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Patrick Queen Emrbaces Shakeup to Steelers-Ravens Rivalry: ‘I Want to Be That Villain’

After the Pittsburgh Steelers signed former Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen, and Queen hopes to become the villain on the other side.



Pittsburgh Steelers LB Patrick Queen
Steelers linebacker Patrick Queen at his introductory press conference, Mar. 15, 2024 - Nick Farabaugh / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — It’s not often in the Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry against the Baltimore Ravens that players from either side turncoat against the other. There have been examples, but what are the examples of stars doing that? It’s few and far between, so when the team signed Patrick Queen in free agency, that caught more than a few people off guard.

But Queen has experienced the intensity and violence of the rivalry many times before. His vigor for hate in the rivalry came from an interaction with Mike Tomlin during his rookie season.

“When I was on their sideline my rookie year [Steelers Head Coach] 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.’ So, every time I play them there’s something personal,” Queen said back in October. “I don’t care if he was joking. I don’t care if he was serious. At the end of the day I’m on your sideline and you’re telling me I’m not a Raven. That’s kind of disrespectful.”

On the other side, Queen has no plans to change his mentality. But the source of hate comes from the intensity of the game itself, not some slight that he received as a fledging rookie linebacker. And as Queen recited the story, Tomlin wore a massive smile. After the signing, Queen heard some slights back from Baltimore, and his former teammates threw playful banter his way.

But once it comes time to get onto the football field, Patrick Queen wants to be known not as someone who was a former Raven but as the villain of that rivalry.

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

The 24-year-old was Baltimore’s first-round pick out of LSU in 2020 and has been a starter for all four seasons on the Ravens defense. However, Baltimore had to deal with Queen and his partner Roquan Smith hitting free agency this offseason. The Ravens chose to re-sign Smith to a five-year, $100 million contract in late January and let Queen hit the market, where the last team they likely wanted him to land snapped him up.

There have been doubts that Queen might be a product of Smith, but he wants to disprove those notions. Queen is still just 24 years old and came into the NFL as a 20-year-old out of LSU. That made him green while coming out of LSU, but he started to turn the corner once Smith came around. For Queen, that’s just natural progression, even though Smith helped mentor and take him to the next level.

“I think that whole situation, like he definitely helped, I learned a lot from him, but at the some time, I got to go out on the field, I have to perform, I have to tackle, I have to do this thing, I have to catch the ball,” Queen said. “So, when it comes to if he made me, I think I was already on my way. It just took a little time and hitting that stride in my third year. And then when he came, it helped me even more. Now, it’s my time to go out there and lead.”

Patrick Queen knows that this rivalry will take itself to new heights. But he is coming off his best season, wore the green dot, and feels he has a natural slope to improve. The ancillary rivalry storyline is just that. This is more about coming into Pittsburgh and creating an elite defense. After working with Mike Macdonald in Baltimore, Queen has an apparent upward trend.

Queen is coming off his best statistical season in Baltimore. In 2023, he played in all 17 games, racking up 133 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, six passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble. He was named a second-team All-Pro and was selected to the AFC Pro Bowl squad, his first career honor in each category.

The 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker does not have the size of typical Steelers players at the position, but he makes up for it with blistering speed. Queen ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and posted a 10-foot-5 broad jump at the 2020 NFL Combine.

“I’m gonna be that guy. I hate that I’ve gotta be that way but it is what it is. I’m where I want to be. I’m where I’m happy at right now. I’m where I’m wanted,” Queen said.

An outstanding cover man, Queen is finally the long-sought spiritual replacement for Ryan Shazier, whom the Steelers have been searching for as an inside linebacker. Queen will join Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, giving the Steelers three starting-capable inside linebackers for the 2024 season.

And it appears that a few former Ravens will help fuel this rivalry on the Steelers side.  It started with the Steelers claiming linebacker Jeremiah Moon off waivers from the Ravens in January, and now in the last three days, they’ve signed linebacker Patrick Queen and safety DeShon Elliott in free agency.

Given that this is one of the most high-profile rivalries in football, and most of these players grew up watching it, it is only right to want to be at the center of that. Queen hopes to bring tenacity to the Steelers’ defense. And that edge might carry over right into those rivalry games.