It’s been over a week since the Ravens officially agreed to a contract with veteran edge rusher Justin Houston. On Friday, Houston took the field for his first training camp practice with the team. After his second practice on Saturday, Houston took to the podium to address the media for the first time as a Raven.
Houston dropped an interesting tidbit during his press conference, one that is sure to garner a lot of attention. According to the 32-year-old, one of the teams he was considering joining is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I was so close to signing with the Steelers,” Houston said. “[They] were one of the teams I was considering. It just worked out better.” Houston also said the Steelers offered him more money the Ravens did —
It’s not a surprise that the Steelers, who recently signed another free agent pass-rusher in Melvin Ingram, were in the mix for Houston. Houston very well could have taken more money and signed with another playoff-contending team in Pittsburgh; the fact that he spurned that offer to join the Ravens is noteworthy.
In explaining his decision to sign with the Ravens, Houston highlighted his fit in Baltimore’s defensive scheme as a reason.
“It was more so about the scheme [than anything],” Houston said. “It was just like, ‘You will love it. You’ll love the scheme. It will be perfect for you, you’ll be one-on-one and get what you’re looking for.’
He also said he wanted to go somewhere where he could “have fun.”
There’s been a handful of veteran players to sign with the Ravens in the past who have echoed a similar sentiment to Houston. Baltimore has become an attractive destination for veterans, seeking an opportunity to compete and win, to come to. This speaks to the Ravens’ success and culture as a team and organization.
Houston, who has nearly 100 career sacks to his name, figures to make a significant impact on the Ravens defense this season. Now that we know he chose the Ravens over the Steelers — and for less money — should only add more flare when the two rivals meet in Week 13 (Dec. 5) and and Week 18 (Jan. 9).
This comes after Steelers’ WR JuJu Smith-Schuster reportedly turned down a more lucrative financial offer from the Ravens a few months ago, re-signing with Pittsburgh instead. If the Ravens-Steelers rivalry needed any more juice, it now has some.