Ravens Legend Named as Finalist for Prestigious NFL Award

Ravens Jarret Johnson

Getty Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson makes a play during a November 2007 game.

Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson was named as a finalist for the NFL’s 11th Annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA, according to an official press release from January 20.

Johnson played for the Ravens for nine season after being selected by Baltimore in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He was one of many former University of Alabama football players to be drafted by the Ravens during the tenure of former general manager Ozzie Newsome, who is himself a Hall of Fame tight end. 

Johnson was selected as a finalist because he “demonstrated exceptional effort to honor and support members of the military community,” according to the NFL’s press release, through a wide range of charitable work with military service members.

Johnson has worked with a variety of organizations to support mental health and employment opportunities for veterans, both during his NFL career and since his 2015 retirement.

One highlight is an annual fundraiser for the EOD Warrior Foundation and the Pipe Hitter Foundation that Johnson originally started in his backyard. It has since grown into a much larger community event, with ex-Ravens like Haloti Ngata and Marshal Yanda among the participants. Johnson is also a frequent participant in leadership and motivational speaking events geared towards service members and their families.

Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham and Denver Broncos fullback Andrew Beck were also named as finalists for the Salute to Service Award, with a winner to be announced at the NFL’s annual awards show on February 10.

Johnson’s Career in Baltimore

Johnson was known as an iron man in Baltimore, appearing in all but one of the Ravens’ games from 2003 to 2011, including a streak of 80 consecutive regular-season starts from 2007 to 2011.

Though he did not have the same eye-popping statistics or league-wide awards earned by higher-profile teammates like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed, Johnson was one of the most consistent Ravens defenders during his career in Baltimore. He was particularly effective against the run, earning a 89.3 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus in 2007 that was only behind All-Pros like Suggs, Demarcus Ware and James Harrison.

Johnson’s versatility was also valued in Baltimore, especially during his do-it-all 2009 season that featured two interceptions, four passes defended, one forced fumble, six sacks and nine tackles for loss across 16 starts.

Johnson has frequently returned to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to hype up fans during Ravens games, and even served as a color commentator during the 2017 season, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Other Ravens Earn 2021 Honors

Johnson is not the only Raven to earn recognition for his off-field work in 2021. Center Bradley Bozeman was nominated for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award on December 7 for his efforts, alongside his wife, Nikki, to combat childhood bullying and food insecurity.

Three Ravens were also named as first-team All-Pros by the Associated Press on January 14, including tight end Mark Andrews, who led his position in catches, receiving yards and touchdown in 2020.

Kicker Justin Tucker earned 40 of 50 possible votes after yet another sterling season. He converted 35 of his 37 field goal attempts for a league-best 94.6% conversion rate, as well as a perfect 32-for-32 on extra point attempts. Tucker also made an NFL-record 66-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions in Week 3.

Second-year wide receiver Devin Duvernay earned his first career All-Pro selection as a punt returner after leading the NFL with 13.8 yards per return.

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