A hamstring pull relegated Tony Jefferson to spectator status during the Ravens’ joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams on Monday and Tuesday at the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills.
The starting strong safety watched both sessions from the sideline, and he said not being able to participate is frustrating.
“I’m dying inside,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve been pressing on my trainer, and I know he’s sick of me asking when I can go out there. But I’ve got to do the necessary procedures so that I can play.”
While calling the pull “nothing really serious,” Jefferson agreed with the medical staff’s decision to keep him off the field.
“Obviously, with hamstrings, you don’t want to let those linger,” he said, adding that he does not have a timetable for his return this preseason. “So we’re going to let that fully heal and go from there.”
Jefferson, 26, ranked third on the defense in tackles last season with 79 and added 2½ sacks, two pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble. But since suffering the injury July 27, he has sat out six of the past seven practices.
Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said the long layoff will not prevent Jefferson from picking up where he left off.
“He’s a professional,” Martindale said. “And he came in in great shape. I think he’ll be fine. I don’t think this hurts him, I really don’t.”
Jefferson’s absence has been filled by second-year pro Chuck Clark and rookie DeShon Elliott, with the former making an interception and the latter forcing a fumble in Thursday night’s 17-16 win against the Chicago Bears. Jefferson said he has enjoyed watching their performances.
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“Chuck, he’s been here, he’s smart,” he said. “He’s one of the guys. We look at him as one of our guys, and DeShon is coming along well. Coming from the Big 12 to the NFL is a lot different, but he’s been picking it up fine. He’s a playmaker, and they’re both playmakers. So we’re excited to have them both in our room.”