Just one day after his first practice in Baltimore, veteran pass rusher Justin Houston is already stirring the pot with the Ravens’ bitter rival up north.
During a training camp press conference on Saturday, Houston revealed that he was “so close” to signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers after they offered a more lucrative deal.
Instead, he elected to sign with the Ravens on a one-year, $4 million contract.
“I was so close to signing with the Steelers,” Houston said, per ESPN. “It just worked out better [in Baltimore].”
While he could have made “significantly more money” elsewhere, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Houston became enamored with the Ravens’ defensive scheme during a visit back in April.
“I fell in love with it,” Houston said. “I kind of knew I wanted to be here when I saw that.”
Replacing former Ravens sack leader Matt Judon as the team’s pass rush centerpiece, Houston is looking to “maximize” his performance in 2021.
“I think it was better fit for me in what I was looking for,” Houston said. “I just want opportunities to have one-on-ones and be able to put pressure on the quarterback.”
Through 10 NFL seasons, four Pro Bowls and one All-Pro selection, Houston has logged 97.5 career sacks. During his All-Pro season in 2014 with the Kansas City Chiefs, the former third-round pick led the league with a whopping 22.0 sacks. At 32 years old with the Indianapolis Colts in 2020, the veteran defender finished the year with 8.0 sacks and a league-leading two forced safeties.
Houston and his new Ravens squad will take on the Steelers twice in 2021: once with a Week 13 matchup in Pittsburgh and again with a Week 18 matchup in Baltimore.
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