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Ozzie Wants Johnson And McClain Back

Ozzie Newsome is maintaining communication with Double-J.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Categories: 2012 Scouting Combine, Combine, Ryan Mink

The Ravens would like to hold on to their two unrestricted free-agent linebackers, Jarret Johnson and Jameel McClain.

Johnson, who has become Baltimore’s iron man during nine seasons with the team, could test the market and has been rumored to be a potential target of his former coach, Chuck Pagano, in Indianapolis.

But General Manager Ozzie Newsome is staying in touch.

“I had a conversation with Jarret at the end of the season and I told him I would maintain communication with him throughout the process,” Newsome said.

“Jarret is a Raven. He plays like a Raven. We’d love to have him back if things can work itself out.”

Johnson played fewer snaps last season as the Ravens worked in younger rush linebacker Paul Kruger. Kruger, 26, recorded 5.5 sacks last year.

Johnson still started all 16 games and finished with 56 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He’s a major part of Baltimore’s rush defense that finished second in the league.

McClain was also a major cog of the run defense, especially when Ray Lewis missed four games due to a toe injury. He went from an undrafted free agent in 2008 to becoming a full-time starter the past two seasons.

McClain had his best season yet last year, recording 84 tackles, one sack and an interception.

“We would like to have Jameel back, yes,” Newsome said.

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