Tag Archive | "Adrian Peterson"

Dumervil on mend as Ravens set sights toward Detroit

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Dumervil on mend as Ravens set sights toward Detroit

Posted on 09 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILL, Md. — The Ravens escaped their win over the Minnesota Vikings without an extensive injury list, but veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley joins linebacker Elvis Dumervil as question marks for next Monday’s game in Detroit.

Stokley left the game with a concussion in a fourth quarter that featured an astonishing 42 points scored between the two teams. It is believed that he was injured catching a 2-yard pass on third down that set the Ravens up for the fourth-and-1 play in which fullback Vonta Leach was stuffed for no gain at the Minnesota 21 with 10:36 remaining.

The 37-year-old wideout missed seven games earlier this season while nursing a groin injury but returned to play in the last three games, catching four passes for 36 yards. Stokley has dealt with at least 14 concussions in his football career dating back to his high school days, which could complicate how quickly he’s able to return to the field.

“He’ll go through the concussion protocol,” coach John Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. “We’ll have to see how that shakes out. Unfortunately, he’s had a number of those in his career, so that could be problematic for us. We’ll have to see in the next 24 hours or so.”

Dumervil missed his first game of the season against Minnesota after he was unable to recover from a left ankle sprain suffered against Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night. The pass-rush specialist returned to play in that key AFC North game, leaving the Ravens optimistic that he’d be able to play against the Vikings.

However, his progress was slower than expected last week and the snowy conditions at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday likely made the Ravens’ decision to deactivate him even easier. The Baltimore defense has failed to collect a sack in each of the last two games, which is a disturbing trend with meetings against Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and New England’s Tom Brady coming up in the next two weeks.

“I think Elvis has a chance for next week,” Harbaugh said. “He looks pretty good [Monday]. It’s kind of a bruise in his ankle, so we’ll just have to see where he’s at. I was hopeful for him this week, so I’ll be more hopeful for him next week.”

By all accounts, tight end Dennis Pitta made it through Sunday’s game feeling no ill effects after returning to action for the first time since dislocating and fracturing his hip on July 27. Pitta finished with six catches for 48 yards and reined in a 1-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 remaining in the game.

The Ravens were so confident in Pitta’s ability to play extensively against Minnesota that they listed veteran Dallas Clark as inactive, but Harbaugh said the 34-year-old still fits into the team’s plans moving forward. Clark’s limited ability as a blocker and his lack of a special-teams role make him a difficult player to include among the 46 active players on game days, especially if the Ravens plan to emphasize the running game in a given matchup.

“Dallas is going to be a big part of what we’re doing going forward,” Harbaugh said. “It just depends on the game plan and how the offensive coaches decide to put that together.”

Pass rush MIA

Masked in the euphoria of Sunday’s miraculous 29-26 win over Minnesota was the fourth-quarter struggles of the defense and its inability to collect a sack for a second straight week after 19 straight contests with at least two.

Harbaugh expressed concern over his defense’s inability to finish games strongly, but he didn’t seem as concerned with the pass rush, citing the ability of Minneseota quarterback Matt Cassel and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger a week earlier to get the ball out quickly. Of course, the snowy conditions Sunday left a few inches of snow on the field, which also impacted the rush in a way similar to the sloppy conditions in Chicago last month.

“I don’t think it’s a product of what people are doing differently. They’re getting the ball out pretty quick,” Harbaugh said. “There haven’t been a lot of downfield-route-type things. We had some maximum protection yesterday, two backs, and those kinds of things where they try to throw it down the field. They were mostly throwing fades or they threw seams over the middle. Those balls come out pretty quick. Field conditions were a factor … more than anything else.”

The absence of Dumveril left more pass-rushing situations for second-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw on Sunday and fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs extended his streak of games without a sack to five. Suggs earned at least one sack in seven of the first eight games of the 2013 season but hasn’t collected one since.

Flacco gets taste of own medicine

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Ravens-Vikings: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Vikings: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 08 December 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Sunday brings the arrival of December football as the Ravens welcome the Minnesota Vikings to town for what figures to be a wintry mess at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon.

A win puts the Ravens above the .500 mark for the first time since early October and keeps them in position as the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture. Needless to say with an imposing three-game stretch against projected playoff times to conclude the regular season, the Ravens have little margin for error against the 3-8-1 Vikings, who  haven’t won a road game all year.

The Ravens will welcome the return of tight end Dennis Pitta, who was activated from injured reserve-designated to return on Saturday. Pitta wasn’t expected to play extensively against Minnesota, but the Ravens also elected to list Dallas Clark as inactive, which is a good indication that they feel comfortable with Pitta handling a bigger workload. His presence on third down and inside the red zone will provide a major boost to the Baltimore passing game in the final quarter of the season.

