Leg in­jury keep­ing Wil­liams side­lined

Ja­coby Jones an­nounces re­tire­ment, re­calls run to Su­per Bowl XLVII

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS & NFL - By Jeff Zre­biec and Ed­ward Lee jeff.zre­biec@balt­sun.com ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jef­fzre­biec­sun twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun

The Ravens will have to stop Pitts­burgh Steel­ers star run­ning back

on Sun­day with­out their top in­te­rior run-stuffer.

Hav­ing al­ready placed start­ing de­fen­sive end on in­jured re­serve this week be­cause of a Lis­franc in­jury, the Ravens will be forced to play a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game with­out stand­out de­fen­sive tackle who is deal­ing with a lower-leg in­jury suf­fered dur­ing a Sept. 17 vic­tory over the Cleve­land Browns.

Wil­liams, who came out to the prac­tice field this week but didn’t par­tic­i­pate, is hardly a lock to play against the Oak­land Raiders on Oct. 8, ei­ther.

“He’s pro­gress­ing well. He’s not go­ing to be able to play this week. He’s got a lower-leg is­sue that he’s deal­ing with. I think when you see him prac­tic­ing, you’ll know that he’s ei­ther close to get­ting back or back. That’s where it’s at right now,” Ravens coach said af­ter Fri­day’s prac­tice. “It’s not go­ing to be half the sea­son or any­thing like that. It’s a mat­ter of weeks when he got hurt. I’ll have my fin­gers crossed in the up­com­ing week or two.”

With Wil­liams and Ur­ban out, the Ravens will rely heav­ily on a young and mostly un­proven group of in­te­rior de­fen­sive line­men. Ei­ther

or rookie if not both, will make their NFL de­but this week af­ter be­ing in­ac­tive for the first three games.

The Ravens also have the op­tion of start­ing at de­fen­sive end and plug­ging sec­ond-year player

into the lineup at Wil­liams’ de­fen­sive tackle spot. Davis and Henry both played well in Sun­day’s loss to the Jack­sonville Jaguars.

Tight end Maxx (an­kle) and cor­ner­back (thigh) also were ruled out for Sun­day’s game.

The Ravens did get good news Fri­day when tight end

re­turned to prac­tice af­ter miss­ing the pre­vi­ous two days be­cause of a calf in­jury.

Wat­son, who leads the Ravens with 11 catches for 103 yards and a touch­down, was listed as ques­tion­able on the fi­nal in­jury re­port, but he said he’ll play Sun­day.

“It’s some­thing that just kind of crept up a lit­tle while ago, and we just wanted to be smart with it,” Wat­son said. “The train­ing staff made a de­ci­sion to not have me out there for a cou­ple days, and I’ve just been treat­ing it and stuff. So I’m feel­ing good and ready to go.” Wide Jones’ ca­reer cel­e­brated: re­ceiver-re­turner signed with the Ravens not long af­ter one of the low points of his ca­reer. As a mem­ber of the 2011 Hous­ton Tex­ans, Jones fum­bled twice, los­ing one of them, in the team’s 20-13 AFC di­vi­sional-round play­off game loss to the Ravens. Jones be­came pub­lic en­emy No. 1 with the Tex­ans’ fan base and ul­ti­mately was re­leased.

A lit­tle more than a year af­ter the gaffes, Jones played a star­ring role in the Ravens’ sec­ond Su­per Bowl ti­tle. Jones’ time with the Ravens was cel­e­brated Fri­day at the Un­der Ar­mour Per­for­mance Cen­ter as the 33-year-old of­fi­cially an­nounced his re­tire­ment in a news con­fer­ence at­tended by Ravens gen­eral man­ager

team pres­i­dent as­so­ciate head coach and spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor

and Har­baugh. Jones, who played with the Ravens from 2012 to 2014, has been out of the NFL since he was re­leased by the Steel­ers late in the 2015 sea­son.

“This or­ga­ni­za­tion is a fam­ily more than any­thing,” Jones said. “The city of Baltimore ac­cepted me. They took me in. It’s love. I ap­pre­ci­ate it. Ev­ery­thing has to come to an end, but at least it’s here.”

Jones’ time with the Ravens will be best re­mem­bered for his per­for­mance in the team’s 34-31 vic­tory over the San Fran­cisco 49ers in Su­per Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Su­per­dome in New Or­leans. A Louisiana na­tive, Jones caught a 56-yard touch­down pass in the sec­ond quar­ter and then re­turned the open­ing kick­off the sec­ond half for a record 108-yard touch­down.

“In the big­gest game, on the big­gest stage, he had his best game in his home­town. And that’s sur­real,” New­some said Fri­day. Stan­ley prep­ping for Watt:

re­mem­bers when he was a rookie just a year ago, so he’s not about to over­look sim­ply be­cause this is the Steel­ers out­side line­backer’s first year in the NFL.

Watt, the 30th over­all se­lec­tion in April’s draft, be­came the first player in league his­tory to pro­duce two sacks and one in­ter­cep­tion in his de­but in a sea­son opener. In Pitts­burgh’s 21-18 win against the Cleve­land Browns on Sept. 10, Watt fin­ished with six tack­les, five solo stops and two tack­les for loss.

A groin strain pre­vented the 6foot-4, 252-pound Watt from mak­ing his third con­sec­u­tive start in a road loss to the Chicago Bears on Sun­day, but Stan­ley has been study­ing the Wis­con­sin prod­uct. End zone: Har­baugh said he was ex­tremely pleased with the way his team prac­ticed this week af­ter the dis­ap­point­ing loss to the Jaguars. “We have a lot to prove af­ter that game, no ques­tion. You al­ways have a lot to prove,” Har­baugh said “You don’t like go­ing out there and get­ting your butt kicked at any time, and our guys, we all feel that.” … Har­baugh gave out­side line­backer

the day off from prac­tice Fri­day.

KIM HAIRSTON/BALTIMORE SUN

From left, Ravens gen­eral man­ager Ozzie New­some, former re­ceiver Ja­coby Jones and head coach John Har­baugh dis­cuss Jones’ re­tire­ment on Fri­day af­ter­noon. Jones played with the Ravens from 2012 to 2014.

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