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Browns' Za'Darius Smith speaks on not signing with Ravens last offseason, returning to AFC North

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BALTIMORE - Many people thought three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Za'Darius Smith was going to sign with the Ravens last offseason.

Instead, he committed to a three-year, $42 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

Smith, a former Ravens' fourth-round draft pick, has returned to the AFC North after he was recently traded to the Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens had offered Smith a four-year, $35 million deal that he was reportedly close to agreeing on.

According to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec, Smith "changed his mind."

"There was something where somebody leaked something that I agreed to the deal but I never did," Smith told the media in Cleveland.

Smith went on to record 10 sacks for the Vikings last season.

He has 54.5. sacks in eight seasons, and played his first four seasons in Baltimore.

Smith will play two games against the Ravens this season after becoming the Browns' new defensive end.

The Browns play the Ravens in Cleveland on Oct. 1 and then in Baltimore on Nov. 12.

"A lot of Baltimore Ravens fans are upset about that," Smith said. "When I get ready to go back, it's going to be pretty fun. A lot of people may be booing for me and a lot of people may be happy for me at the same time."

Smith said he worked out with a couple of Ravens in Oriando this offseason, and remains friends with some of them, including running back Gus Edwards.

"I worked with Gus (Edwards), Gus the Bus. I told him if I catch him, I'm going to have to pop him one or two times," Smith said. "But it's all fun and games because we are still friends. I can't wait to see John Harbaugh, and Lamar, this year. It's going to be fun."

Smith was asked, as a defender on the other team, what will it take to slow down Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

"Everybody has to be in their gap. Everybody has got to know their assignment," Smith said. If he gets loose, we all know what could happen. Hopefully, we will be able to prepare for him the right way and be able to contain him."

Smith is on a Browns defense that also includes Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and Dalvin Tomlinson.

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