the time. That’s why he gets yardage. It’s one of the reasons. He runs very hard. But sometimes you expose the football when you do that, so yeah, fumbling is always troublesome. You can’t have it. It’s not worth it. So he’ll focus on that. One thing I know about Alex is he’ll make it his job one to hold on to the football. He knows that’s the expectation.”
Mosley ‘confident’ in knee
C.J. Mosley picked up where he left off. The middle linebacker finished Sunday night with a team-best eight tackles and added one pass breakup in his first game since suffering a bone bruise in his left knee on the third play of a 34-23 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 13.
Mosley, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who missed only the third start of his career when he was scratched from a 27-14 win against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 23, said he felt much better about playing against the Steelers than against the Broncos.
“It was just a day-to-day thing,” he said. “It wasn’t any ligaments or anything like that. So it was pretty much just how I felt going into the game. Last week, I wasn’t 100 percent ready. I wasn’t really 100 percent ready this game, but I felt more confident, and that was the main thing. I didn’t want to be out there with my guys and not be confident.”
Who gets the green dot?
Mosley’s return did not affect last week’s plan of having free safety Eric Weddle wear the defensive headset to communicate play calls from defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale to the rest of the defense.
Mosley has traditionally worn the helmet with the green dot affixed to it to denote the headset to officials, but Harbaugh said he did not know who would wear it Sunday at the Cleveland Browns.
“We haven’t talked about that yet,” he said. “There was a little question this week with C.J. coming back for the first game and whether he’d be able to make it through or not. That was kind of part of our thinking. If Eric has his say, he’ll probably want to keep the dot. I know how he thinks. So we’ll have to make that as the week goes on.”
On Thursday, Martindale said a player earns his “badge of honor” as a Raven after beating Pittsburgh. That means 26 players on the active roster got their badges after Sunday night’s win, a group that includes 12 members of the rookie class. But veteran players such as strong safety Tony Jefferson are also part of the exclusive club. “It’s huge,” Jefferson said. “This is the first time in my career beating the Steelers. So I’m excited about that.” … Harbaugh said the team dedicated a game ball in memory of Bobbi Engram, the daughter of wide receivers coach Bobby Engram and his wife, Deanna, who died Aug. 25 at the age of 20 and had battled sickle cell anemia. “Everybody’s kid gets to travel to a game, and it’s been just a great experience for the coaches’ families,” Harbaugh said. “Her list, her No. 1 — she would have had it because she’s one of the oldest kids — her No. 1 game was at Pittsburgh. That’s the one she wanted. She was with us today in our hearts, and that’s where the game ball went.” … The Ravens-Steelers game Sunday night was the highest rated prime-time program on TV with a 12.3 rating and 21 share overnight, making it the highest rated Ravens-Steelers game since 2011. The rating and share in Pittsburgh was 42.7/60, while Baltimore had a 32.3/49, according to the Nielsen overnight ratings provided by NBC. That means that three out of every five TVs in use in Pittsburgh were tuned to the game, while almost half were in Baltimore. Those were the markets with the largest audiences.
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Baltimore Sun reporter David Zurawik contributed to this article.