Veteran defensive lineman Brent Urban, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Ravens, says he was pleasantly surprised by the amount of positive messages he received on social media regarding his return to Baltimore, where he spent the first five years of his career.
On the evening of May 20, Urban strongly hinted that he was signing with the Ravens. A few minutes later, Urban’s wife Kate tweeted that her husband agreed to a deal with the Ravens:
Urban got a lot of positive feedback, and he’s happy to be back where his career started.
“After looking at social media and all that kind of stuff after I signed, I definitely was surprised with how much positive cheering and all the great messages,” Urban said on Glenn Clark Radio May 24. “I’m a low-key guy, so it was nice to see, obviously. I’m a run-stopper and don’t get much of the glory, so I wasn’t expecting that a whole lot. But it’s great to be embraced by Baltimore. It’s a place I love, tons of memories. It was great.”
Urban, 31, was a fourth-round pick of the Ravens out of the University of Virginia in the 2014 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound defensive lineman flashed his ability during four years in Baltimore, posting 52 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one memorable field goal block.
But Urban struggled to stay on the field. He played all 16 regular-season games in 2016 and 2018, but he missed all of his rookie season in 2014 (torn ACL) and was limited to six games in 2015 (torn biceps) and three games in 2017 (Lisfranc injury).
Urban appreciates that head coach John Harbaugh and top executives Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta stuck with him despite the injuries. The Ravens re-signed Urban to a one-year, $1 million deal in 2018 following the Lisfranc injury.
“I didn’t know if I was going to cut it in the league,” Urban said. “It was a whole lot, with an ACL right away and I tore my bicep the next year. I just had to learn how to kind of get through that stuff and not worry about it and kind of the support system here and Coach Harbs and Ozzie and Eric, all the support I had getting back from that, it was huge for me.”
Urban has played for the Chicago Bears (25 regular-season games), Dallas Cowboys (six) and Tennessee Titans (four) the past three years. His biggest role came in 2020, when he played in 16 games and made eight starts for Chicago. He played in 35 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps and 35 percent of the Bears’ special teams snaps. He had 36 tackles and 2.5 sacks, both career highs.
Urban says playing in different schemes the past few years allowed him to become a smarter and more versatile player.
“I’ve played probably every single technique that exists on a defensive front at this point, learned to excel in that kind of position where I’ll fit in wherever the defense needs me and play quality snaps,” Urban said. “I think just versatility and knowledge of the game has gone up just a tremendous amount since my first time here.”
Urban joins a defensive line that also includes Calais Campbell, Travis Jones, Justin Madubuike, Michael Pierce, Broderick Washington and Derek Wolfe. The plays will be called by new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who like Urban started with the Ravens in 2014.
Macdonald began as a defensive coaching intern, then served as a defensive assistant (2015-2016), the defensive backs coach (2017) and the linebackers coach (2018-2020) before departing to become Michigan’s defensive coordinator (2021).
Urban is looking forward to working with Macdonald again.
“He’s been a great guy always and kind of knew he had a bright future. To see his rise is great, man. It’s exciting,” Urban said. “It’s great to have a young coordinator with a ton of energy and kind of bring something new to the table. I’m super excited to see him again and excited to see kind of what wrinkles he brings to this defense.”
Urban has come full circle entering his ninth year in the NFL, and he’s excited about the chance he has to possibly win big in Baltimore.
“I think it’s a team that has a ton of talent. They’re young, and it’s a team that’s poised to make a run,” Urban said. “I think I’ve lost in the first round every time I’ve made the playoffs — that goes the last three times I’ve made the playoffs, so definitely looking to make a run here as my career kind of winds down. That’s definitely a very important thing, and I think we’ve got a great shot here.”
For more from Urban, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens