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Ravens' Roquan Smith on ex-teammate Patrick Queen joining Steelers: 'It will be good to see him twice a year'

In March, Patrick Queen crossed enemy lines.

After four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Queen left Charm City for the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, trading purple and black for black and gold. In one swift decision, the linebacker switched sides in one of the AFC's most intense divisional rivalries, leaving behind his former teammates to reckon with their new reality.

Queen's former running mate, star linebacker Roquan Smith, understands it's all part of the business of the NFL. No hard feelings, Smith says -- except for when they're between the white lines.

"It's not weird at all. Life happens, and he's somewhere else right now," Smith said of Queen. "I got to tear his picture down in the LB room. So, you know we have linebackers all over the wall. I need a video of me probably punching it or something like that. Or maybe I'll ask [special teams coach Chris Horton] if I can get out there on special on a punt play and he stays to get something on him.

"But I'm happy for him. I'm wishing him all the best and it will be good to see him twice a year. He's still my guy but when war is war, that's what it is."

The battles between the Ravens and Steelers have been wars in the last two decades. Since the NFL realigned divisions in 2002, either Baltimore or Pittsburgh has won the AFC North 16 times. The Steelers own a slight edge with nine division crowns to the Ravens' seven.

These matchups matter every year. And as Queen adjusts to his new attire and environment, he'll also have to prepare to attempt to bottle up a new Raven with whom he never shared a locker room: running back Derrick Henry.

Smith couldn't be more excited about welcoming the two-time rushing champion to a team that features two-time NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. If the new partnership reaches its potential, it should make the jobs of Smith and the rest of the Ravens' defense that much easier.

"I think that's huge. I think it's going to make us stick to what we do," Smith said of the addition of Henry. "Having a guy like him anytime you need a play with him and Lamar back there, I think it's going to be crucial. I'm excited. It's going to open up a lot for everyone. Going up against the guy, I know the type of threat he opposed to other defenses. So, it's going to be scary and I'm excited to see."

With the addition of Queen in 2023 and Cole Holcomb in 2022, the Steelers have rebuilt their linebacking corps in little more than a year's time. They'll need all 11 defenders to bottle up Henry in what promises to be a classic, rough-and-tumble matchup in the AFC North in 2024.

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