While Pitta returns to action in Week 14, outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil is officially out with a left ankle injury suffered in last week’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coach John Harbaugh was optimistic earlier in the week that Dumervil would be ready to go, but he was unable to practice all week and listed as doubtful on the final injury report.

Dumervil’s absence will lead to an increased role for second-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw, who was already likely to see extensive snaps with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and the ground attack figuring to be featured extensively by Minnesota. Reserve pass-rush specialist Pernell McPhee could see more opportunities in passing situations with Dumervil sidelined.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley is active despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report with a knee injury suffered against Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night.

For the Vikings, Peterson is active and will start despite being listed as questionable with a groin issue.

As predicted, weather will be a significant factor in Sunday’s game as snow began collecting on the turf more than two hours prior to kickoff. Forecasts are calling for up to a few inches of snow with precipitation switching to sleet and freezing rain later in the day.

The all-time series between the Ravens and Vikings is tied 2-2 with Minnesota winning the last meeting in 2009. The Ravens are 2-1 against them at M&T Bank Stadium.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Pete Morelli.

The Ravens will be wearing purple jerseys with black pants while Minnesota dons white jerseys with purple pants.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
LB Elvis Dumervil
TE Dallas Clark
DT Brandon Williams
WR Deonte Thompson
S Omar Brown
S Brynden Trawick
C Ryan Jensen

MINNESOTA
CB Josh Robinson
DT Chase Baker
G Jeff Baca
TE Kyle Rudolph
QB Christian Ponder
WR Rodney Smith
T Mike Remmers

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium throughout the night.

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Ravens-Vikings: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Vikings: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 07 December 2013 by Luke Jones

Concluding a critical three-game homestand while also currently holding the No. 6 seed in the AFC, the Ravens welcome the Minnesota Vikings to town for a game they know they should — and must — win.

Three games against projected playoff teams await to conclude the regular season, so the Ravens have no room for a letdown against 3-8-1 Minneesota in their penultimate game of the year at M&T Bank Stadium. Of course, a forecast of a wintry mix Sunday could create some interesting playing conditions for both teams.

Sunday will mark the 2013 season debut for Dennis Pitta, who was activated from injured reserve on Saturday afternoon. The Ravens hope the fourth-year tight end will be able to knock off enough rust against the Vikings to make him a difference-maker starting next week in a Monday night game at Detroit.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil is unlikely to play after being listed as doubtful with an ankle injury. However, the Vikings’ propensity for leaning on their running game already made it likely that second-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw would see increased playing time on Sunday.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens have the opportunity to move above the .500 mark for the first time since early October. The all-time series against the Vikings is tied 2-2, but Minnesota won the last meeting between these teams in 2009, a 33-31 final at the Metrodome.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens look for their first three-game winning streak of the season …

1. Pitta won’t see more than 20 snaps against the Vikings, but he’ll catch a red-zone touchdown to give the Ravens a much-needed lift. The fourth-year tight end will likely see a limited number of snaps as the Ravens wait to see how he responds to live contact, but a good week of practice allowed the organization to pull the trigger to activate him. The Ravens put together six scoring drives in last week’s win over Pittsburgh, but the offense is 1-for-8 inside the red zone over the last two games, a mark that must improve in the final quarter of the season. Pitta caught 10 touchdowns inside the red zone in 2011 and 2012 and will rein in his first of 2013 to boost the league’s 24th-ranked red-zone offense and build more optimism for the big three-game stretch to conclude the regular season.

2. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will become the second player this season to reach the century mark on the ground against Baltimore. Every opponent knows exactly what it needs to do against the Vikings, but stacking the box with eight defenders hasn’t prevented Peterson from leading the league with 1,208 rushing yards. The 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player averages 3.1 yards after contact per attempt, meaning gang tackling is a must against such a physical runner. The key for the Ravens will be to contain Peterson enough to prevent a big day and force them to pass the football more than they’d like, something Chicago couldn’t do in an overtime loss last week. Baltimore will do a better job than the Bears, but he’ll still hit triple digits against the Ravens, joining Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy as the only other back to accomplish that against the Ravens this season.

3. The Baltimore secondary will intercept quarterback Matt Cassel twice to set up the Ravens offense on a short field. The Vikings have had major issues at quarterback all year, so the absence of starter Christian Ponder won’t make a major difference with the Ravens actually being more familiar with Cassel. Likely using a single-high safety extensively with safeties James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam taking turns playing closer to the line of scrimmage to stop the run, the Ravens will depend on Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb to be strong in coverage. Minnesota has some capable weapons in Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jerome Simpson at wide receiver, but that’s been true all season with the Vikings still ranking 25th in passing offense. Cassel will be forced to make some throws playing from behind, and the Ravens will be waiting to cash in on his mistakes.

