Ravens Update

Arthur Jones battling for starting job at left defensive end

Jon "Bones" Jones successfully defended his Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight belt in April.

He relentlessly punched and kicked his way to earn a unanimous decision over Rashad Evans, another triumph for one of the biggest stars in professional mixed martial arts. Just a few weeks later, youngest brother Chandler Jones was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the New England Patriots. Now, the oldest of the Jones brothers is hoping to place his own exclamation point on what's already been a proud year for parents Arthur Jones Sr. and Camille Jones.

Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones is competing for a starting job at left defensive end, a vacancy created when veteran Cory Redding signed a $10.5 million contract in March with the Indianapolis Colts. As the oldest son, Jones doesn't want to be upstaged by his younger brothers. He's looking to keep the momentum going that his brothers started. "It's awesome, it's a blessing," Jones said. "I feel like it's a testament to hard work and dedication. It might sound like a cliché', but if you work hard good things will happen to you. That's what happens to my family. We work hard and we give God all the glory." Heading into his third NFL season, Jones appears to be on the verge of forging a significant niche on the NFL's third-ranked defense. Last season, he recorded a career-high 18 tackles in 14 games with one start.

Now, the Ravens are counting on a larger contribution from Jones as he tries to fend off Pernell McPhee for a starting role. It was Jones who took the majority of the work with the first-team defense during organized team activities and minicamps while McPhee was sidelined with a knee injury that required arthroscopic knee surgery

"Oh man, I'm excited," Jones said. "Every day, I'm out here trying to get better in my technique and fundamentals. I'm excited to just compete. I'm having a great offseason all the way around. Each year, I want to make strides and be the best I can be. I can't wait for this year." Jones has spent the past few years transforming his body with diligent work in the weight room and sparring with his brother.

He has improved his diet and has dramatically upgraded his physique. Still listed at 6-foot-3, 313 pounds, Jones' body fat percentage is much lower than when the Ravens drafted him in the fifth round out of Syracuse three years ago.

"I'm nowhere near perfect," said Jones, who's heading into the final year of a three-year, $1.43 million contract that included a $133,580 signing bonus. "I'm working on my game, pass run, everything. I'm trying to take full advantage to fine-tune my craft and technique and be an all-around better player."

At Syracuse, Jones was a team captain who finished his career with 145 tackles, 38 1/2 for losses, 6 1/2 sacks and four fumble recoveries. He fell to the Ravens in the fifth round primarily due to injury concerns. Jones relies upon advice from defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and has remained in touch with Redding.

"I've learned a lot each year," Jones said. "I keep growing as a professional athlete, not just on the field. I've worked on the little things. I've become a better film watcher. I still talk to Cory. I'm really learning how to be a professional, hanging with Ray Lewis learning how he's played this game so long."

As the son of a pastor and community activist, Jones shares a strong blue-collar work ethic with his younger brothers. And Jones has remained an influential figure in their lives.

"I was protected," Chandler Jones said during a press conference after the Patriots drafted him with the 21st overall pick. "My older brothers, they look over me. Whenever I get in trouble, they're always there to watch my back. "We wrestled a lot, but it was for play. My dad had bought some wrestling mats and we used to wrestle down in the basement all the time." That helped build toughness and character for JOnes, two traits he'll rely upon as he tries to beat out McPhee.

While Jones is bigger and stronger and perhaps more suited for stopping the run, McPhee is an athletic pass rusher who registered six sacks as a rookie to rank second on the defense behind NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs' 14 sacks.

Jones and McPhee are much different players, but should form a solid tandem on the left side of the defensive line.

"Absolutely, Pernell is a hell of a player," Jones said. "I love watching him play. I'm his biggest fan and he cheers me on, too. It's going to be a good competition, and we're excited to compete. I'm pretty sure me and him can both get the job done."

Ed Reed: 'The only way a player gets what he wants is by holding out'

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens star free safety Ed Reed continued to stir the pot, avoiding saying that he definitely will play this fall. Although Reed is expected to continue playing at least one more year and has been preparing to play by working out throughout the offseason, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year also said during a radio interview tonight with 105.7 The Fan: "The only way a player gets what he wants is by holding out."

However, Reed didn't indicate that he actually would hold out.

Reed, 33, is entering the final year of a six-year, $40 million contract and is due a $7.2 million base salary this season.

It's fairly obvious that Reed wants a new deal. "I already exceeded expectations," Reed said. Reed added: "This is not about money. This is a business. There's two sides to every business." A contract extension for Reed was discussed last year, but talks went nowhere. One obstacle to any type of serious negotiations: Reed has no current representation as far as an agent. He does have financial advisors, but hasn't had a registered NFL agent representing him for years since firing Eugene Mato. Mato and Greg Genske negotiated Reed's last contract.

"This is not about money," Reed said. "This is a business. There's two sides to every business." For anyone saying the Pro Bowl safety doth protest too much about his status, Reed memorably said: "Babies whine, I'm a grown-ass man." Reed skipped a mandatory full-team minicamp and is expected to be fined under the NFL collective bargaining agreement.

Reed emphasized that he wants to spend as much time as possible with family, including his four-year old son this offseason.

"I've been working out this whole offseason, but there's other things that are more important to me," Reed said. Reed did say he's happy playing in Baltimore, though.

"I love Baltimore," Reed said. "I'm good with staying in Baltimore."

Reed did acknowledge that he got motivated by talking with former San Francisco 49ers defensive back Eric Wright when he ran into him this year at a Las Vegas casino along with 49ers Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott. Reed has a football camp for kids next week at Stevenson University.

Reed is tied for 11th on the NFL all-time list with 57 career interceptions. And Reed said that he would like to make a run at Paul Krause's all-time NFL record of 81 interceptions.

What are Reed's plans for the future? "The next couple years, I'm going to do some golfing, get back in school, take care of my family," Reed said.

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