Defensive tackle Domata Peko did not waste any time making an impact with the Baltimore Ravens.
Peko has been a steady defender for Baltimore's stout run defense since signing with the team as a free agent on Nov. 13.
He has also been able to achieve another milestone in his long career.
"In my 14 years, I have never been past the first round, so I am in the second round already," Peko said. "Thank God for that, give him all the praise. We have a nice bye week. We are a healthy team. We get to rest the bodies a little bit and get ready and sharpen up our tools for the second round.
"That is exactly what we are going to do. We are just going to keep on getting better, keep on pushing each other. Like we said earlier, and like coach is saying; we are just getting started.”
Peko has played in every game since signing with the Ravens on Nov. 13. To make room for Peko on the 53-man roster, fifth-round rookie defensive tackle Daylon Mack (knee) was placed on injured reserve.
Despite the late start, Peko has registered 14 tackles and has been a key component of the Ravens' run defense that finished the regular season ranked fifth in the NFL, allowing 93.4 yards per game.
Peko felt comfortable as soon as he walked into the Ravens practice facility. Now, he has an opportunity to earn a Super Bowl ring with the hottest team in the NFL.
"It is sort of a blessing. Seven weeks ago, I signed on the dotted line and came into the locker room and into the building, and I just felt at home here, man," Peko said. "I feel like everyone just welcomed me with open arms. I’m the type of dude that likes to play the run, you know what I mean? That’s what they needed help with. I came in, and I just want to do my part.
"To help out the run defense and help out the team as a whole. It’s been seamless coming in here and connecting with my teammates. Everyone has been showing me love. They like how I play, and I just want to continue to do my part for this team to win.”
The Bengals originally selected Peko in the fourth-round (123rd overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. He helped the Bengals’ win the 2015 AFC North Championship title, the team’s second division title in three seasons. Peko posted his highest career sack total (five for -32 yards), adding 35 tackles and one pass defended. In 2008, recorded a career-high 67 tackles in 16 games.
In 2017, he signed a two-year, $7.50 million contract with the Broncos. In his first season with Denver, Peko started 14 games and finished with 38 tackles (24 solo), and one sack.
He spent two seasons with the Denver Broncos and became a free agent in February. That opened the door got an opportunity with the Ravens.
The Ravens ended the year on a 12-game winning streak and set a franchise record for wins at 14-2
“It is amazing man," Peko said. "You know, 14-2, this is going to be my 14th year and I have never had that type of success, especially in the regular season. Me and some of the other guys were talking about it. You just say, ‘Hey man, you have to take advantage of this, because it doesn’t happen often.’ In 14 seasons, I have never been 14-2.
"It doesn’t happen often; you just have to make the most of it. Enjoy the moment, live in the moment, and just try and get better. Let’s try to get to 15, and 16, and keep it going one at a time.”