Baltimore Ravens veteran inside linebacker Josh Bynes was emphatic about his desire to return to the Ravens for the 2022 season, telling media on January 10 that he is “beyond interested” in staying in Baltimore.
“I feel like I have a lot of ball left in me,” said Bynes one day after the Ravens’ regular season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, “I feel like I proved that this season.”
Despite a career-high 99 tackles for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020, Bynes was released by the Carolina Panthers during final roster cuts before the 2021 season. The Ravens immediately swooped in to sign him to the practice squad for his third stint in Baltimore.
“This is home for me,” said Bynes, who made the Ravens’ 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie in 2011. He appeared in 26 games over the next three seasons before being signed by the Detroit Lions. Bynes later returned in 2019 to provide a veteran presence in Baltimore’s linebacker corps, earning a career-best 80.4 overall defensive grade from Pro Football Focus as part of the Ravens’ dominant regular season.
“I feel amazing, continued Bynes, “My body feels great, and I would love, obviously, the first thing to be back in Baltimore.”
Bynes ‘Settled’ Ravens Defense In 2021
His play during the 2021 season certainly backs up his confidence about his physical condition at 32 years of age.
Bynes finished the fourth-most tackles (76) and tackles for loss (6) on the Ravens, despite playing in just 14 games, two of which combined for only 18 snaps. His 73.5 grade from PFF was 10th among all NFL linebackers and 5th among all Ravens defenders, showing that Bynes could still play at a high level in his 11th NFL season.
But Bynes also “brought a calmness to the middle of the defense,” according to Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, who compared the veteran linebacker to Miami Heat legend Udonis Haslem in October.
Even while he was still on the practice squad in Week 2, Bynes was vigorously coaching his younger teammates alongside fellow veteran defender Jimmy Smith.
ILB Mentorship in Baltimore
Queen called Bynes a “great leader, great guy, great role model” on January 10, telling media that Bynes took him under his wing as soon as the veteran arrived in Baltimore.
“He’s a great guy and just really calmed everything down for me from the beginning of the season to the end of the season,” continued Queen, thanking Bynes for his mentorship.
Bynes offered plenty of praise for Queen in return, saying that the 2020 first-round pick has “matured so well.”
“Obviously, you can see that he still has the huge, big-play ability,” continued Bynes, “And he’s still growing.”
Queen consistently improved as a run defender and tackler over the course of his 17 starts; by the end of the season, Queen was confidently diagnosing runs and making tackles all over the field.
He has a whole world ahead of him, especially in this league,” said Bynes, who added that Queen is “lightyears ahead” of where he was at the beginning of the season.
“The upside is tremendous, and I can’t wait to see him continue to bloom and blossom in this league,” Bynes concluded.