After a record-setting regular-season, the Ravens entered the postseason as the Super Bowl favorites. They fell short, knocked out by the sixth-seeded Tennessee Titans in the divisional round.
While Lamar Jackson and Co. won’t be making a the trip to Miami for Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2, a few former Ravens players are — including a potential Hall of Famer and a new playoff record-holder.
Chiefs outside linebacker Terrell Suggs
Suggs, the 10th overall pick by the Ravens in 2003, spent his first 16 seasons in Baltimore, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2003 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, two-time All-Pro and Super Bowl XLVII champion, Suggs was the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks (132½) and games played (229) when he signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the hometown Arizona Cardinals in March 2019, with $7 million guaranteed.
He told reporters in September that the decision “was a tough one. I wrestled with it, kind of made a decision in the last hour. But as you know, as time has shown, I think both teams made the best decision. It worked out for everybody.”
In October, former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, who co-hosts a WFAN show with Maggie Gray, said Suggs had gone to the Ravens in free agency this past offseason and told them, “I love this organization too much to steal from.”
“He said, ‘I’m going to go to Arizona and steal,’ ” Scott said. “Yes, swear to God. … And he’s still a good player, but he’s not worth the $7 million that he’s getting paid. He’s probably worth $4 million. So he said, ‘I’m not going to make you pay me $7 million, because that’s what the market says. I’m going to get it from Arizona.’ This is fact.”
His time in Arizona was short, as the Cardinals released him after 13 games, in which he recorded 5½ sacks, 37 tackles and four forced fumbles, but didn’t record a full sack after Week 7. Although he reportedly angled to rejoin the Ravens, indicating that he wouldn’t report to any other team that claimed him besides Baltimore, the Chiefs added Suggs, and he played limited snaps in the final two regular-season games. He had one tackle and a near-interception in Kansas City’s 35-24 win over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC championship game Sunday.
“I think I can come in and contribute right off the bat,” Suggs said when he arrived in Kansas City. “This was a team that was what, a penalty away from the Super Bowl? You’re not really missing much. Hopefully I can add that last addition and we can do something special.”
49ers running back Raheem Mostert
After playing for seven teams in his first four years in the NFL, Mostert entered 2019 as an afterthought, buried on the San Francisco depth chart behind Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. Slowly, he gained more playing time, finishing the regular season with a career-best 772 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Over the final five games, he played at least 50% of the offensive snaps.
On Sunday, he became the first NFL player to rush for at least 200 yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.
Mostert’s time in Baltimore was brief, but strange. An undrafted free agent from Purdue, he joined the Ravens in October 2015 after being claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins. After impressing the Ravens coaches and officials during the preseason, he played seven games with the Ravens, mostly on special teams as a kick returner. He didn’t have a carry or catch a pass in the regular season. The Ravens waived him after two months.
“I didn’t really have a good experience when I was here, but I made the most out of my opportunities,” Mostert told NBC Sports after rushing for 146 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries in a 20-17 loss to the Ravens in Week 13. “I wasn’t holding onto a grudge, but I really did want to show the organization what they missed out on.”
His time with the Ravens, he said, ended unceremoniously.
“I was there for eight weeks already, and they decided they wanted to cut me after one game,” Mostert said. “I don’t know what the situation was. They decided they were going to cut me. I go into the office, and they tell me I’m being released and for me to go back home to my apartment. And they called me back in and said, ‘Ah, just kidding, we’re not going to release [you].’ ”
The Ravens officially released him a week later, and after short stints with the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Chicago Bears, he landed in San Francisco. He said after the 49ers’ 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday that he still looks at a list of the days he’s been cut for motivation.
“The journey’s been crazy," he said. "Not everybody can deal with that type of stress, and the pain and agony that I went through. I kept the faith in not only myself, but whoever gave me the opportunity.”
49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk
Juszczyk was a fourth-round pick by the Ravens in 2013 and grew into a big part of the offense, earning a Pro Bowl nod in his final season in Baltimore in 2016. He wasn’t just a lead-blocking fullback — considered a dying breed in the NFL, until a recent resurgence — but was often used as a tight end or wide receiver and as a third-down back. He even became a core special teams player.
