OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Chuck Clark is a man of few words in the Ravens locker room, so asking him to reflect on his involvement in the final chapter of the Earl Thomas saga brought a predictable response on Monday.
The starting safety wasn’t interested in rehashing the Friday altercation that proved to be the final straw in the decision to terminate Thomas’ contract “for personal conduct that has adversely affected” the Ravens. Having signed a three-year extension this offseason, Clark is preparing to lead the Baltimore secondary in his first full year as a starter and isn’t dwelling on the fight that resulted in Thomas taking a swing at the 2017 sixth-round pick from Virginia Tech.
“Right now, as a team and as an organization, we’re just moving forward and putting that situation in the rear view,” Clark said. “We’re just trying to get through training camp healthy and get to the first game.”
With Thomas out of the picture, Clark is now being paired with DeShon Elliott, a promising 6-foot-1, 210-pound safety who’s been limited to just six career games in his first two seasons due to injuries. The Ravens hope Elliott will represent another sixth-round success story at a position that’s been a mixed bag since the departure of Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed in 2013.
Elliott has the support of Clark and many other teammates believing in his abilities.
“He has a high motor, a lot of energy, [and] a lot of aggression out there on the field,” Clark said. “When we’re out there paired together, we just gel together smooth. It’s been like that in the past. We’ve been out there running with the [second team] before we stepped into our roles as starters. We know how each other plays.”
A University of Texas product like Thomas, the 23-year-old Elliott chose his words respectfully about the former Raven while sharing a similar sentiment.
“Earl is a Hall of Famer, no doubt,” Elliott said. “We have the same agent (David Mulugheta). Of course, I respect Earl and his game, but I’m not worried about Earl. I’m worried about me and what I can bring to this team for my teammates.”
Jackson back at practice
Quarterback Lamar Jackson was back on the field after missing back-to-back practices over the weekend for an ailment that wasn’t exactly clear.
On Saturday, assistant head coach David Culley indicated Jackson received the practice off to rest a tired throwing arm, but head coach John Harbaugh said the reigning NFL MVP was one of a few players dealing with “soft-tissue things” on Sunday. After Harbaugh refused to expand on that description and whether it was Jackson’s shoulder, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Jackson was dealing with a minor groin strain and would return to practice on Monday.
“He was back. He looked good. He had a good practice,” Harbaugh said. “So, we’re moving forward.”
Jackson appeared to be moving well throughout the workout, but he didn’t leave the pocket as much as usual, perhaps a deliberate attempt to keep him healthy. The 23-year-old was off to a terrific start in camp before the weekend hiatus, but there doesn’t appear to be any real concern about his health.
Meanwhile, teammates are again envisioning special things after his historic 2019 campaign.
“He’s the man. If he doesn’t win MVP two times in a row, I’ll be shocked,” Elliott said. “That boy is like that. And being able to play against him, it just helps us build as a defense because we’ll never play against anybody like him ever, no matter what game it is.”
Monday’s shells-and-shorts workout was fairly uneventful, but rookie quarterback Tyler Huntley and second-year wide receiver Marquise Brown combined to deliver the play of the day. Huntley, an undrafted free agent from Utah, uncorked a 55-yard touchdown pass that the 2019 first-round pick adjusted to in midair to make a terrific over-the-shoulder catch for the score.
Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins made a standout touchdown catch in the back of the end zone for a second straight day, this time victimizing former Ohio State teammate Malik Harrison in coverage during a 7-on-7 drill.
Tight end Charles Scarff made a nice back-shoulder catch on a Huntley throw and made a few other receptions before dropping a throw delivered by Robert Griffin III. A 2019 practice-squad member, Scarff is in the running for the No. 3 tight end job behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle.
Monday’s injury report
Jackson wasn’t the only notable player to return to practice as Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters was back in action after a two-day absence.
Running back Justice Hill, wide receiver Chris Moore (finger), return specialist Kenjon Barner (leg), tight end Eli Wolf, and cornerback Josh Nurse were absent from Monday’s practice, but Harbaugh doesn’t expect any of those players to be out much longer.
“Everything is a couple days or no more than a week,” Harbaugh said. “If it’s more than that, I’ll try to keep you informed on that of any serious-type injuries that come up. The rest of it really is just training camp stuff.”
Defensive end Calais Campbell received a veteran day off.