Today, the Baltimore Ravens announced that former inside linebacker Zachary Orr is joining the coaching and personnel staff. Orr was an undrafted player out of North Texas, signing with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014. Orr was a backup linebacker for his first two seasons with the Ravens. However, in 2016, Orr found himself as the starting weak side linebacker. To both the surprise and delight of the Ravens, Orr was one of Baltimore’s leaders on defense. Racking up over 40 tackles, and picking off the quarterback three times, Orr was able to make his presence felt. With a strong performance in 2016, Orr’s future in the NFL looked very bright. However, Orr was diagnosed with a rare spinal condition. His C1 vertebra was not fully formed, and doctors felt his career in playing football would risk serious injury or even death.
Despite retiring just three years into his NFL career because of his condition, Orr decided to attempt a comeback. Other doctors gave him a second opinion, believing the injury to not be as serious as once considered. During his attempt to return, Orr visited numerous teams, including the Ravens. However, no NFL team medical staff cleared him. All of the team doctors believed the risk was still there, and not worth taking. Orr then retired for a second, and final time, writing a piece on the Player’s Tribune. Despite being retired from playing football, Orr could still not be kept away from the game.
Last week, Zach Orr stopped by the Ravens team practice to take in the scene, and help out. John Harbaugh expressed interest in adding Orr to the coaching staff, offering him a job. Today, Zachary Orr officially joined the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff. He will serve as an assistant to the linebackers coach, Don Martindale, during the season. Then, in the offseason, Orr will move into the personnel department. There, he will give his input on the roster, and how the team should look going forward. Orr is a great addition to the Ravens staff, for many reasons. He is obviously familiar with the organization, as having played there the last three seasons. He also has a great football mind and is a proven leader during his time in Baltimore. Hopefully, this will be the start to a very long and productive coaching career.