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J.J. Hopes To Return, But Understands Biz

Jarret Johnson sees players that will be re-signed and young linebackers behind him.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson is the Ravens’ Iron Man.

He’s played in a franchise-record 130 straight games.

But Johnson’s not sure if he’ll be returning to continue being the workhorse and perennially underrated Double-J many fans in Baltimore have come to love.

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” a downtrodden Johnson said on Monday morning as he cleaned out his locker.

“We’ve got a lot of good young players. We’ve got a lot of guys that they’ve got to re-sign.”

The Ravens have quarterback Joe Flacco and unrestricted free agent running back Ray Rice to deal with. They could take up a large chunk of Baltimore’s salary this upcoming season.

Baltimore also had a pair of young outside linebackers – and former second-round picks – playing behind Johnson in Paul Kruger and Sergio Kindle.

In his third season, Kruger notched 5.5 sacks in the regular season and got another against the Patriots in the AFC championship. He frequently came in for Johnson during third-down rush situations.

Kindle was active for just two games after sitting out his entire rookie year due to a head injury. But he could be a player Baltimore looks to develop in a full offseason.

Johnson was a fourth-round selection of the Ravens in 2003. He began his career as a defensive tackle, then was moved to linebacker, where he has long been considered a hard-nosed, gritty player.

The 30-year-old linebacker recorded 56 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three pass deflections this season. He has 265 career tackles in purple and black.

“I’d like to fit in again here,” Johnson said. “But unfortunately this is a business and sometimes business decisions [have] got to be made. I hope to be back. I’d love to retire a Raven, but we’ll see.”

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