1706434720 The Canadian colossus of the Ravens who chose the NFL

The Canadian colossus of the Ravens who chose the NFL instead of the NHL

OWINGS MILLS, Maryland | Long before he was chasing quarterbacks in the NFL, Brent Urban was a hit on the Ontario ice. Heading into his first conference finals appearance with the Ravens, the Canadian colossus clearly has no regrets about choosing football.

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In the Ravens locker room, the defensive end has become a veteran fixture. The Mississauga man, drafted in the fourth round in 2014, is in his second stint in Baltimore, where he played seven of his 10 seasons in the NFL.

He obviously feels no remorse, but at the start of the most important game of his career, Urban was kind enough to play the game in a meeting with Le Journal. What if he had pursued a career in ice hockey?

“Sometimes I wonder if I would have made it, but when I watch hockey today, the physical game seems less and less important to me and I really don't regret my decision to play football. “Maybe I’ll fight somewhere in the American League,” laughed the 6-foot-tall, 300-pound friendly giant.

A really good player

After all, Urban wasn't just a little Sunday hockey player. At the age of 7, he was inspired by his hero Eric Lindros and scored 100 goals and 100 assists in his season.

As a teenager, he was part of the Mississauga Bantam AAA Ice Dogs that won the Ontario championship.

A powerful left winger who was 1.90 meters tall and weighed 110 kilograms at the age of 15, he played alongside four players who were later drafted into the NHL: Ryan Ellis, Casey Cizikas, Jamie Devane and Ben Chiarot, who played for the Canadian for three seasons.

“We were one of the best teams in the world in our age group. Out of about 100 games a year, we won 98!

“Well, it was for the best. He's such a good guy! When we were 14-15 years old, we always and everywhere went to tournaments together. We had so much fun. We stayed in touch and sometimes texted each other,” he said.

The call of football

At age 16, Urban decided to give up hockey to pursue football, a sport he discovered during his high school career.

“My first love was ice hockey and it was the NHL that I dreamed of. When I started playing soccer in high school, I was already very strong and it came naturally to me. I had even more success in football.

“In ice hockey I played very physically. I liked that best, but I was in the penalty box too many times. I can imagine that if I had gone into the juniors I would have been given some kind of agitator role, but as much as I loved hitting, I also loved scoring goals. “It’s not a role I would have wanted,” he reflected.

Ready for a big time

Brent Urban has made three quarterback sacks this season and has played in all 17 of his team's games, including three as a starter.

In the rain at the end of the season, Brent Urban faced his archenemies, the Pittsburgh Steelers. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BALTIMORE RAVENS

At 32 years old, Urban is finally on the verge of his ultimate goal, just one win away from the Super Bowl. Last Saturday, after four unsuccessful attempts with the Ravens, Bears and Cowboys, he was finally able to enjoy the euphoria of a first playoff win.

“When I was young, I never imagined this life. I grew up playing hockey. I enjoyed the NFL, but it was a different world for me. There are so few players from Canada in the league. When I think about it today, it's surreal.

“I am aware of where I am in my career and I realize that this is my last chance. This is the time to win,” he said.

We wish him with all our hearts, because he won't be happy with his loyalties in the ice hockey scene.

“I've always been a huge Leafs fan and it's such a sad existence! Regardless, I will never be a Canadiens fan, much less the Senators. “I’ll always be faithful,” he concluded, chuckling.

Tavius ​​​​Robinson: a rookie from Ontario on the verge of the Super Bowl

Brent Urban has made three quarterback sacks this season and has played in all 17 of his team's games, including three as a starter.

Tavius ​​​​Robinson finished his first season with the Ravens with 26 tackles, including two for loss, and a quarterback sack. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BALTIMORE RAVENS

OWINGS MILLS, Maryland | The Canadian industry is smiling on the Ravens. After Brent Urban, another Ontarion, Tavius ​​​​Robinson, builds his nest among the crows in Baltimore.

The outside linebacker, originally from Guelph, was drafted in the fourth round nine years later, last spring, like his predecessor.

With a smile almost as wide as his 6-foot, 250-pound frame, he shook our hands when he realized we represented Le Journal.

“My dad was born in Montreal and has always been an Alouettes fan,” he said.

“My grandmother was also in Montreal for a long time. I had the opportunity to go there a few times. “I remember meeting friends there for a few drinks when I turned 18!” he laughed.

The jump to the USA

After playing two seasons at the University of Guelph, 2018 and 2019, Robinson decided it was best for him to make the jump to the NCAA to pursue his dream of reaching the NFL.

A short video of his highlights caused a stir and was sent to social networks like a bottle in the sea. So much so that he received scholarship offers from major programs like Ole Miss, LSU and Nebraska. He played in Mississippi for the next three seasons.

“I didn't know what to expect when I made my video. I didn't even know if I would get an offer, but Ole Miss noticed me and I felt like I should go there.

“This allowed me to learn more and improve faster. I think it would have been harder for me to make the jump from Canadian university football to the NFL. Maybe I would have gotten an invitation as a free agent. It was my life's goal, the NFL, so I might have made it, but I'm happy with the path I chose,” he said.

Very close to the goal

As he prepares to face the Chiefs in the American Conference finals at packed M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Robinson can hardly believe he was in Guelph just three years ago.

“When I saw that I was selected by the Ravens, I was really happy. There are so many good defensive players who have come through here. I like the Ravens style. It's good to be in a group that values ​​the physical aspect so much and plays with violence.

“It's years of work, but I'm happy to get to this point. I just want to keep going. I don’t want to think about it too much, but let’s just say a Super Bowl champion in Guelph and Montreal sounds good!”


Old people in large numbers

Brent Urban has made three quarterback sacks this season and has played in all 17 of his team's games, including three as a starter.

Ray Lewis will be part of a contingent of former Ravens guests. AFP

OWINGS MILLS, Maryland | There is no doubt that the Ravens are proud of their past successes and have a good relationship with them. Although the franchise is still relatively young, several legends have already shaped its history and will be present at the pre-game ceremonies at M&T Bank Stadium. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are introduced before kickoff. Anquan Boldin, Todd Heap, Matt Stover and Terrell Suggs will also be in attendance at the stadium, as will Jonathan Ogden, who will be an honorary captain. Another legend, Baltimore swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history with 28 medals, will also be introduced to the audience.

Intended for Benjamin St-Juste

Brent Urban has made three quarterback sacks this season and has played in all 17 of his team's games, including three as a starter.

Rashod Bateman was a teammate of Benjamin St-Juste. AFP

OWINGS MILLS, Maryland | Third-year receiver Rashod Bateman played alongside Quebec cornerback Benjamin St-Juste for two seasons at the University of Minnesota. The two former teammates are just an hour away as St-Juste plays in Washington and the two remain in regular contact. “We talked this week,” Bateman told the Journal. He is an excellent player. I'm happy for him. He played well this season and was healthy. I think he’s going to be a phenomenal cornerback in this league.”

A compassionate kicker

Brent Urban has made three quarterback sacks this season and has played in all 17 of his team's games, including three as a starter.

Justin Tucker mourns with other kickers, including Tyler Bass. Getty Images via AFP

OWINGS MILLS, Maryland | Poor Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass has been under fire since he missed a game-winning field goal against the Chiefs last Sunday. That missed punt had repercussions all the way to Baltimore. The Ravens have a chance to rely on one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history in Justin Tucker, and he wanted to defend his rival despite being a member of the Kickers' Brotherhood. “My heart goes out to him. He remains a good kicker and I know he will make more big kicks than miss. “We texted each other this week and he still seems to be in good spirits,” he noted of the man who has had to deal with death threats.