4. Bernard Pierce will gain more rushing yards than Ray Rice in another timeshare of carries on Sunday. Coach John Harbaugh downplayed Pierce receiving nine carries to just 12 for Rice against the Steelers, but the more-physical Pierce averaged 3.9 yards per carry compared to 2.7 for Rice on Thanksgiving. With the possibility of snow collecting on the turf, it will be interesting to see how both teams fare, but Pierce simply looked more explosive against the Steelers and deserved an increased portion of the workload. Aside from a strong day against a run-challenged Chicago defense a few weeks ago, Rice hasn’t been himself all season while Pierce appears to be healthier now than he was early on. Rice will still get plenty of opportunities — and likely more carries — but Pierce will be more productive.

5. Wintry conditions could make things interesting, but the Ravens will dispose of an inferior team with a 24-13 win over Minnesota. It only takes one or two fluke plays in snowy weather to completely change the outcome of the game, but the Ravens have more experience and have played in plenty of poor weather this season, giving them the edge in that department. The Baltimore offense isn’t equipped to blow out anybody, but the Ravens have moved the ball better in recent weeks and quarterback Joe Flacco has arguably played his best football of the season over the last two games. Winning the turnover battle and improved efficiency in the red zone will add up to a relatively comfortable two-possession win for the Ravens as they’ll turn their sights toward a very difficult three-game stretch to try to secure a playoff spot in the AFC.

 

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Dumervil, Vikings’ Peterson sidelined for second straight day

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Dumervil, Vikings’ Peterson sidelined for second straight day

Posted on 05 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A key player for both the Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday as linebacker Elvis Dumervil and All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson continue to be sidelined with nagging injuries.

Neither player is expected to miss Sunday’s game, but Dumervil’s absence for a second straight day does raise some concern that he’s not progressing from a nagging ankle injury as quickly as the Ravens initially hoped. Dumervil hurt the ankle late in the first half of last week’s game against Pittsburgh before returning to play early in the third quarter.

“He got through the game and he got back in and played,” said coach John Harbaugh about Dumervil’s status on Monday. “He looks OK. We’re going to have to nurse some things, just like we do with a lot of different guys.”

Leading the NFL with 1,208 rushing yards, Peterson is nursing a groin injury, but Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier told reporters the 2012 league MVP should be ready to practice on Friday. The 28-year-old rushed for a season-high 211 yards in the Vikings’ overtime win over Chicago last week.

Tight end Dennis Pitta was practicing once again as he moves closer to a potential return for Sunday’s game. A team source says the fourth-year tight end has taken some full-team reps for the first time this week, but the Ravens are trying not to pressure Pitta and want him to feel comfortable in deciding when he’s ready to return.

He was limited to just individual work in the week leading up to the New York Jets game and wasn’t able to do much last week with the Ravens only holding walk-throughs on a short week with a Thursday night game. The organization has until 4 p.m. on Saturday to place Pitta on the 53-man roster for him to be eligible to play against the Vikings.

“He’s coming along, but he’s getting his feet back under him,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said on Thursday. “He’s moving well. For him, I’m sure it’s going to be a work in progress. He’s getting a lot more work this week than he did last week, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Reserve defensive backs Asa Jackson (thigh) and Brynden Trawick (ankle) were both absent from practice while starting cornerback Jimmy Smith (concussion) was upgraded to full participation on Thursday.

Here is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), S Brynden Trawick (ankle), CB Asa Jackson (thigh)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Chris Canty (shoulder), WR Brandon Stokley (knee), CB Lardarius Webb (abs)
FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Jimmy Smith (concussion)

MINNESOTA
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Larry Dean (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (groin), QB Christian Ponder (concussion), CB Josh Robinson (chest), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Jared Allen (finger), LB Chad Greenway (wrist), S Jamarca Sanford (ankle), DT Sharif Floyd (illness)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Matt Asiata (shoulder), DT Fred Evans (knee), DE Everson Griffen (toe), S Andrew Sendejo (toe)

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Peterson first of big names Ravens must stop in final month

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Peterson first of big names Ravens must stop in final month

Posted on 04 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Even if they’re fortunate enough to only play him once every four years, the Ravens are fully aware of the greatness of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

In fact, Peterson is only the first of several of the NFL’s best the Ravens must stop over the final month of the season to advance to the postseason for the sixth consecutive season under coach John Harbaugh.

Next week, the Ravens take on Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, the undisputed best wide receiver on the planet today. The week after, it’s one of the best quarterbacks in league history in Tom Brady. And if the Ravens can get past the first three while remaining upright in terms of their postseason fate, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green awaits in the regular-season finale.

No sweat, right?

But the Ravens can only focus on Peterson and Minnesota for now with all discussion of Sunday’s game centered around stopping the five-time Pro Bowl running back and 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player. Peterson leads the league with 1,208 rushing yards after collecting more than 2,000 on the ground last year coming off a torn ACL at the end of the 2011 season.

