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Jihad Ward (born May 11, 1994) is an American football defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Illinois.

Jihad Ward
refer to caption
Ward with the Oakland Raiders in 2016
No. 53 – Baltimore Ravens
Position:Defensive end
Personal information
Born: (1994-05-11) May 11, 1994 (age 25)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:290 lb (132 kg)
Career information
High school:Edward W. Bok Technical
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
NFL Draft:2016 / Round: 2 / Pick: 44
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Total tackles:36
Forced fumbles:0
Fumble recoveries:1
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early yearsEdit

Ward attended Edward W. Bok Technical High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He didn't play football until his sophomore year. He began as a wide receiver and safety, before being converted into a stand up defensive end as a junior.

He received second-team All-City (2010) and first-team All-City (2011) honors. He also practiced basketball.

College careerEdit

Ward attended Globe Institute of Technology for two years to improve his grades. In 2013, he played in 7 games, making 26 tackles (3 for loss) and 2 sacks.

In 2014, he transferred to the University of Illinois.[1] He was named a starter at defensive end in the fourth game of the season. He posted 51 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries (led the conference), 2 forced fumbles and one pass defensed.[2][3]

As a senior, he started all 12 games, playing both at defensive end and defensive tackle. He registered 53 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.[4] Against the University of Iowa, he had a career-high 11 tackles, including nine solo.

In his last two years, he had 104 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 5 fumble recoveries, 3 forced fumbles and 3 passes defensed.

Professional careerEdit

Coming out of college, most analysts projected Ward to be a second or third round selection. Although analysts had said he has above athletic ability for a man his size, can play both end spots in a 3-4 or 4-3, is large enough to play defensive tackle in 4-3, and could become a quality pass rusher in the NFL, he was also seen as a developmental project who needs improvement in his power, and has inconsistent balance in contact.[5]

Ward was invited to the NFL scouting combine and also participated at Illinois' Pro Day and even improved on the majority of his combine numbers. Representatives and scouts from all 32 teams showed up at Illinois' Pro Day, which was ran by head coach Lovie Smith. Defensive line coaches from the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Houston Texans came especially to watch Ward perform.[6]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 5 12 in
(1.97 m)
297 lb
(135 kg)
33 78 in
(0.86 m)
9 38 in
(0.24 m)
5.07 s 4.63 s 7.38 s 28 in
(0.71 m)
9 ft 3 in
(2.82 m)
20 reps
All values from NFL Scouting Combine[5]

Oakland RaidersEdit

Ward was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round (44th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft, after dropping because he had a knee injury that was expected to require arthroscopic surgery.[7] He didn't participate much in organized team activities during the offseason. Ward finished his rookie season with 30 tackles in 16 games (13 starts) and wasn't very effective.

On July 6, 2017, it was revealed that he had surgery on his left foot after injuring it during a workout, putting him out of action until mid-August.[8] The injury limited him during the season, playing in only 5 games and was declared inactive in 10 contests.

Dallas CowboysEdit

On April 28, 2018, the Raiders traded Ward to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for wide receiver Ryan Switzer, neither of whom would remain on their new rosters for long.[9] Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli coached Ward in the 2016 Senior Bowl.

On September 1, 2018, the Cowboys waived Ward during final roster cuts.[10]

Indianapolis ColtsEdit

Jihad Ward in a game against the Washington Redskins in 2018

On September 3, 2018, the Indianapolis Colts signed Ward to their practice squad.[11] The team promoted him to the active roster on September 13, 2018.[12] He was placed on injured reserve on October 26, 2018 with an ankle injury.[13]

On October 1, 2019, Ward was released by the Colts.[14]

Baltimore RavensEdit

On October 7, 2019, Ward was signed by the Baltimore Ravens.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Ward is Muslim. He has said that his name, Jihad, which is popular where he was raised in Philadelphia, has been misunderstood due to the negative connotations associated with the term that has been used to describe Islamic violence against non-Muslims.[16]


  1. ^ DE Jihad Ward took long road from North Philly to Illinois
  2. ^ "Jihad Ward on the move upward at Illinois". Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  3. ^ "Former Bok Tech star Jihad Ward shines for Illinois". Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Athletic defensive lineman Jihad Ward an intriguing option for Steelers
  5. ^ a b "NFL Draft Profile: Jihad Ward". Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  6. ^ Gil Brandt (March 10, 2016). "DL coaches from three NFL teams check out Illinois' Ward". Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "Oakland Raiders Select Illinois DE Jihad Ward in the 2nd Round of the 2016 NFL Draft". April 29, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  8. ^ "Jihad Ward has foot surgery, set to return in August". Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Teope, Herbie (April 28, 2018). "Cowboys trade Ryan Switzer to Raiders for Jihad Ward".
  10. ^ Helman, David (September 1, 2018). "Bailey Not Only Surprise Cut As Cowboys Trim To 53".
  11. ^ Walker, Andrew (September 3, 2018). "Colts Sign Free Agent Tight End Ryan Hewitt; Place Tyquan Lewis On IR".
  12. ^ "Colts Elevate DE Jihad Ward To Active Roster; Waive TE Erik Swoope". September 13, 2018.
  13. ^ "Roster Moves: Colts Elevate WR Steve Ishmael To Active Roster; Place DT Jihad Ward On IR". October 26, 2018.
  14. ^ "Colts Sign Defensive Tackle Trevon Coley From Ravens' Practice Squad". October 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Brown, Clifton (October 7, 2019). "Ravens Add Former Colts Defensive Lineman to 53-Man Roster".
  16. ^ Gerry Dulac (February 27, 2016). "Athletic defensive lineman Jihad Ward an intriguing option for Steelers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 28, 2018.

External linksEdit