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John Harbaugh: Marcus Peters Addition 'Big Move' For Ravens

October 16, 2019
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called the addition of Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters "a good fit." Safety Earl Thomas called it a "great move." Cornerback Brandon Carr said, "The message is we want to win now."

Indeed, Harbaugh and players praised not only the addition of Peters -- who was acquired from the Los Angeles Rams in a trade Oct. 15 in exchange for inside linebacker Kenny Young and a 2020 draft pick, believed to be a fifth-rounder -- but also the decisive move taken by general manager Eric DeCosta to shore up a unit has been hit hard by injuries this season. 

"It's a big move, and I like the aggressive approach," Harbaugh said as he met with the media before practice Oct. 16. "We're excited about it."

Peters was on his way to Baltimore and was not on the field for the team's practice Oct. 16, but Harbaugh said he expects Peters to practice the rest of the week and to play "as much as he can" when the AFC North-leading Ravens (4-2) face the Seattle Seahawks (5-1) Oct. 20.

Peters played against the Seahawks just two weeks ago; he had two tackles and fumble recovery in Seattle's 30-29 win against the Rams Oct. 3. 

Peters, 26, was named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 after leading the league with eight interceptions. He has 24 career interceptions, the most in the league since 2015. 
He has faced character concerns after disciplinary issues both at the University of Washington and with the Kansas City Chiefs, who drafted Peters at No. 18 overall in 2015, but Harbaugh said the Ravens liked Peters coming into the draft that year and "every chance we've had to cross paths since has been very positive. I always appreciate the way he plays, and he's a good fit for our defense."

Peters will join a Ravens secondary that has been hit hard by injuries. Top slot cornerback Tavon Young is out all season with a neck injury, and veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith has missed five straight games with a sprained knee. Cornerback Maurice Canady, who was promoted from the practice squad three weeks ago, is dealing with a hamstring injury. 

In addition, safeties Tony Jefferson, DeShon Elliott and Byrnden Trawick, and rookie cornerback Iman Marshall, are all on injured reserve. 

With Smith sidelined, teams have consciously been throwing away from cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level this year, and Thomas said the addition of Peters gives the Ravens a pair of "top-five corners."

"I think it's a great move," Thomas said. "I think we have two top-five corners playing on the same team with him and Marlon, so it's definitely going to help us out in the back end and the whole defense."

NOTEBOOK

THOMAS PREPARES FOR SEATTLE REUNION:  Thomas said he has "no emotions yet" about returning to face the Seahawks, the team he spent nine years with before a bitter split last season, and said he's focused more on the game plan this week against dynamic quarterback Russell Wilson.

Thomas said he will "take it as it comes" regarding any reunion with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, with whom Thomas had a public falling out last season. Thomas and the Seahawks could not work out a new contract and then Thomas' season ended prematurely with a broken leg. As he was carted off the field, Thomas made an obscene gesture toward Carroll on the Seahawks' sideline. 

But that acrimony aside, Thomas said, "I definitely respect and love the organization. They gave me my first shot. I won so many games there. I grew up as a young man there. ... I'm always going to respect the organization, and I'm always going to be a part of it, especially winning the Super Bowl [against Denver after the 2013 season]."

As for the reception he expects from Seahawks fans, Thomas said, "Hopefully they respect what I've done, and I'll get a couple of cheers and not too many boos."

SMITH RETURNS TO PRACTICE: Cornerback Jimmy Smith, who has not played since spraining his right knee in the season opener, returned to practice Oct. 16, taking part in individual drills with a brace on his right knee. 

Smith's availability for the Seahawks game won't be known until later this week, but his return to the field increases the chances that he could return after the bye week for the Ravens' home game against the New England Patriots Nov. 3.

BROWN, ONWUASOR REMAIN SIDELINED: Wide receiver Marquise Brown and linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, both of whom missed the Week 6 game against Cincinnati with ankle injuries, also missed practice Oct. 16. Other notable absences included left tackle Ronnie Stanley and cornerback Maurice Canady, who is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Stanley was shaken up in the Bengals game but missed just three snaps and Harbaugh sounded encouraged about Stanley's availability for the Seahawks game.

"Ronnie's OK," Harbaugh said. "Ronnie's going to be good. He did a good job fighting through it in the game. ... I expect him to be ready to go on Sunday."

RAVENS ADD CORNERBACK TO PRACTICE SQUAD: In a shuffle of practice squad players, the Ravens have signed cornerback Denzel Rice and cut safety A.J. Howard. The Ravens are Ward's sixth organization since he originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted rookie out of Coastal Carolina in 2015. Ward has played in 20 career games and made his first career interception last year as a member of the Cleveland Browns.