“What’s his nickname, ‘All Day?’” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “The man runs hard all day. It’s going to be interesting. It’s definitely a challenge for us, and we’re really looking forward to it. We’ll have to see what’s up on Sunday.”

Only a handful of defensive players remain on the roster from the last time the Ravens took on Peterson and the Vikings at the Metrodome in 2009, but the memory of the 6-foot-1, 217-yard back rushing for 143 yards on 22 carries was a difficult one for a defense that prides itself on stopping the run. Baltimore has allowed over 100 rushing yards in six of its 12 games, but only one of those contests resulted in an individual century-mark rusher as Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy ran for 120 yards in Week 6.

Aside from a four-week stretch earlier this season when the Ravens allowed 140 or more rushing yards three times — against Buffalo, the Packers, and Pittsburgh — the run defense has been strong, ranking sixth in the league by allowing 100.1 rushing yards per game. Dean Pees’ unit has allowed only 3.7 yards per carry, but the Ravens haven’t faced a back with Peterson’s incredibly rare combination of speed, size, toughness, and agility.

In addition to following gap assignments and simply staying home to protect against cutbacks, the common theme expressed by the Ravens Wednesday was the need to gang-tackle to neutralize Peterson’s ability to shed defenders. According to Pro Football Focus, he leads the league with 801 yards after contact, which is over 200 more than second-place Marshawn Lynch of Seattle.

“Everybody has to tackle. You have to have a whole defensive effort,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “Everybody needs to run to the ball. One guy doesn’t usually bring him down. He’s one of those backs that can change the game on any play.”

The numbers support that sentiment as Peterson is averaging 3.1 yards per attempt after contact this season; the Ravens’ struggling running game collects only 2.9 yards overall per carry.

As if his reputation for being a bruising running back that breaks tackles wasn’t enough, Peterson is also tied for second in the NFL with eight runs of 20 or more yards. Suggs recalled a 58-yard run Peterson collected in the Vikings’ 33-31 win in 2009 and how scary it can be to see him find the second and third levels of the defense.

“It’s not a good scene when you’re behind [No.] 28,” Suggs said. “You just hope you’ve got somebody fast enough on the team to catch the guy. But if you keep him in front of you, then you’ve got a good chance of containing him.”

Of course, even with Peterson, the Vikings are 3-8-1 and possess the league’s 25th-ranked passing game as the quarterbacking trio of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman have been unable to generate any consistency through the air. The Vikings’ passing game ineptitude has allowed teams to put eight men in the box far too often, making it likely that safeties James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam will take turns playing close to the line of scrimmage in an effort to slow the intimidating back.

Such defensive looks make it even more impressive that Peterson is leading the league in rushing for the second straight year with not much help behind him in terms of a passing game.

With Ponder not expected to start while recovering from a concussion, the Ravens will likely see Cassel under center, a signal-caller they harassed incessantly in a 2010 wild-card victory against Kansas City. Baltimore is saying all the right things about the Vikings’ talented trio of wide receivers in former Packer Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, but the numbers suggest that a huge day from Peterson is the Vikings’ only realistic hope for an upset on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

“He’s a threat every time he touches the ball, so we’ll have our hands full,” Harbaugh said. “But it just can’t be that. You can’t sleep on the rest of their talent. They’ve got a number of very good tight ends that can make plays. They’ve got a number of very talented receivers that can make plays. They are a fully complemented offense talent-wise.”

The key word is containment as Peterson has only been held under 75 rushing yards four times this season. The Vikings running back is too talented not to get his yards, but the Ravens must prevent him from going off like he did last week against the Bears for over 200 rushing yards in an overtime win.

The overall Week 14 competition is underwhelming for the Ravens as they begin the final quarter of the season on Sunday, but Peterson is just the first of several big names that lie in their path to the postseason.

It doesn’t get any easier after that with Detroit, New England, and Cincinnati looming after that.

“Isn’t that everybody’s motivation? You get the chance to go up against the best,” linebacker Jameel McClain said. “We get the opportunity this week to go up against one of the best running backs, and then the week after that, we get a chance [against] one of the better receivers in the league. It’s everybody’s motivation to come and bring their ‘A’ game. We wouldn’t be in this game if we weren’t trying to compete with the best.”

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Your Monday Reality Check-Shouldn’t Rice & Flacco deals have been done by now?

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Your Monday Reality Check-Shouldn’t Rice & Flacco deals have been done by now?

Posted on 04 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

It was as if there were some in the sports broadcasting universe that wanted to remind me that the Baltimore Orioles have been struggling mightily as of late.

Sure, they’re just one game out of first place at the time I type this, but the Birds sadly appear to be in a downward spiral that unfortunately most of us expected.

