Ex-Ravens safety returns to Baltimore at the right time

Following the devastating injury to cornerback Marlon Humphrey on December 5, the Baltimore Ravens have signed ex-Ravens safety Tony Jefferson to bolster their secondary.

On December 13, just hours after Jefferson participated in an official workout in Baltimore, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced the signing during a press conference.

"He looked good," Harbaugh said of Jefferson's workout, which was first reported by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Jefferson had hinted at a reunion with the Ravens several times in the week leading up to his signing.

After All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey suffered a season-ending injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 5, Jefferson gave a cryptic response to a fan's call for the Ravens to re-sign him.

On December 12, he was tweeting about the Ravens' Week 15 game against the Cleveland Browns when a fan asked him to "please come back" to Baltimore.

"Bout to land," Jefferson responded on Twitter, a remark that would have gotten more attention if it hadn't been for Lamar Jackson's game-ending ankle injury and a wild second half in Cleveland.

According to team writer Ryan Mink, Jefferson spent the first four years of his career with the Arizona Cardinals before signing a four-year, dollar34 million contract with the Ravens.

In both 2017 and 2018, he was among the team's top three tacklers, but a knee injury the following season cut his first season in Baltimore short.

Jefferson did not play in 2020, but he returned to the NFL this season with the San Francisco 49ers, appearing in two games and spending almost all of his time on special teams.

Jefferson's experience and locker room leadership would likely help the Ravens in this area as well, giving his return even more value.

Nonetheless, the Ravens' secondary is so thin that another injury could force Jefferson to play defense.

DeSharius Washington and Ar'Darius Washington have already been ruled out for the season, leaving the Ravens with only four safeties on the roster: starter Chuck Clark and rookie Brandon Stephens, as well as Geno Stone and Anthony Levine Sr.

While Stone would be the next man up if Clark or Stephens were to get hurt andndash; he briefly replaced Stephens in Pittsburgh on December 5 andndash; Levine Sr. hasn't played a single defensive snap all season, despite the Ravens' plethora of injuries.

This indicates that the Ravens' coaching staff no longer has faith in the 34-year-old veteran defensive back.

Jefferson "looked good" during his workout, according to Harbaugh, who added that he was "in shape" and "moving well."

"It's fun. It'll be great," the longtime Ravens coach smiled as he told the media about the reunion with Jefferson.

Jefferson reacted to the Ravens' Twitter announcement of his return to Baltimore by expressing his joy at the prospect of seeing his old teammates again.

Several Ravens writers and fans greeted Jefferson's return to Baltimore with fond memories of his previous time with the team.

According to Ravens' Garrett Downing, who tweeted that Jefferson is "a highly respected person in this organization," Jefferson was a fan favorite during his first stint in Baltimore.

With the Ravens' defensive backs dropping like flies in the last month, look for Jefferson to make an appearance on game day before the regular season ends.

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