A Fond Farewell to "J.J."

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is hit by defenders Lardarius Webb #21 and Jarret Johnson #95 of the Baltimore Ravens during second half of the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

You were never the star. You were never considered one of the "Baltimore Ravens’ greats". You didn’t often light up the "The Bank" or make flashy plays that ended up on ESPN highlight reels. You never stole the show. You never complained.

In short, "J.J.", you never got your due. I’m giving it to you now.

You always did your job. You never showed any discontent about your role. You never forced yourself into the limelight. You weren’t brash or outspoken; you were always a quiet leader that let your play do the talking. You could be counted on every Sunday. You barely ever missed a game. You stuffed the run like nobody’s business.

You were everything that it meant to: "Play Like a Raven"

The Ravens drafted Jarret Johnson in 2003, and since that time Johnson has flourished into one of the most underrated defensive players in the NFL. Though he was never one of the true "sack artists" of the game that garners more attention from outsiders, Johnson will always be known in Baltimore for his almost unparalleled solid, consistent football play and professionalism. As one of the best Ravens’ run defenders, Johnson totaled 382 tackles during his time as a Raven. For his entire career, Johnson also totaled: 20 sacks, 19 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, 9 forced fumbles, and 1 touchdown.

More impressive than any tackle, sack, or forced fumble filed away into a stat column though was that Johnson could always be counted on to suit up on game days. Since 2007, Johnson has started in every regular season game for a total of 80 consecutive starts, not including playoff games. It’s that kind of consistency that the Ravens will surely miss and have a hard time replacing.

Don’t ever think for a second, "J.J." that the fans here in Baltimore didn’t appreciate all of what you contributed to this defense over the years just because your name got lost amongst the Ray Lewis’ and Ed Reed’s of the Ravens. You were a key cog in building this defense to what it is today: one of the finest units in the NFL.

You will be missed. You will be remembered. You were and always will be a Raven.

Oh yea, just one more thing, "J.J.". You also beat the piss out of Hines Ward.

Thanks for the memories.

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