I’ve been a regular “Baltimore expert” for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio since the channel’s inception, and I rotate having conversations with hosts about the O’s and the Baltimore Ravens. When I received a call last week asking me to appear on the channel, I assumed the conversation would go in the direction of the O’s, as I’ve made about four Orioles-related guest spots already this season.

But when the producer asked me if I’d be interested in talking some Ravens football, I was admittedly caught off guard. “It’s still baseball season” I thought. Just one night later I received a call from another producer on the channel, also asking me to make an appearance to discuss the Purple & Black.

So on both Friday & Saturday night of this past weekend I found myself talking Ravens football across the country on SXM. It was perhaps the single greatest reminder that in Charm City, a “June Swoon” is a great reminder that Training Camp isn’t particularly far away.

As the 2011 football season ended, there were two main narratives surrounding the defending AFC North Champs. One was surrounding the pending free agency of RB Ray Rice. The other surrounded the future of QB Joe Flacco, who was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract. The Ravens’ season ended 132 days ago in Foxborough (at least as of the time I wrote this) and yet seemingly little progress has been made regarding either situation.

It leads to the question (at least for me), “what’s taking so long to get this stuff done?”

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio said in a recent appearance on “The Reality Check” (an excellent afternoon radio program on AM1570 WNST.net) that Rice’s agent Todd France was dead set on getting a deal similar to contracts given to Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (seven years, $100 million with $36 million guaranteed) or Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson (four years, $53 million with $30 million guaranteed). The Ravens are believed to be more interested in a deal similar to those recently given to Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (five years, $45 million with $20.76 million guaranteed) or Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (five years, $43.5 million with $20.75 guaranteed).

On top of that, a source with knowledge of talks revealed to me in recent weeks the Rice camp has a desire to see the running back’s deal exceed the overall value of Flacco’s.

A Carroll County Times report this weekend indicated the Ravens “aren’t anywhere close” to getting a deal done with Flacco. Flacco’s negotiating ability has been limited by the fact that contracts signed by quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning this offseason have been less than overwhelming financially. Manning landed a five year, $96 million deal, but if he’s healthy the Denver Broncos believe him capable of being Peyton Manning. The highlights of other QB contracts this offseason have been San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith (three years, worth up to $33 million with with $16.5 million guaranteed) and Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Flynn (three years, $26 million with $10 million guaranteed).

Neither deal is helpful to Flacco’s agent Joe Linta, although despite all of the goofy conversation nationally about Flacco’s standing against other National Football League quarterbacks, there simply could not be any argument either of those two quarterbacks have accomplished as much as Flacco. Humorously, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s deal is up a season after Flacco’s. There had been rumors the Chicago Bears were interested in getting a new deal done with QB Jay Cutler, a decision that could have been helpful in figuring out the parameters of a Flacco contract.

Remember when I asked “what’s taking so long to get this stuff done?” Yeah, I’m aware that I’ve essentially answered my own question.

In both of my chats on SiriusXM this weekend I was asked what expected would ultimately happen with these situations. It was remarkably difficult to answer.

(Continued on Page 2)

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Ravens appear to be bracing for potential Rice holdout

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Ravens appear to be bracing for potential Rice holdout

Posted on 04 April 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice said he outplayed his rookie contract, general manager Ozzie Newsome was asked about his franchise player’s statement at the Ravens’ pre-draft luncheon in Owings Mills on Wednesday.

And there was no disagreement.

“That was a rookie contract, so yes,” Newsome said. “I’d like to think that every player with the Ravens that we draft hopefully outplays their first contract.”

By placing the franchise tag on Rice in early March, the Ravens prohibited him from becoming an unrestricted free agent and ensured he would remain in Baltimore for the 2012 season.

Reports indicate Rice does not plan to report for the start of the team’s offseason workout program in less than two weeks and may hold out during minicamp without a new deal in place. Rice would not face any disciplinary action should he decide to skip organized team activities or the preseason.

The slow pace of negotiations and Rice’s comments make it easy to conclude the Ravens are preparing for a holdout from their most dynamic offensive player.

“That’s something we talk about when we put the tag on him,” Newsome said. “What are the consequences and what are the unknown consequences that could happen? Up until a guy actually signs his franchise tender, he’s not under contract and we’re not allowed to ask him to come to our mandatory minicamp. We understand those things. … We’ve experienced that before.

“We’ll be prepared, and I think Steve [Bisciotti] made a great statement that I read. Whenever Ray shows up, he’ll be ready to play. There’s no doubt in our mind.”

With running backs Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster signing long-term extensions with their respective teams earlier this offseason, there was optimism that the parameters for a new Rice contract were falling into place. However, it appears Rice and agent Todd France are still looking for dollars more closely resembling the lucrative deals signed by Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson over the last two years.

