12:34-Hear from John Harbaugh & Ray Rice NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net.
12:29 Ray Rice stopped by the media room to chat with us today, he missed yesterday’s locker room cleanout availability due to an illness. Ray continued to show why he is one of the most well-liked players on this team, as he was very honest during the 12 minute chat, talking about his relationship with his mother, sticking around in Baltimore in the offseason, what his upcoming trip to the Pro Bowl in Miami means to him, and more.
I also asked him about the biggest thing I heard fans say about him during our trip to Indy this weekend-
“The Ravens are gonna wear him down like they have every other back.”
Ray said he believes that while he has gotten a lot of touches, Cam Cameron gave him “smart” touches, and didn’t use him as a “battering ram.” This is particularly interesting, as a number of fans believe Jamal Lewis WAS treated that way, which shortened his career.
11:00-Here are some highlights from the coach:
-Harbaugh thanked the media for covering the team, saying “I know it’s tough.” He then thanked the fans, noting “We have great fans both home and away.”
-“I really like the makeup of our team. I like the foundation we have.” Says it’s “cause for tremendous optimism.”
-“I think we have to develop our current players….you always seek to add to what you’re doing.”
-“Offensively, we’re built a real good foundation. I like where we stand in the trenches.”
-“I thought defense was exceptional again this year. I’m excited about what our defense did this year.”
-“We’re gonna be a rough, tough, disciplined, hard nosed, clean playing football team.”
-“Patience is important….there’s no timeframe” for winning Super Bowl
-“Joe (Flacco) got better in so many ways, there’s so many ways he can get better.” He added Flacco is “on schedule.”
-says offense still “a work in progress.”
-Said both Derrick Mason and Ed Reed “love football”, and he thinks “they want to play.” He added that the team wants both players back.
-He thinks some coaches on staff will have opportunity to take promotions elsewhere, but wouldn’t elaborate.
-“We’ve got to put as many good players around Joe Flacco as we can.”
-“Ray Rice…fulfilled or exceeded” all hopes Ravens had for him.
-doesn’t think too many-if any-players who finished season on IR won’t be back for start of Training Camp.
-“There is a benefit” to being able to attend next week’s Senior Bowl
-says Billy Cundiff “big possibility” to kick next season, wouldn’t rule out Matt Stover return.
-“Trevor (Pryce) can still play”, says he has a few years left in him-wants to keep entire D-Line together.
-says Ray Lewis helmet to helmet wasn’t “cheap shot”, doesn’t think he will be fined by NFL.
-Says Tavares Gooden, Dannell Ellerbe, Brendon Ayanbadejo will all be in mix for starting LB position
– “We have no disappointment” in Paul Kruger….says he’ll be more of a contributor next season.
-Says Terrell Suggs committed to being part of “full offseason program” with Ravens
-Says he’ll be “very involved” with Ravens’ preparation for NFL Draft
-“There’s nothing more we can ask from Matt Birk.”
-guesses other teams around league will be interested in Troy Smith and John Beck
-“Michael Oher could play either side, and Jared Gaither could play either side. Right now, Gaither left and Oher right is working pretty well.”
-Harbaugh “excited” for Rex Ryan and other former Ravens staffers now with Jets, but he hasn’t talked to Rex.
-Jarret Johnson “always plays well, always practices well, plays through any injury.” “Not a better man in this league” than JJ.
-“Willis (McGahee) is a Raven.”
-says he, Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome “respect the budget” Ravens have even if there is no salary cap.
-says Flacco had “bad contusion” on thigh…”swelled up legitimately”….thinks it was “restrictive for him.”
-He semi-disputed Adam Schefter’s report that Flacco couldn’t sit down on flight back from Oakland, saying “it was a 6 hour flight, I think I saw him sit down.”
-says he talked with Ed Reed yesterday, “I think I understand where he’s coming from.”
-believes Ed Reed will come back and play. “I’m gonna go under that assumption until he tells us differently.”
10:48-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where John Harbaugh will meet with the media momentarily for his final weekly press conference of the season. There will certainly still be plenty to re-hash about the Baltimore Ravens’ 20-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Saturday night in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs, but there will be even more to discuss as the Ravens prepare to move into the offseason.
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