Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (R) tries to tackle Baltimore Ravens player Courtney Upshaw (L) after a fumble in the first half of their pre-season game at AT&T; Stadium in Arlington, Texas, USA, 16 August 2014.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (R) tries to tackle Baltimore Ravens player Courtney Upshaw (L) after a fumble in the first half of their pre-season game at AT&T; Stadium in Arlington, Texas, USA, 16 August 2014. EPA/LARRY W. SMITH

Baltimore Ravens giant throws support behind Jarryd Hayne

A 123kg giant with the responsibility of putting big hits on the best attackers in the NFL has thrown his support behind Jarryd Hayne making a successful switch from rugby league star to American football.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw is a feared defender - he made headlines when he hammered star Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on a sack last month, which the Ravens won 26-6.

Roethlisberger, who bounced back to mastermind a 43-23 win over the Ravens this week, was left in awe of Upshaw's hit at the time.

He said it was the second hardest hit he's received in his distinguished career, adding he lost his breath instantly afterwards.

If Hayne does make it to the top of the American football tree, he can bet Upshaw, who earned first-team All American honours while playing for proud college team Alabama, will come after him.

But Upshaw did support the former freakish Eels fullback in his aims to make the NFL ranks.

"With the right team and the right opportunity, you never count anybody out," Upshaw told APN.

"If he keeps trying and pushing, hopefully he'll get that chance."

Despite his team's big loss to Pittsburgh this week, Upshaw said the Ravens - the 2013 champions - still possessed a fearsome defensive line.

"I feel this defence is one of the best in the league to be honest with you," he said.

"We can always improve after each game, but I feel like we're one of the best defences in the league."

And the reasoning behind that was simple.

"We're always going to be competitive just from the way we practice each day, from the top down, starting from the guys upstairs," Upshaw said.

"We're always going to be competitive. We don't like to lose - I don't know what team wants to lose, or expects to lose.
"We come here every Sunday expecting to win."

Upshaw, of YouTube fame for lifting and flipping a car in an advertisement for some energy products, also won the MVP in the lucrative Capital One Bowl in 2011.

But as he tries to help the Ravens improve on a 5-4 record, with the team sitting last in the AFC North conference, that is the last thing on the 24-year-old's mind right now.

"This is the NFL. You can't look at what you did at college level. I don't bank off what I did in college," Upshaw said.

The Ravens' next game is against the Tennessee Titans on Monday morning (AEST).



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