The Ravens and Rice have a July 15 deadline to reach an agreement on a long-term deal before the running back is required to play for the $7.7 million franchise tender for the 2012 season. A new contract would not only lock up the two-time Pro Bowl back for the foreseeable future, but it would likely create $2-$3 million of salary cap room — something the Ravens could use this offseason.

“We’re happy with the progress that we’re making with negotiations,” Newsome said. “To say that from where he was to where we’ve put the franchise tag on him, that’s a significant increase.”

Newsome not biting on Reed

In what’s become virtually an annual occurrence, Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed raised a few eyebrows recently with some cryptic comments regarding his future and a continued desire for a new contract.

Talking out of both sides of his mouth, Reed has expressed the possibility of playing another four to five years at one point while also failing to make a definitive statement that he will return in 2012. It’s all just par for the course with the future Hall of Fame free safety.

“I have not had a conversation with Ed since our last game to be honest,” Newsome said. “As of right now, whoever we play in that first game this year, I anticipate Ed Reed being our starting free safety. That’s as much information as I have at this point.”

The 33-year-old Reed has one year remaining on his current contract and carries a $7.2 million base salary this season.

Cornerback contracts in works?

The Ravens are in negotiations with cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams in hopes of reaching long-term extensions with each, according to Newsome. Both players are restricted free agents, with Webb having received the first-round tender and Williams getting the second-round tender in March.

There has been plenty of talk that teams could pursue Webb — and would be willing to part with a first-round pick to sign him — but no signs point to the Ravens being in danger of losing the fourth-year cornerback.

“We are involved in negotiations with both,” Newsome said. “What the status is, I don’t know. I haven’t seen [vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty] today. I only saw him once, but our restricted guys are guys that we would like to extend to longer-term deals.”

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is also a restricted free agent and was given the second-round tender as well.

 Ravens fine with Flacco’s proclamation

Unsurprisingly, the first question leading off the pre-draft press conference related to quarterback Joe Flacco’s comments to WNST.net earlier this week in which he stated his opinion that he’s the best quarterback in the NFL.

Newsome repeated the general sentiment that many have expressed in defending the quarterback for simply sharing the confidence he has in himself. However, the Baltimore general manager was quick to point out how Flacco will need to back up his words with his preparation and play on the field.

“I don’t think any player, any coach, any [general manager] does not think that they are the best at what they do,” Newsome said. “And, for Joe to say that, I think it’s a common thing. The aspect of it that I think we also look at that if you make a statement like that, then you also have to prepare yourself to be the best. I’m sure that Joe is also doing that.”

Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of the pre-draft press conference in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

 

 

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Guidelines beginning to fall into place for Ravens’ potential deal with Rice

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Guidelines beginning to fall into place for Ravens’ potential deal with Rice

Posted on 05 March 2012 by Luke Jones

Though a long-term deal is not expected to be completed any time soon, the Ravens and Ray Rice are beginning to see parameters take shape that could lead to the ultimate goal of keeping the Pro Bowl running back in Baltimore in the years to come.

After the Ravens placed the franchise tag on Rice on Friday, which will pay the 25-year-old an estimated $7.7 million during the 2012 season if a long-term deal is not reached, a pair of deals have been struck elsewhere in the last 24 hours to better define the market for running backs.

On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks signed Marshawn Lynch to a four-year, $31 million deal that includes $18 million guaranteed. While there is no doubt Rice will command more money than Lynch, who has revitalized his career under head coach Pete Carroll in Seattle over the last two season, the reasonable payday does not upset the market for running backs in the way the deal reached between the Carolina Panthers and the inconsistent DeAngelo Williams (five years, $43 million) did last year.

A better gauge for establishing Rice’s market came into focus Monday when the Houston Texans and 2010 NFL rushing champion Arian Foster agreed to a five-year, $43.5 million contract that includes $20.75 million guaranteed. ESPN reports Foster will receive $18 million in 2012 and $30 million over the first three years of the contract.

Strictly looking at Foster and Rice from a production standpoint in 2011, the two compared favorably as Foster collected 141.61 total yards per game in 13 contests while Rice averaged 129.25 yards from scrimmage in 16 games last season. Foster has averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his three-year career (659 rushing attempts) while Rice holds a 4.6 yards-per-attempt average in 959 carries over four seasons.

While many will make the argument that Foster is the better player — and would presumably deserve to make more money — a deeper look at each situation suggests Rice and agent Todd France will likely command more in negotiations. While the Texans discussed using the franchise tag as the Ravens chose to do with Rice, Foster was only a restricted free agent and held less leverage as a result.

If a long-term agreement was not reached, Houston would have elected to place a first-round tender of an estimated $2.85 million on Foster, which would have forced potential suitors to not only sign the running back to an offer sheet but to forfeit a first-round pick to the Texans had they refused to match the offer. Given the affordability of a first-round draft choice under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement and the potential scenario of completing the heavy lifting of negotiating a deal only to have the controlling team decide to match the offer, many teams avoid dealing with restricted free agents.

