OWINGS MILLS — Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton has mixed emotions about playing in the 2024 Pro Bowl this weekend in Orlando.
He was grateful to receive the honor, but he had other, loftier plans.
“It’s a blessing to be in it. I didn’t really want to play in it, because we wanted to be in the Super Bowl,” Hamilton said. “But yes, I’m going to go down there and try to have some fun.”
The Ravens’ season ended with a thud when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-10, in the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium last Sunday. Hamilton was matched at times against Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and the players had an intense battle throughout the game.
Kelce, who finished with 116 yards on 11 catches, managed a nifty, one-handed, 19-yard touchdown reception against Hamilton in the second quarter. Kelce and Hamilton embraced after the game with Kelce saying, “Great game.”
“It was man-to-man, [and] it was great throw [and] catch; you have to live with it,” Hamilton said about the touchdown pass from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “But I thought, me personally, I responded well to it. But as a defense as a whole, we schemed it up to where you couldn’t break the game open, and I feel like we do a good job of that – keeping them contained. Mahomes made some great plays, as well, and that’s why I credit them with the win. They have great players who are going to make plays, and they just made more than us.”
The sting from that loss will linger, but Hamilton plans to do his part to keep the Ravens in contention for a Super Bowl.
“I feel like I set a good foundation this year, but it’s, ‘what have you done for me lately?’ in this league, so I’m going to try to build on it next year and going forward,” he said. “But it’s something to look back on and be proud of, and [I] just hope for better next year.”
In just his second season, Hamilton emerged as one of the top safeties in the NFL, a leader in the secondary and a playmaker.
Hamilton earned All-Pro honors after setting the Ravens’ single-season record for defensive backs with 10 tackles for a loss. He had 13 passes defensed, which was tied with Detroit’s Brian Branch for the most by a safety this season. Hamilton had three sacks in the first half against the Colts on September 25th, which tied an NFL record by a defensive back.
He brings talent and instincts, and has become a leader on defense.
“I try to go out there and be an energy guy and just allow guys to build off what I’m doing on the field, whether it’s making a play, communicating, giving guys confidence – stuff like that,” Hamilton said. “And I feel like that’s something that I’ve grown into this year. In terms of vocally, I feel like I can build on that a little more going into … I’m still 22 and trying to find my way, in that sense, but we’ve got time for that.”
The Ravens have 22 unrestricted free agents, including seven starters and two All-Pros, eligible to sign with other teams when the new league year begins on March 13th. The roster could look dramatically different when the team convenes for training camp in July.
“It’s part of this league,” Hamilton said about the turnover. “No team is the same year in and year out. And luckily, for us, we’ve got a group of core guys who are going to still be here, but we’re losing a lot, at the same time. That’s happening to everybody around the league, so it’s up to us to just lock back in, no matter who is coaching us [and], no matter who is playing with us. The mission stays the same, and I think we’re all bought in on that.”