The accolades for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith just keep piling up.
In the past month, Smith was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month, was named to the All-Pro first team for the first time in his career, was voted Team MVP by the Ravens’ local media, and most recently was awarded the Butkus Award as the top linebacker in the NFL in 2022.
Oh, and he secured a five-year extension making him the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in league history.
All this despite playing just nine games as a Raven. Simply incredible.
The Butkus Award is given annually to the top linebacker in high school, college and the NFL, and Smith previously won it back in 2017 when he played at Georgia.
He’s the fourth player to win the award in both college and professional football and the second Raven to win it (Terrell Suggs was the first).
Here’s what’s trending in Ravens news around the web
Kyle Hamilton and Travis Jones included in NFL Defensive All-Rookie Team (Kevin Patra, NFL)
The DROY award has no real competition (Jets’ Sauce Gardner should win it handily), but a couple Ravens rookie defenders still got deserved recognition after the 2022 season.
First-rounder Kyle Hamilton earned a starting safety spot, beating out Detroit’s Kirby Joseph. Patra noted that Hamilton “displayed good timing on the blitz” and his eight generated pressures were the most among rookie safeties. After a tough start to his NFL career, Hamilton has the potential to become “an even more aggressive difference-maker” next year.
Defensive tackle Travis Jones nabbed the start alongside Eagles’ Jordan Davis. The third-rounder finished Year 1 with 24 tackles and 19 stops, which ranks second among rookies at his position.
Bengals-Ravens playoff game was most-watched Sunday primetime show since Super Bowl LVI (Russ Heltman, Sports Illustrated)
Surprise, surprise: the NFL is as popular as ever. During Wild Card Weekend, ESPN and CBS both had their most-watched games in years, and NBC’s Sunday Night Football capped it off with an astonishing viewership total.
The Bengals-Ravens game averaged 28.6 million viewers on NBC, marking the most-watched primetime Sunday show since the Super Bowl.
Ravens DE Calais Campbell ponders his future in 2023 (Bo Smolka, Pressbox)
Like many other veterans on the team, Calais Campbell is still deliberating his future with the franchise for 2023 and beyond. Campbell weighed retirement after the 2021 season but ultimately decided during last year’s Super Bowl to return for one last ride.
The 36-year-old remains under contract with the Ravens for another season and is coming off a dominant campaign in which he finished second on the team with 5.5 sacks and played an integral role in the run defense.
"“I don’t think it would be wise to decide so quickly. I think you have to go through a process. So I’m going to give myself a few weeks to go through that process and decide after that…. It’s going to be hard to walk away, that’s for sure. So we’ll see. There’s a chance I could be back here again next year.”"
Campbell is not only chasing an elusive ring, but he no doubt also wants to reach the 100-sack milestone (he’s currently at 99).