In other words, if Foster’s side had balked at the long-term offer, he likely would have been playing for less than $3 million in 2012 before becoming an unrestricted free agent next year. The Ravens never held that luxury with the unrestricted Rice, leading to the franchise tag and the drawn-out negotiations that are sure to follow.

With Foster receiving just under $21 million in guaranteed cash, it will be interesting to see how serious France and Rice are about working out a fair deal. If Rice’s side is truly after Adrian Peterson money ($36 million guaranteed in a seven-year, $100 million contract) or even a deal comparable to Chris Johnson’s ($30 million guaranteed as part of a four-year, $53 million extension signed last September), general manager Ozzie Newsome will be more than willing to wait it out.

A contract slightly higher than Foster’s seems like a fair compromise for both sides. The Ravens will not overpay simply because the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans handed out questionable contracts, and Rice’s agent France will have a difficult time convincing anyone that his client deserves to be paid significantly more than Foster.

One thing is certain despite continued suggestions to the contrary: the Ravens have made it clear they fully intend to keep Rice’s services for the long haul.

“As we have in the past, placing the franchise designation on a player allows us to keep negotiating on a long-term contract,” Newsome said on Friday. “Our goal is to keep Ray Rice a Raven. We’ve done this with other outstanding players through our history, including Haloti Ngata a year ago.”

Though plenty of work still remains, the means for making that happen appear to be a little clearer with Foster’s contract now settled.

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Your Monday Reality Check-Ravens Not Surprisingly Doing Right Thing With Rice

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Your Monday Reality Check-Ravens Not Surprisingly Doing Right Thing With Rice

Posted on 27 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Stop me if you’ve read this one before.

Nestor Aparicio and I spent the last four days at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis for the annual National Football League Scouting Combine. Indy has been a bit of a second home for us over the first two months of 2012. I don’t know I could ever express just how awkward that is.

CBSSports.com NFL writer Pete Prisco stopped by our set Friday afternoon to record an interview that would air later on “The Reality Check”. We talked about a number of subjects, one being the status of Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice. Let me make sure I state this. I GREATLY respect Pete Prisco as a writer and football mind. For those who aren’t familiar with him, he’s been with CBS for over a decade covering the league and has covered football even longer than that. The following are quotes from Prisco regarding Rice…

“I wouldn’t pay any running back.”
“I’d franchise him…that’s it.”
“You don’t pay running backs.”
“If you’re building your team around a running back you’ve got problems.”

Prisco rightfully pointed out that the New York Giants won the Super Bowl despite finishing 32nd in the league in rushing. He also rightfully pointed out that the Jacksonville Jaguars won just five games despite being home to the league’s top rusher (Maurice Jones-Drew). They’re relevant points, even if he ignores the fact that the Giants upped their rushing average to 116.5 yards per game in the postseason and that the Ravens had the league’s second leading rusher (Rice) and were a Lee Evans drop away from playing those Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

Of course the NFL is more of a passing league. We’re all aware. It doesn’t mean running backs aren’t still dressing for games and making an impact every now and then.

I’m not beating up Pete Prisco here. I’m pointing out an opinion about Rice that has been popular both around Charm City and for many throughout football. There are a number of fans and analysts alike who simply don’t think the Ravens should bother giving their free agent running back a long-term extension. Local writers/bloggers/talk show hosts (including even our own Thyrl Nelson) have pointed out that economically the team would probably be better off just having Rice play under the franchise tag each of the next two seasons.

The numbers would work out to the team having to pay the back between $16-17 million combined in his fifth and sixth NFL seasons, and would not involve any sort of signing bonus. The team will certainly have to hand out much more than that should they extend Rice, even if they come in short of the “Adrian Peterson money” his representation is reportedly interested in.

I promise the next part of this column isn’t meant to be any sort of “I told you so” moment. I’m just glad we can stop discussing that ridiculous thought process anymore.

As I chased Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome out of the media room at LucasOil Stadium Friday afternoon, we had this exact exchange.

“As far as Ray Rice is concerned, it’s definitely the thought process to get an extension done-is it not any thought to franchise him for a year and go from there?” I asked.

He responded “No. We have used the franchise tag only so that we can get a long term deal. We would like for Ray Rice to have a long career in Baltimore. If we have to franchise him, that would be the reason why.”

Nothing wishy-washy there. No posturing at all. That’s about as straight of shooting as a General Manager can possibly offer.

I’m so freaking glad it was Newsome who said it this time so that I don’t have to bother fighting with anyone about it anymore. You DO NOT give the franchise tag to a player if you don’t have interest in keeping him around.

At least…you don’t do that if you’re a competent, well run organization.

