Ravens deactivate J. Smith; Levine, Ellis elevated for season opener


Having already lost three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters to a season-ending knee injury last week, the Ravens deactivated veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith ahead of Monday’s season opener at Las Vegas.

Officially listed as questionable on the final injury report, the 33-year-old Smith had returned to practice on a limited basis this past week after missing a month with a right ankle injury sustained early in training camp. A healthy Smith would have been a valuable option trying to slow Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller, but his Week 1 availability was always in doubt as he continued working himself back to full health and game shape. Smith’s status will again be relevant this coming week as the Ravens must quickly turn their attention toward a much-anticipated clash with six-time Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce and Kansas City on Sunday night.

The Ravens elevated defensive back Anthony Levine and defensive tackle Justin Ellis from the practice squad for Monday’s game. Levine, 34, was elevated to take his usual place leading the Ravens special teams while bringing up the 30-year-old Ellis became more of a priority after defensive lineman Derek Wolfe (back/hip) was ruled out over the weekend.

Baltimore didn’t fill its two open spots on the 53-man roster ahead of Monday’s game. With a tight salary cap at the start of a long season, general manager Eric DeCosta presumably didn’t want to guarantee pay to additional vested veterans on the Week 1 roster. The Ravens are expected to fill those spots ahead of the Chiefs game.

With no other roster moves being made, running backs Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman remained on the practice squad for Week 1, which wasn’t surprising after they joined the organization just days ago. On Friday, head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Bell needing “to get in football shape a little bit” after not being with a team in the spring or summer. Former practice-squad member and 2020 undrafted free agent Ty’Son Williams was poised to start in his NFL debut with veterans Latavius Murray and Trenton Cannon backing him up against the Raiders.

The 6-foot, 220-pound Williams ran for 264 yards and three touchdowns in four games at BYU before sustaining a torn ACL in 2019, which hurt his draft stock last year. He also played two seasons at South Carolina and a year at North Carolina during his collegiate career.

“Ty’Son has impressed us from Day 1,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said on Saturday. “We had a scrimmage in the stadium last year [during training camp] where he really jumped off the screen to all of us. We feel great about Ty’Son. He’s done nothing but impress.”

The Ravens also deactivated three rookies: third-round guard Ben Cleveland, fifth-round outside linebacker Daelin Hayes, and undrafted safety Ar’Darius Washington. Hayes was limited with a knee issue this past week while Cleveland fell behind in the starting left guard competition due to a concussion in training camp and lacks the positional versatility of the other backup offensive linemen on the roster.

Despite being downgraded to questionable with an illness on Sunday night, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was indeed active for Monday’s game. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell was a healthy scratch, which wasn’t a good look for the fourth overall pick of the 2019 draft and the organization that selected him.

Below were Monday night’s inactives:

CB Jimmy Smith
DE Derek Wolfe
OLB Daelin Hayes
G Ben Cleveland
S Ar’Darius Washington

DE Clelin Ferrell
G Richie Incognito
QB Nathan Peterman
S Roderic Teamer
DE Malcolm Koonce
TE Nick Bowers