Tony Jefferson Is 'Heart And Soul' Of Baltimore Ravens

Todd Karpovich

Tony Jefferson has been one of the Ravens' most consistent defenders and a role model for the younger players.

The veteran safety was lost for the season with a knee injury suffered Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Tony Jefferson, obviously, is the heart and soul of us," coach John Harbaugh said. "He’s a leader. He’s a great player, just a high-energy player. He’s a guy that flies around and makes plays. He’s a communicator for us in the back end. So, those are going to be challenging things. At the same time, these are things that happen in this game. You just have to deal with them. 

"And the guy who has to deal with them the most is Tony. Tony is going to have the toughest road to travel, just emotionally and spiritually and all of those kinds of things. And he will, he’ll be up for the challenge – no question about it. He’ll come back stronger than ever." 

Jefferson apparently injured the knee without contact around the 50-yard line. He immediately grabbed the jersey of Steelers tight end Nick Vannett. to prevent the him from running downfield. The play also nullified an interception by fellow safety Earl Thomas.

Jefferson was taken to the locker room on a cart.

Third-year player Chuck Clark replaced Jefferson and was effective, finishing with a pair of tackles and one for a loss. Clark and DeShon Elliott, a sixth-round pick from Texas in the 2018 NFL Draft, will also have an opportunity to earn more reps.  

"We have depth there at safety," Harbaugh said. "Those two young guys will do a heck of a job. I’m very confident in those guys, and we’ll have to overcome it.”

With the 26-23 overtime victory over Pittsburgh and the Browns loss to San Francisco, the Ravens (3-2) moved into first place in the AFC North. Baltimore hosts the Bengals in Week 6.