Sun, 28 Feb 2021

Mark Ingram Thanks Ravens in Goodbye Message

Baltimore Ravens
19 Jan 2021, 22:25 GMT+10

Ryan Mink

Mark Ingram II posted a goodbye message to the Ravens, fans and his teammates Monday evening amidst reports that he has been informed he will be released by Baltimore Tuesday.

"I'd like to thank Mr. Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens for being a first class organization and welcoming my family and I to the city," Ingram wrote. "I love all the real ones in flock nation that supported me unconditionally and showed love to the boy these last 2 years. To my blood brothers, what's understood Ain gotta be explained!! Call on 21 I got ya back forever y'all already know!!

"I'm looking forward to my next opportunity because the best is still ahead."

The Ravens would reportedly save $5 million against the 2021 salary cap by parting ways with Ingram. The veteran was a healthy scratch in four of the Ravens' last five games, including both playoff games, as rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards became Baltimore's lead running backs.

That doesn't diminish in any way what Ingram brought to Baltimore.

Ingram, 31, went to his third Pro Bowl in 2019 after being the lead running back of the Ravens' record-setting ground attack. He scored the fourth-most touchdowns in the league (15), rushed for 1,018 yards, and added another 247 yards of receiving.

Ingram opened the 2020 season as the Ravens' lead running back, but Baltimore split reps between Ingram, Dobbins and Edwards for much of the season before shifting to more of a two-back attack late in the year.

Ingram still averaged 4.2 yards per carry but he had just 72 attempts for 299 yards and two touchdowns. His 30-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 in Houston early in the season essentially sealed a Ravens win.

But Ingram was much more than just a good player. The veteran was in many ways the heartbeat of the Ravens the past two years, and he will be greatly missed in the locker room.

His infectious joy for life and passion for the game rubbed off on his teammates. Ingram worked hard, and he had fun too. Even during a challenging season in which he saw his role reduced, Ingram kept his positive attitude and continued mentoring the Ravens' younger backs.

The love his teammates have for him is clear just looking at the numerous replies to his goodbye message in which Dobbins, Edwards, Mark Andrews, Ronnie Stanley and other Ravens called him "family" and "big bro" for life.

Voted the best personality in the NFL before the season, Ingram is loved by players around the league, as Tennessee running back (and former Alabama teammate) Derrick Henry and former New Orleans Saints teammate Alvin Kamara also chimed in with replies to Ingram's post.

Numerous running backs have continued strong careers into their 30s. Frank Gore is 37 years old and just ran for 653 yards for the New York Jets this season. He topped 1,000 yards when he was 33. Ingram has largely been in a timeshare over his career and still has a lot of football left. The Ravens will surely be rooting for him wherever he lands.

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