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Bills vs Ravens: Baltimore loses two players for season in Week 1

CB Kyle Fuller tore his ACL and LT Ja’Waun James ruptured an achilles in Baltimore’s game against the Jets

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens, who host the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 4 of the NFL season, lost two players during their 24-9 win over the New York Jets. With just 1:18 left in the game, slot cornerback Kyle Fuller was covering Jets receiver Elijah Moore when he landed awkwardly on a play in the end zone.

“It’s just one of those things. It’s just a crazy circumstance on astroturf,” Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh said about the play in which Fuller was injured. “Got pushed off and just landed the wrong way on the turf, and turf doesn’t usually give as much as grass, so that’s what happened.”

Initial reports from Ravens staff indicated that they thought the injury might not be severe, but after an MRI on Monday confirmed that Fuller had torn his left anterior cruciate ligament. With the traditional time for athletes to return to play after ACL surgery being eight to 12 months, the diagnosis puts the cornerback out for the season.

Fuller signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with Baltimore this offseason and, after recording 51 tackles with the Denver Broncos last season, was expected to help a defense that was missing Marcus Peters who is still recovering from a season-ending ACL injury that occurred last September.

Now with Fuller, who had three tackles before exiting Sunday’s game, out too, the Ravens will be calling on second-year defensive back Brandon Stephens to make the start until Peters, who was on Baltimore’s inactive list for Week 1, is ready to play.

When Harbaugh was asked about a timeline for Peters’s return, he said that he didn’t know when the 29-year-old cornerback would be back on the field.

“I don’t have the measurement on that,” Harbaugh said.

Adding insult to injury—literally—the Ravens also lost left tackle Ja’Wuan James in the second quarter of Sunday’s game when he was pushed back by Michael Clemons, a rookie on the Jets defensive line, and fell.

James was eventually carted off the field and Harbaugh confirmed post game that he had suffered an Achilles tendon tear. The tear is a second for James who hasn’t played in two years.

The 30-year-old tackle sat out the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and then tore his left Achilles in May 2021 forcing him to miss all of last season. He is currently in the second year of a two-year, $4.5 million contract.

“It’s a little bit of a different tear, it’s off the bone. It’s not the one that is mid-tendon,” Harbaugh said on Sunday when addressing the media concerning James’s injury. “He’s determined. He says he’s in a way better place than he was last time, and he’s determined to come back in time.”

Patrick Mekari will replace James at left tackle until Ronnie Stanley, who missed Week 1 while still suffering from an ankle injury that occurred in 2020 and forced him to have season-ending surgery for after playing just one game in 2021, is ready to play.