Patrick Queen doubles down on villainous intent betraying Ravens for Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed the former Ravens linebacker to a three-year deal, adding another footnote to the storied AFC North rivalry.

Los Angeles Rams v Baltimore Ravens
Los Angeles Rams v Baltimore Ravens / Michael Owens/GettyImages

In the latest footnote of a storied divisional rivalry, Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen has decided to join the enemy.

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Queen to a three-year, $41 million contract after Baltimore declined to pick up his fifth-year option. Queen's deal is the richest free agent contract in franchise history.

"This actually hurts me," Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey posted in response to the news.

Former Ravens LB Patrick Queen wants to be "villain" after joining Steelers

After trading in purple for gold, Queen hinted at being the villain in the form of a tweet after reports of his signing with the Steelers broke. Queen reiterated in his introductory news conference that he wants to be the villain in a rivalry that is already steeped in venom.

“It’s going to be weird, but I want to be the villain,” Queen said on Friday. “I want to be that guy. I'm looking to do some stuff to them.”

The AFC North has a rich history of hard-hitting defenses. It wasn't that long ago that all-time greats like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Troy Polamalu were patrolling the field, but Pittsburgh has struggled to find stability at the interior linebacker position since Ryan Shazier suffered a tragic career-ending spinal injury during the 2017 NFL season.

"That should be Day 1," Queen said of his role as a leader. "I don’t think there’s time to wait. When I step in, I have to be that guy. That’s why I came here — to be that guy. That’s going to be a natural step for me. I don’t have to step out of my comfort zone or anything. That will naturally flow."

Queen may be the most accomplished player to switch sides in this heated rivalry. He is just 24 years old and hasn't missed a single game in his career. In 2023, he compiled one interception, one forced fumble, six pass deflections, and a career-high 133 combined tackles. Queen was named a second-team All-Pro due to his contributions on a Ravens defense that allowed just 16.5 points per game — fewest in the league.

When Queen was asked why he chose to leave Baltimore for Pittsburgh, the young linebacker pointed to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and said, "That man right there."

Queen's relationship with Tomlin wasn't always great. In fact, it was ugly right from the start. Queen recalled a moment from his rookie season, when Tomlin told him he wasn't a Raven.

“When I was on their sideline my rookie year, Mike Tomlin was looking at me, yelling at me, ‘You’re not a Raven. You’re not a Raven. You’re not supposed to be there. You’re not one of them,’" Queen recalled.

At the time, Queen was insulted by the comment. Now, perhaps, it suggests that Tomlin had his eye on bringing the linebacker to the Steelers all along.

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