In his final season with the Ravens, Juszczyk played 41% of the Ravens’ offensive snaps and 70% of the special teams plays. He caught 97 passes for 769 yards and five touchdowns over his last three seasons in Baltimore, earning a four-year, $21 million free-agent contract from the 49ers in 2017.
Since then, he’s become a valuable part of San Francisco’s offense, earning Pro Bowl honors each of the past three seasons while catching 83 passes for 878 yards and three touchdowns and rushing 18 times for 68 yards, mostly on short-yardage situations. Oh, and he’s still a pretty good lead blocker, too.
Others with ties to Ravens or Maryland
Chiefs coach Andy Reid: Reid himself doesn’t have any ties to Maryland or the Ravens, but he was a big influence on Ravens coach John Harbaugh. A holdover from Ray Rhodes’ coaching staff when Reid took over the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999, Harbaugh was retained as special teams coordinator.
"Andy did not have to give me a chance coming in at the time,” Harbaugh recalled in 2018. “I’m sure he had a lot of people he knew, but he decided to take a chance on me, and like I said, I’ll be forever grateful for that.”
Harbaugh is 1-4 against Reid, with his lone win coming in 2008 over the Eagles. His Ravens have never beaten the Chiefs, including losses in 2018 and 2019.
“I learned a great many things from him, and watching his tape now, I still learn a great many things from him,” Harbaugh said in 2018. “Yes, he’s certainly at the top of the business in what he does.”
Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller: Fuller is from Baltimore and went to Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney. The Washington Redskins took the Virginia Tech cornerback No. 84 overall in the 2016 NFL draft, and he became the fourth Fuller brother to play in the NFL. Cornerback Kyle Fuller was a 2014 first-round pick of the Bears, while Corey, a wide receiver, was a 2013 sixth-round pick of the Detroit Lions and Vincent, a safety, was a 2005 fourth-rounder of the Titans.
Considered the top recruit in Maryland in 2012, Kendall Fuller was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a true freshman and a second-team All-American in 2014, finishing his college career with 35 passes defended and eight interceptions.
The 24-year-old is playing in his second season with the Chiefs after being dealt from Washington, along with a third-round pick, to Kansas City for quarterback Alex Smith. Fuller missed five games with a broken thumb this season and struggled when he was on the field, posting a 55.3 coverage grade and a 131.4 passer rating allowed on his 33 targets, per scouting website Pro Football Focus.
However, he has become a hybrid-safety corner in coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, and has received more playing time with safety Juan Thornhill suffering a season-ending injury at the end of the regular season.
“Kendall Fuller, he kind of plays everywhere,” coach Andy Reid said a week ago as the Chiefs prepared to play the Houston Texans in the divisional round. “And he’s a brilliant guy with a great football mind. ... I always tell him that he’d be a great coach. He knows everything. He wants to know everything.”
He’s also switched his jersey number from 23 to 29, which was worn by former Chiefs All-Pro safety Eric Berry.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo: Spagnuolo, the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants when they upset the previously undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, was hired as the Ravens’ senior defensive assistant before the 2013 season and was promoted to assistant head coach/secondary coach in 2014. The Ravens finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs in 2013, a year after winning the Super Bowl, and went 10-6 and lost to the Patriots, 35-31, in the divisional round in 2014. Spagnuolo was rehired as the Giants defensive coordinator in 2015 and took the same job with the Chiefs at the beginning of this season after serving under Reid in Philadelphia from 1999 to 2006.
Chiefs offensive lineman Greg Senat: Senat was a sixth-round pick out of Wagner by the Ravens in 2018 and signed a four-year rookie contract with the team. He missed the Ravens’ first 10 practices of training camp because of a left foot injury, but returned and was considered the backup left tackle behind Ronnie Stanley. However, the 23-year-old posted a picture of himself in a walking boot on Twitter, drawing the ire of coach John Harbaugh, and was placed on injured reserve, ending his rookie season. When the Ravens promoted cornerback Maurice Canady to the 53-man roster ahead of a game against the Cardinals in Week 2 this season, Senat was waived in a corresponding move. The Chiefs picked him up off waivers, but he was again placed on IR on Nov. 2 with an undisclosed injury.