The Baltimore Ravens signed one of the most notable and arguably the best veteran left on the free agent market last week when they agreed to terms with Justin Houston on a one-year deal. While General Manager Eric DeCosta and Head Coach John Harbaugh were praised for their patience and savvy when news of the acquisition broke, Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters deserves a lot of credit.
He and Houston were teammates for three seasons as members of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2015-2017. Before the new league year even began, Peters reached out to the four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher and started sewing the seeds and laying the groundwork for their eventual reunion.
“Marcus Peters called me as soon as the season was over with, and he was like, ‘What are you doing, man? Where are you going? Man, come to Baltimore. I need you here,’ So, I was talking to him, then the Ravens hit my agent up,” Houston said.
The Ravens brought Houston in for a visit a few weeks before the 2021 NFL Draft and it went well. Even though he left town without a deal, he liked the way they told him he’d be used schematically and felt a sense of belonging.
“I came in on a visit, and they were just explaining the scheme and we were walking through it, and they were showing me all the good stuff about it; I fell in love with it. I kind of knew I wanted to be here when I saw that,” said Houston.
In addition to being a perennial playoff and championship contender, the Ravens have a reputation as being a first-class organization that does right by their players, coaches, scouts, and even entry-level employees. Peters was one of Houston’s many former teammates, dating back to his collegiate career at Georgia, that has played for the Ravens and vouched for the way that they do business and conduct themselves on and off the field.
“I heard how great this organization was. I know a lot of guys – I actually played with in college – they were drafted here, so it was easy to know what kind of organization it was,” Houston added.
As glowingly as Peters and others spoke about the ‘Ravens Way’, the ultimate selling point and deciding factor for Houston to come to Baltimore was football and how he’d fit right in on the Ravens’ defense.
“It was more so about the scheme,” said Houston. “He [Marcus Peters] was just like, ‘Man, you would love it. You would love the scheme. The scheme is perfect for you. You’ll be one on one. You’ll get what you’re looking for.’”
The presence of the probable future Hall of Famer will not only undoubtedly improve the Ravens’ pass rush but their defense as a whole will benefit as well. Peters in particular could be poised to force even more turnovers since he recorded the three highest single-season interception totals of his career with Houston applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks.