Ray Lewis has retired, Paul Kruger has bolted for the Browns, Dannell Ellerbe has made his way to Miami, Bernard Pollard has been cut and free agent Ed Reed might not be brought back.
The newly signed Canty, a 6-foot-7, 317-lb. defensive lineman who has played eight years in the NFL, will likely be counted as an integral member of the unit going forward. Speaking to the Baltimore media for the first time via conference call Wednesday, Canty expressed hope that the defense won’t fall off despite such significant losses.
“There’s always transition in the National Football League. That’s just the nature of our business with the new salary cap and how things are with the CBA,” he said. “There’s a lot of moving parts all the time, so you have to put your football team back together every year.
“Every year is different, but I’m confident that we have enough guys here that understand what this thing is all about, understand what it takes to be successful.”
Canty was a member of the New York Giants’ Super Bowl team in 2011 and knows there are challenges coming off of a championship, just as the Ravens could face next season.
“They’ve got to guard against the Super Bowl hangover, and that’s just a level of complacency,” Canty said. “When you have an opportunity to win a championship, everybody’s telling you how great you are and then the tendency is for guys to think they can just pick up where they left off. And every year is a different year, you have to put your team back together. So that’s definitely going to be a challenge.
“That’s basically our football team going forward. But I have the confidence that coach (John) Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff and the players are on the same page and that we understand we have to work in order to afford ourselves the opportunity to be successful.”
Considering the fact that the defense will be a diminished group, why did Canty choose to come to Baltimore?
“I’m very excited about being a Baltimore Raven. The franchise has a tradition of excellence and so just to come and be a part of it is really exciting,” he said. “I definitely see myself being an impact player on that defensive front in the rotation including some very great players - Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody and Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw. So I’m looking forward to getting in there with those guys and developing and establishing that rapport so we can go out on the field and dominate.”
The Ravens stood out above Canty’s other suitors for a reason.
“Just the ability to win, the ability to be right there and every year, have an opportunity to win a championship,” he said. “Since Joe Flacco has been the quarterback of this football team, they have been in the playoffs every year. So that’s definitely something that factored in heavily on my decision. It’s just the opportunity to come in here and be a part of a great defensive line and the role that Mr. (Ozzie) Newsome and coach Harbaugh want me to play, I’m very comfortable with it and I’m excited to have that opportunity.
“They definitely want me to be a leader on this football team, in the locker room and on the field. They want me to definitely play a variety of different positions - play defensive end, defensive tackle, move around a little bit. So I’m excited about that opportunity. That’s something that I didn’t have when I was here with the Giants, so I’m excited about the opportunity to do that. And being a defense that’s multiple looks, that’s very aggressive, that’s something that’s appealing to me.”
Canty believes he brings a lot to the table for the Ravens.
“I definitely think that I’m an intelligent football player. I have a good degree of athleticism. I’m a big athlete,” he said. “I’m able to do a variety of things. I think that I have a lot of tools in my tool bag. I’ve been in the NFL eight years, so I’m a master at my technique. That shows on film. I definitely think those are some of the things that I can bring. I can also teach a lot of the guys, a lot of the younger guys and help develop them as well.”
Canty was limited to nine games in 2012 by a knee injury, but said he’s now healed and set to play.
“I’m ready to play football. I went to the battery of doctors in Baltimore yesterday and they gave me the clearance,” he said. “I’m 100 percent ready to go and I’m excited about being started with the offseason program with the team.”