NFL Wire News

Former Jaguars Smith and Forsett have excelled for Ravens


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — When the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t retain Daryl Smith two years ago, it was a business decision influenced by a recent lack of durability from the veteran middle linebacker.

Smith was coming off an injury-plagued 2012 season — he underwent surgery for a groin injury and was limited to two games during his final year in Jacksonville.

Two years later, Smith has been extremely durable and productive for the Ravens. Since joining the Baltimore Ravens last year, Smith has recorded 225 tackles, six sacks, four interceptions and four forced fumbles in 29 games.

Smith, 32, was signed to a four-year, $16 million contract in March to remain with the Ravens after proving he had plenty of football left in him — he had worked under a one-year, $2.125 million contract in 2013.

Smith — Jacksonville’s second-round draft pick in 2004 from Georgia Tech — says he has no hard feelings toward his original NFL team as they prepare to meet Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

“I had a good nine years down there and I’m in Baltimore now,” Smith said. “I’m definitely thankful I got an opportunity and I love being here. I’m happy here. At the end of the day, we’re here to win games. I’m just happy to have these games mean something at this time of the year.”

After leading the Ravens with 125 tackles last season and also recording five sacks and three interceptions, Smith ranks second on the defense behind rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley with 100 tackles. He also has one sack, one interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

“Daryl’s a great teammate and a great player,” outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil said. “It’s the cost of doing business sometimes. I’ve been there, being released. To have Daryl on our team has been tremendous. He’s the quarterback of our defense. He’s been very dominant as of late.”

Running back Justin Forsett was cut by the Jaguars last spring following an injury-riddled season in which he dealt with several foot problems before being placed on injured reserve. Last year, he rushed for 31 yards on six carries.

Now, Forsett ranks third in the NFL with 1,080 rushing yards and has run for eight touchdowns.

“The writing was kind of on the wall when I was at the bottom of the depth chart and then placed on injured reserve,” Forsett said of being cut by the Jaguars. “I wasn’t really surprised, but it was still a hard pill to swallow knowing that you’ve been cut and didn’t know what the future was going to hold.

“No resentment, because all of the pain and the hurt I may have felt during that time, it made me a better man. Those dark moments, those times of frustration, they happen for a reason.”

SERIES HISTORY: The Jaguars lead 10-7. In Baltimore, the Ravens are 5-4. The Ravens lost 12-7 to the Jaguars in Jacksonville in 2011.

NOTES: WR Torrey Smith did not practice Wednesday due to a sprained right knee, an injury that’s likely to affect his status all week. … RB Lorenzo Taliaferro did not practice due to a sprained foot. Taliaferro is in a walking boot and is unlikely to play Sunday. … CB Anthony Levine practiced on a limited basis after suffering a concussion Sunday against the Dolphins.

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