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Albert McClellan an unsung hero for the Ravens

Former NFL running back Marshall Faulk wanted to know about teams' unsung heroes this week. Albert McClellan stands out in Baltimore.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Here's this week's GMC Playbook question from Marshall Faulk:

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I'm a firm believer in the importance of special teams. At the NFL level, all teams are aware and do their part to make sure the special teams game is top notch. At the high school and college levels, it's easy to overlook the third phase of football, which perhaps is why I grew up with an understanding of why this phase is so important.

The Ravens have enough stars on both sides of the ball that command attention. When it comes to Faulk's question of being an unsung hero, cases could be made for center Jeremy Zuttah, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, nose tackle Brandon Williams and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee. But at the same time, these players do command plenty of attention and will occasionally draw a headline in a newspaper or online article.

That brings me back to special teams, an integral part to each team in the league. Linebacker Albert McClellan has been a special teams standout, dating back to the 2011 season, his second year in the NFL and first on the Ravens' 53-man roster. Year in and year out, McClellan has been a key to this group's success. And on defense, he's done just about everything asked of him. He's played outside linebacker, inside linebacker and can go down and play defensive end if needed. He earned some playing time in the rotation during the 2012 season.

But while his playing time on defense has diminished, he's proved his value as a special teamer. This season, McClellan leads the Ravens in special teams tackle with 10 (eight solo, two assisted). He's also forced a fumble on special teams. He's been an asset to special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg's unit, which according to Football Outsiders, has the No. 1 group in the NFL.

McClellan fits the definition of an unsung hero. He's not going to generate much buzz in the press since he's not factoring into the defensive rotation. But all McClellan does is show up each Sunday to do his job on special teams, which has been an integral part to Baltimore's success this season.


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