Former Alabama All-American Mark Ingram cleared NFL waivers on Wednesday and became a free agent, no longer a member of the Baltimore Ravens after two seasons of endearing himself to the team’s fans and his teammates.
But even though the Ravens released the running back with one season left on his contract, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said this wouldn’t be the end of the NFL line for Ingram.
“He’ll still play, I guarantee you,” Harbaugh said during his end-of-the-season press conference on Wednesday. “Mark and I had this conversation. He has plenty of football left. He’s going to contribute next year and beyond in the National Football League.”
Ingram already had said as much, writing that he’s “looking forward to my next opportunity because the best is still ahead” on his Instagram account on Monday night.
A Pro Bowler in his first season with Baltimore in 2019, Ingram’s 2020 campaign was hindered by an ankle injury and a stint on reserve/COVID-19 that caused him to miss three games. With the emergence of rookie JK Dobbins to fill Ingram’s role as a 1-2 running-back punch with Gus Edwards, the 10-year NFL veteran played only 18 snaps in the Ravens’ final six games.
Signed in 2019 as a free agent after he’d played eight seasons for the New Orleans Saints, Ingram was due a $5 million base salary for the 2021 season. With his release, the Ravens owe him nothing – except thanks.
Harbaugh agreed Ingram would be a Raven for life with Baltimore’s fans after helping the team post a combined 25-7 regular-season record over the past two campaigns, with the on-the-field success enhanced by enthusiastic press conferences and some of the best mic’d-up moments in NFL history.
“Mark has been a big part of us,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a very good player, a very physical back. I remember when we played him the last time we played the Saints, and you see a guy on tape, and then he ran up our sideline and hit a couple guys on the sideline and popped up. And I looked at him, I was like, ‘This guy is physical, man. This guy is a tank.’ And he also had great feet. I was really impressed with him. Then we got him here, and I got to see it close up.
“But then the other stuff that you’re talking about — the enthusiasm, the energy, the camaraderie, the locker-room stuff. All that stuff is just so much fun, and he just brought so much life every single day, so the fans are right to feel that way about him, and we feel the same way about him.”
After running for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns on 202 carries and catching 26 passes for 247 yards and five TDs in 2019, Ingram had 299 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries and six receptions for 50 yards in 2020.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Ingram has 7,324 yards and 62 touchdowns on 1,595 rushing attempts and 260 receptions for 1,895 yards and 10 touchdowns in 132 regular-season games. He’s also played in seven postseason games with 299 yards and one TD on 71 rushing attempts and 10 receptions for 57 yards.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.