Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer 14d

Austin Howard isn't focused on being Superman in return to Oakland

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Austin Howard's focus is not to get overwhelmed by his homecoming on Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens' starting right tackle heads back to Oakland just 73 days after being cut by the Raiders. Howard, who played three seasons for the Raiders, would be pleased with a victory as well as a consistent and balanced game from himself.

"Obviously, it's going to be an emotional thing coming from a team that released you," Howard said. "The fortunate part of this is I've been in this league for eight years now. It isn't the first time I've been released. You can't let your emotions get the better of you. I'm going to go out there, stay focused and and stay within myself. You don't have to go out there and be Superman."

Howard signed a three-year, $15 million contract ($4.5 million guaranteed) with the Ravens on Aug. 4. He replaced three-year starter Rick Wagner, who signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency, and has played solidly in four games.

Howard has graded out as the 10th-best offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus on a Baltimore offensive line that has struggled this year.

"Obviously, he has a little extra chip on his shoulder going into this game," offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley said of Howard. "We definitely get the intensity that this game is going to bring and [how] physical that it’s going to become."

Howard could line up several times against former teammate Khalil Mack, one of the top pass-rushers in the league. Mack has recorded 15 sacks in 17 games, including four this season.

With the Ravens, Howard has held up quite well in pass protection. He hasn't allowed a sack in 134 pass-blocking snaps this season. Pro Football Focus ranks him 15th in pass-blocking efficiency among offensive tackles.

"It's one of those unique experiences and one of those unique deals where you have to go out and just play the game," Howard said.

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