When Jarret Johnson left the Ravens, he knew a split was imminent.
Not only could the team not afford him under the salary cap, but they had plans for another linebacker, Paul Kruger.
Johnson, in his first season with the San Diego Chargers who host the Ravens on Sunday, stays in close contact with the Kruger, who injured his back early in his fourth season and only recently has started to live up to his potential.
"He knows how to play the position. I did help him when I was there, but when we first started talking he had some back issue," Johnson said. "I just shoot him a text or call him when we have a crossover game and I get to watch him play."
They won’t play against each other directly Sunday. Kruger has 4.5 sacks. One fewer than he had all of last season. He's also regained his role in the starting lineup.
"I kind of knew the writing on the wall going into the year (with) the way Kruger was coming on, the way things were kind of working out, other guys’ contracts," Johnson said.
Johnson watched last week’s game when the Ravens were at the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a rivalry he was part of for nine seasons.
"It was really weird watching the Pittsburgh game the other night on the way home from Denver," Johnson said. "That’s a game that the Ravens look forward to, and looking out there and me not being one of them was a little weird.
“This is going to be my first time playing against them so it’s going to be a shock. … It’s going to be a little like training camp…. Me, Vonta (Leach), Ray (Rice) and Ed Dickson and all those guys, we’ve all gone to war during training camp. So I guess it would be pretty similar."