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33-year-old Ravens LB Justin Houston having career year: 'I just want to glorify God'

A seventh AFC North title in franchise history is in sight for the 2022 Baltimore Ravens. Thanks to a three-game winning streak, they have a 6-3 record and a one-game lead over the Bengals in the division with the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL.

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Yet in order to stay out in front of Cincinnati, last year’s AFC representative in the Super Bowl, the Ravens will need edge rusher Justin Houston to continue to perform at a Pro-Bowl level. Despite missing three games, Houston is tied for second in the entire NFL with 8.5 sacks on the season (becoming the first player in franchise history to record three straight multi-sack games). In fact, he’s on pace this season for the second-most sacks in his 12-year career, behind only his remarkable 2014 performance with the Kansas City Chiefs when he amassed 22 sacks to lead the NFL.

Most recently on Monday night, Houston and his Ravens teammates frustrated the New Orleans Saints’ offense in a 27-13 win, holding them to six points before a late touchdown with 4:13 left. Houston’s 2.5 sacks and fourth-quarter interception quickly became the talk of the league, and Wednesday he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

“It’s just inspiring to be in the room with a guy like that,” Ravens linebacker Odafe Oweh said of Houston in his postgame press conference. “It’s impressive to see.”

Since Houston arrived in Baltimore ahead of the 2021 season, the the 33-year-old four-time Pro Bowler with 110.5 career sacks has become one of the Ravens’ most beloved teammates. He’s intentionally sought to be a mentor to many younger players, especially fellow pass rushers like Oweh, and is one of the most respected voices in the locker room.

Yet despite the praise directed to him after the Saints game, Houston made sure to deflect it to his Father in Heaven.

“This is all God. To God be the glory,” Houston said in an on-field interview following the game. “He healed me, restored me, renewed my body … you gotta give Him all the glory, man. The sky’s the limit, and He showed up in a big way for me and this team.”

Houston followed that up in his postgame press conference by crediting God with leading him back to the NFL after contemplating retirement.

“Listen, this is all God, man. This is all God. I think that was my biggest commitment this offseason,” Houston said. “I was actually thinking about retiring. My wife and I took a vacation, and I turned my phone off for about three or four days. And I just prayed and I prayed and I prayed, and I heard God.

“I literally heard God say, ‘Give Me all of you and I will give you your desires.’ And I told my wife, I said, ‘Listen, I’m going to be all in this season, and I just want to glorify God in all I do.’ The things that are happening on the field I can’t even explain. … I think it’s amazing how God’s working through me right now. I just pray He’s going to continue to work through us.”

Houston, a Georgia native and a former Georgia Bulldog, isn’t shy to speak about his faith on Instagram either:

 

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A post shared by Justin Houston (@jhouston50)

 

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A post shared by Justin Houston (@jhouston50)

 

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A post shared by Justin Houston (@jhouston50)


The decision to re-sign Houston during the offseason in the twilight of his career looks better and better for Baltimore’s front office. And with key players on the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens are trending in the right direction and looking to push the Bills and Chiefs in the AFC.

Baltimore has a bye this week, next returning to action at home against the Carolina Panthers (2-7) on Nov. 20 with a chance to extend the winning streak to four.

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