For former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb, the end of his playing career doesn't mean his love for Baltimore has waned, nor has it dampened his memories of the Ravens' Super Bowl-winning season in 2012.
Webb played in the NFL from 2009-2017, with every season coming in Charm City. He was a key piece of defensive units that also included the likes of other star defenders such as linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs and safety Ed Reed.
Drafted in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by Baltimore (No. 88 overall), Webb remembers his excitement knowing he was heading to an organization with a strong legacy on the defensive side of the ball. Even now he still shows love to the city he spent nine seasons playing for.
"I was able to be raised in the city of Baltimore with some great players and a great football city," Webb said on
Glenn Clark Radio
June 5. "It was a game I've been playing since I was 5 or 6 years old every day of my life. To say, 'Hey, I'm done, there will be no more football,' to know I won't be competing anymore, that was kind of tough. Knowing I was going to leave that locker room, leaving the guys behind in the locker room ... the whole experience, I'm starting to miss it."
Coming into the 2012 season, Webb was considered among the best defensive backs in the league. In 2011, he intercepted five passes, defensed 20 and started 15 games, and Webb signed a five-year, $50 million deal ahead of the 2012 season. It seemed he was poised for another big year, but he tore an ACL for the second time in his career during a Week 6 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. The injury kept him out the rest of the year, and the Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl.
Webb made it clear that despite being sidelined for the entirety of the postseason and most of the regular season, he knows he played a part in the success of that campaign.
"I have to take it how God gave it to me," Webb said. "He blessed me with a Super Bowl. I was a part of this organization my entire career. It happened in the middle, and it happened in a year I just got paid well. I just had signed a long-term deal to stay with Baltimore, so in the end, I felt like, 'OK, I'm a part of this Super Bowl.' I'm a part of those guys around me, the younger guys I helped groomed. And then I'm just a Baltimore Raven, and I'm a Super Bowl champion. I still look at my ring and I feel like a champion."
John Harbaugh is the only head coach Webb ever played for in the NFL. Harbaugh has amassed a record of 104-72 since joining the organization in 2008, and Webb explained how he has enjoyed such a fruitful, 11-year tenure.
"Me just knowing Harbaugh, I feel like he represents the Ravens," Webb explained. "He's our personality. When we go out there on Sundays, and when we practice every day, if you know how he is then you can say he definitely is the leader of the Ravens. He's hard-nosed, but he's also family first too. He can push you to the limits, but also love on you too."
"I just say he's stern. He wants it his way, [and] it's not going to go no other way," Webb added. "He has a way of putting his foot down, and that's why he continues to be there, and that’s why you'll always have a winning team in Baltimore."
Webb said in addition to the gridiron, the city of Baltimore made his time with the Ravens special, and he felt that giving back was one way he could repay the city. Webb now lives in Mississippi, but he still wants to work with young people in Baltimore, something he did through the Lardarius Webb Foundation as a player.
"I miss being in Baltimore. I live in Mississippi now, and it's just not the same," Webb said. "They treat me so well in Baltimore. ... I felt like I had a responsibility there, giving back to the youth, [and] I'm still not done with Baltimore. I'll be back still giving my leadership and mentorship to my Boys and Girls Club and to the kids around the area."
To hear more from Webb, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox