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Meeting Baltimore this week is ‘just another game’ for ex-Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon

Related: Patriots know defending the Ravens starts and ends with Lamar Jackson

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

No player on the New England Patriots’ current roster knows the Baltimore Ravens as well as Matthew Judon. The veteran linebacker, after all, spent the first five years of his career as a Raven before departing the organization to join the Patriots during last year’s free agency.

This week’s matchup between the two games will be Judon’s first meeting with his former club, but he is downplaying the connection.

“It’s just another game, honestly,” he told reporters earlier this week. “If we win or if we lose, we just get one win, we just get one loss. I want to win. I want to win every game. But it’s no bad blood. It was all business. I still talk to a lot of guys on that team. After the game, I’m going to shake their hand and love them, all that. I wish nothing but the best for anybody over there. But it’s just one game.”

Judon joined the Ravens as a fifth-round draft pick out of Grand Valley State back in 2016. Initially serving as a rotational pass rusher, he soon developed into a versatile starter-level member of the team’s defense. Between 2016 and 2020, he appeared in a combined 80 regular season and playoff games and registered 35.5 sacks as well as eight forced fumbles.

In March 2021, however, his career journey took him to the Ravens’ long-time rivals in New England. A four-year, $54.4 million contract offer might have played a part in that.

Since his departure from Baltimore, Judon continued his Pro Bowl-level play. Now, the Ravens will see it first-hand — and they know not to take him lightly.

“He plays hard, he’s physical on the edge, he gets to the top on the pass rush and works that outside shoulder with a counter back inside with power,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. “Speed to power, when he needs it. Plays hard.”

Quarterback Lamar Jackson echoed those remarks.

“Hopefully he doesn’t sack me at all, but that’s his job, to try to sack me. But I’ve seen him just flying around,” Jackson said. “A disciplined team. The whole defense is disciplined. They get after it. Judon is just being Judon, really; it’s self-explanatory with him.”

Through two games this season, the 30-year-old linebacker is off to a productive start. Playing 82 percent of New England’s defensive snaps — fourth most on the team — Pro Football Focus has him credited with six total quarterback disruptions, including a pair of sacks.