Ravens have unfinished business to take care of
This is the second time Ravens safety James Ihedigbo has been in this position.
He’s faced his former team, the New England Patriots, in Week 3. He’ll meet them again Sunday in the AFC championship game.
One year ago, Ihedigbo had 2 solo tackles, 4 assisted and 1 sack of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in New England’s 23-20 victory as his former team advanced to the Super Bowl.
Ihedigbo's sack dropped Flacco for a 12-yard loss on 3rd-and-8 in the third quarter. It pushed the Ravens back to the 21-yard line and they settled for a field goal and a 20-16 lead.
"No, not strange at all," Ihedigbo said of changing locker rooms. "It’s exactly where it’s supposed to be. I’m here as a Raven. I love being here. I’m proud to be here. And I’m proud to go out with these guys and fight for the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl."
When starting strong safety Bernard Pollard missed the last three regular-season games with a rib injury, the Ravens didn't appear out of sync with Ihedigbo filling his role.
He finished the season with 25 tackles, 18 of them solo. In a 13-10 victory at the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11, he had 1 sack. He also had a slammed into quarterback Byron Leftwich, cracking his ribs. Leftwich never played again this season.
Ihedigbo didn't play a defensive snap in last week’s 38-35 double-overtime win at the Denver Broncos but he was on the field for 31 special-teams plays. The Ravens gave up a punt and kick return for touchdowns, the first time they've given up scores on either this season.
Ihedigbo played college football at University of Massachusetts, spent his first three NFL seasons with the New York Jets and one with the Patriots. Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees spent 2006-10 with the Patriots in the same role.
Ihedigbo played 20 special teams snaps in the Ravens’ 31-30 regular-season victory. He also didn't play a defensive snap in that game.
“I don’t know if it helps at all,” Ihedigbo said about his knowledge about the Patriots. “Teams change every year, but one thing we know is Tom Brady is a phenomenal quarterback. … We have our hands full.”