Ravens LB Roquan Smith Has Unfinished Business

After a disappointing end to the season, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith
Dec 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith (0) takes the field before a game against the Los Angeles Rams at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith (0) takes the field before a game against the Los Angeles Rams at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports / Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Ravens' potential dream season sadly ended in a nightmare before they could make it to the game's biggest stage.

After finishing with the NFL's best record at 13-4, the Ravens had the privilege of hosting the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. Unfortunately, the Ravens lost 17-10 thanks to frustrating mistakes and confusingly abandoning their identity as a run-first team. Kansas City would then go on to win yet another Super Bowl, leaving Baltimore fans wondering what could've been.

It's now been several months since that game, and thinking about what went wrong will only do so much. For star linebacker Roquan Smith though, the game serves as important motivation to get back to that point and finish the job.

"You grind so you can put yourself back in that position but knowing you don't start the year in the AFC Championship Game, you have to grind your way back," Smith said on The Rich Eisen Show. "I know each and every person in this locker room is very hungry for that, and knowing the type of team that we have and all the potential that we have. But it's about taking that next step and finishing the deal as opposed to coming close.

"There are no moral victories in this game, so you have to go out and take every single thing that you want, and we're gonna do that by any means necessary, and that's why we're preparing the way that we're preparing this offseason. … It's going to be a tough year, but we wouldn't like it any other way but the tough road."

Most of Baltimore's roster from last season returns, and Smith still leads one of the NFL's stingiest defenses. No one doubts the Ravens' potential, but it's up to them to put all the pieces together.

Notably, the Ravens have a chance for revenge right away as they open the season against the Chiefs in Kansas City. When kickoff comes around on September 5, Smith wants everyone to know how much of an impact he can have on any given game.

"If there's a father or mother taking his or her kid to the game, after that game I want that little kid to say to his mom or dad, 'When I grow up, I want to play the game the way No. 0 plays the game.' That's the mark that I'm trying to leave out there," Smith said.

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Jon Alfano

JON ALFANO