The Ravens have added inside-linebacker AJ Klein to their 53-man roster, removing him from the New York Giants’ practice squad.
Klein played for the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills and Giants throughout his 10-year NFL career. He played in 15 games for the Bills last season, starting four of them. The 31-year-old joined the Giants’ training squad on Monday after the Bills released him offseason.
“It’s been quite 48 hours for him, I understand, just from talking to him,” defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said on Thursday. “But shoot, he has a great track record. He has been in the competition for a long time. He knows how to play. He’s just been in a very familiar system lately. So shoot, we were just talking about a few phone calls, and he picks right up on special teams. But he can play all three linebacker spots, so he’s going to give us some positional flexibility and just needed depth now. And then we’ll see where it goes.”
The Ravens needed help from inside linebacker, where inconsistency and injuries have stretched the group thin. Starters Patrick Queen and Josh Bynes have both struggled this season, and top reserve Malik Harrison has been forced to play on the brink amid injuries to the outer linebacker group. Rookie Josh Ross (foot) is on injured reserve and special teams, Kristian Welch and Del’Shawn Phillips, have only played one combined defense this season.
Klein said on Thursday he saw a “good fit” in Baltimore. He began studying the Giants’ defense when he signed earlier this week, saying there are “many transfers” from former Ravens coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s system to Macdonald’s. But it’s unclear if Klein could be ready for Sunday night’s game against the Bengals; he joked that “I’m not sure what the game plan even is” for Cincinnati. He would learn that later in the day.
“I’ve had a lot of good coaches and I’ve played a lot of ball,” he said. “So hopefully I can bring experience and share that knowledge and help the back seven communicate. Whatever asset or wherever they see me playing and helping, I will.”
Over 134 career games, Klein has 449 tackles, 15 1/2 sacks, four interceptions and eight forced fumbles.