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Ravens' Arthur Jones overcame injury, death of sister on path to NFL

By By Matt Vensel

The Baltimore Sun (MCT)

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 5:35 p.m. MST

Still together, still fighting

As Jon, whose nickname in mixed martial arts is "Bones," trained for his first title UFC defense _ it would be against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson _ this summer in Albuquerque, Arthur was at his side.

To get in better shape for the 2011 season, Arthur, a two-time New York state wrestling champ in high school, participated in boxing and MMA workouts, sprinted up sand dunes with Jon and swam in the pool at night. If the NFL lockout had stretched into August, Arthur was prepared to schedule his first pro MMA bout. He is still interested in getting into the Octagon in the future.

"I have no doubt in my mind that Arthur could be a top heavyweight in the UFC if he dedicated two years to mixed martial arts," Jon insists. "He could hang with the top guys in the sport."

Thanks to the workouts with Jon, Arthur showed up to training camp in much better shape than his rookie year (though he admits it has been hard to keep his weight down during the winter).

"He's done a tremendous job," Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said two weeks ago before throwing a jab at Arthur. "Obviously, he doesn't look as good as his two brothers look."

The Ravens like Arthur's versatility, as he can play both defensive tackle and end. Because of his wrestling background _ his father and both of his brothers wrestled in high school, too _ he plays with good leverage. They also believe he has surprising quickness for a man of his size, though the 6-foot-3, 313-pound Endicott, N.Y. native is still looking to record his first NFL sack.

"It's hard to find good, solid defensive linemen," Ravens defensive line coach Clarence Brooks said. "And when you've got those guys in the program, you keep them, you nourish them, you make them better, and they end up playing more down the line and doing good things."

Added Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who believes Arthur will eventually be a starter in the NFL, whether it is here or elsewhere: "He's dangerous. He may be all smiles and goofy and all that, but his brother is a UFC champion and he knows that Arthur can throw down."

Arthur has made 20 tackles in 14 games in 2011 as the primary backup to both Ngata and Cory Redding. He is "hungry" for a larger role, but he says he is content with being a backup for now. He left the Ravens' 20-13 win over the Texans with a leg injury, which head coach John Harbaugh has said is not serious.

Arthur made his first career start against the Cleveland Browns on Christmas Eve when Redding was scratched with an ankle injury. His parents, brothers and two-year-old son (Arthur IV) were at M&T Bank Stadium when he was announced as a starter and sprinted out of the tunnel and through a cloud of smoke onto the field. Chandler, who was witnessing an NFL game live for the first time, said the sight sent chills down his spine.

"It was definitely a beautiful Christmas gift for me. It was great for them to see me run out of that tunnel," Arthur said. "It was special. And more important, we got the win on top of it."

The next day, he and Jon were exchanging love slaps at his Baltimore home. It wasn't an NFL field or the Octagon, but at that moment, it was the most important battle each had in 2011.

"I knew it was going to happen and I got the best of him," Arthur said. "So the older brother still has it on him."

(c)2012 The Baltimore Sun

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