The Baltimore Ravens secondary took a significant hit on Thursday after head coach John Harbaugh announced that star nickelback Tavon Young is expected to miss the entire 2019 season due to a neck injury.
Young suffered the injury in practice and did not suit up in the Ravens' second preseason exhibition of the summer. As Harbaugh describes it, Young is dealing with a "disc issue" in his neck.
"Tavon has a more serious issue than we thought," Harbaugh said following Baltimore's 26-13 win over the Packers on Thursday, via the team website. "He has a neck issue. Doctors can explain it, but it's a disc issue. That's a serious injury. He could be out for the remainder of the season. We'll know soon, but it doesn't look good for Tavon."
Harbaugh noted that there is an outside chance that Young's camp could simply try to see if his neck will heal, but that's not something they are pushing for with the defensive back.
"There is an outside chance that you opt to try to see if it will heal, but we're not recommending that right now, in his best interest," he said. "That's always the first consideration, is his long-term well-being. If he gets the procedure done – I don't want to speak too early – but if he gets it done, he'll be fine and good to go. It's probably the best thing to do."
Young became the highest-paid nickelback in the NFL this offseason after the Ravens inked him to a three-year, $25.8 million deal with $10 million guaranteed. He first arrived in Baltimore in 2016 after the franchise selected him in the fourth round out of Temple.
Last year, the 5-foo-9, 185 pounder played in 15 regular season games for the Ravens (six starts) and notched 37 total tackles, two sacks, five passes defended and one interception. Young also picked up three fumble recoveries and took two of them to the house for touchdowns.
The 2018 campaign was also a comeback story for Young after he suffered a torn ACL during OTAs in 2017 and missed the entire year. Now, it appears like he'll have to go on another comeback run in 2020.
"It's very tough," safety Earl Thomas III said of Young's injury. "You're talking about a Pro Bowl-caliber guy. I feel like he was just coming into his own. The thing that's going to challenge us is we don't really have any weak links. Cyrus (Jones) is going to step right in and do a great job for us, too."
With Young seemingly out of the picture, Jones, formerly a second round pick of the New England Patriots, is slated to take over as Baltimore's nickelback.