As an unrestricted free agent, Marshal Yanda knew that he would be talking with a number of teams this week, and would have the chance to sift through deals that could have brought him big money and a chance to be the face of a team's offensive line.
That's a process many NFL players might relish. Yanda didn't. All along, the four-year veteran knew he wanted to return to the Ravens, a team with which he felt comfortable and in a city where he could contend for a Super Bowl.
Yanda talked with a couple other teams, but he eventually got his wish, as the offensive guard agreed with the Ravens on a five-year, $32 million contract on Tuesday.
"I wanted to stay here all along, and we got to do that, so I'm excited," Yanda said. "I'm really excited to do some good things this season. We've got a lot of unfinished business that we've built the last three years, and I'm excited to be a part of that. Just keep working hard and get out there and be sweating like everyone else and go to work."
Thirty-two million dollars is a lot of money for anyone, much less an Iowa farm boy. But Yanda insists that his new found money won't change him, and early indications are that he's not lying.
After signing his contract, Yanda needed to get all his belongings from Iowa to the Owings Mills area. Instead of hiring a moving crew, he packed up a U-Haul and he and his wife made the 15 hour drive through the night.
When he got hungry toward the end of the drive, Yanda didn't dine at a fancy restaurant; he grabbed a $5 footlong from Subway. (If you were wondering what type of sandwich Marshal Yanda goes with, he says he got chicken.)
It's that type of mentality that the Ravens like in Yanda. He's not flashy, and doesn't crave attention or ask for a lot. Instead, he puts his nose into his work, plays hard during practice and on gamedays, and brings a physical nature to the right side of the offensive line.
"Just growing up with the farming background, it just teaches you to work hard and to save your money and have fun playing the game," Yanda said. "A lot of offensive line plays, you're just being physical and setting the tone. When you've got one of those guys in the line, it pushes everyone else to be tough and be physical and get after guys, and I take pride in practice. I never missed a day of practice last year.
"If a bone is not sticking out, I'm playing. That's just the way I am. It's hard work out there, but that's the way it has to be. This is the NFL, so you're out there every day busting your butt and getting after guys. That's just the way I was brought up."
Despite the fact that the Ravens consider Yanda a Pro Bowl-caliber right guard, he spent last season at right tackle because of an injury to Jared Gaither. Yanda admits he would prefer to go back to guard this season, and it certainly appears that's the Ravens' plan for him.
"I'd like to say that is (going to happen)," Yanda said. "I'd like to stay at guard. But I'm a team guy, and if we need someone to play tackle, I'll be out there to play just to help the team win, because in the end, it's all about getting to that big game. And we want to get there this year, so if that means me playing tackle, I'll play tackle. If it means playing guard, that's good, too."