(Continue reading on Page 2…)

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Towson Announces 19 Man Recruiting Class For 2012

Posted on 01 February 2012 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. –  A talented group of 19 football players has signed National Letters of Intent to attend Towson University and play football, it has been announced by Coach Rob Ambrose.

The Tigers’ recruiting class includes five transfer students, including four FBS transfers. Joining the Tigers as transfers are defensive lineman Brendon Gannon of Western Michigan, defensive back Darrell Givens of Rutgers, defensive back Ben Harvey of South Carolina and cornerback Jordan Love of Georgia. In addition, offensive lineman Jake McDowell transferred from Golden West Junior College.

Of the 14 incoming freshmen, five are products of Maryland high schools. The Tigers have also added three newcomers from the Tidewater area of Virginia. 

“This is the best recruiting class we’ve ever had,” says Coach Ambrose. “That’s the natural progression of building a program. Each recruiting class needs to be better than the one before it. These incoming players are the biggest, fastest recruits we’ve ever signed.”

The Tiger coaching staff will officially announce the recruiting class at the NLI Signing Party at Bill Bateman’s Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m.

BRYTON BARR, Linebacker
6-0, 220-lbs., Mechanicsburg Area H.S., Camp Hill, Pa.

Two-time All-State selection … honored as Keystone Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior … four-year starter at linebacker for the Wildcats who made 504 tackles in career … two-year team captain for Coach Chris Hakel … also forced 20 fumbles in his career … had six career interceptions … three-time all-conference selection … led team with 154 tackles as a senior … also had 175 tackles as a junior … chosen to play in the Big 33 all-star game … also played tight end for the Wildcats and scored 24 touchdowns in career … had 1,500 receiving yards in career … two-time team MVP … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has one older brother … has done volunteer work with Special Olympics … favorite NFL team is the Atlanta Falcons … lists defensive back Shann Schilinger of Atlanta as his favorite NFL player … had summer job as landscaper … lists “Tuesdays With Morrie” as his favorite book … favorite movie is “The Book Of Eli” …  favorite actor is Denzel Washington …enjoys eating steak … enjoys music by John Mayer … father is a graduate of Columbus College who played college baseball … father is a realtor … mother is a food service supervisor … son of Terry and Quinn Barr … born on February 6, 1994 in Harrisburg, Pa

CHRISTIAN CARPENTER, Athlete
6-2, 185-lbs., Aberdeen H.S., Aberdeen, Md.

Very talented two-way standout at Aberdeen High School … second team All-State selection … earned first team All-Metro notice as a senior … also named first team All-Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference … played wide receiver and defensive back for the Eagles … caught 64 passes for 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior … also made 148 tackles with six interceptions … scored one defensive touchdown for the Eagles … led Coach Johnny Brooks’ Eagles to a 10-3 record and the semi-finals of the Maryland state playoffs … Eagles showed vast improvement after posting a 1-9 record in 2010 … helped Eagles win UCBAC championship … named Most Valuable Player at the UCBAC all-star game … also played in the Crab Bowl … member of track and field team at Aberdeen where he excelled in the long jump … PERSONAL: Has one younger brother … lists mother as the person he admires the most … hobbies include video games … avid fan of the Baltimore Ravens … lists the late Sean Taylor as his favorite NFL player … favorite athlete is Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat … favorite movie is “Planet of the Apes” … enjoys eating spaghetti … parents are Syracuse University graduates … mother earned MBA from Strayer and works in Human Resources … son of Robert and Davita Carpenter … born on March 2, 1994 in Alpharetta, Ga.

ROB CHESSON, Running Back
5-9, 175-lbs., Old Mill H.S., Millersville, Md.

Explosive running back who earned first team All-State honors … named as Maryland State Offensive Player of the Year … led Old Mill High School to a 14-0 record and the Maryland “4A” state championship … set a Maryland state record with 49 touchdowns scored, breaking previous mark of 43 … rushed for 2,701 yards on 337 carries … scored game-winning two-point conversion in Old Mill’s 36-35 win in the state championship game over Quince Orchard … ran for 154 yards on 25 carries in state championship game … led the Patriots to a win over Catonsville in the state semi-finals by rushing for 312 yards on 24 carries and scoring seven touchdowns … ran for 247 yards and scored five touchdowns in win over Southern … picked up 216 yards on 35 carries with five touchdowns against Arundel … also scored five TD’s in 180-yard effort against South River … led Washington to a win in the Crab Bowl by running for 134 yards with one touchdown … PERSONAL:  Has one older sister and one younger brother … has two cousins playing football in Anne Arundel County … son of Robert and Tikira Barber … born on October 27, 1993 in Annapolis, Md.

BRENDON GANNON, Defensive Lineman
6-2, 260-lbs., Cardinal Gibbons H.S., Halethorpe, Md.

Transfer from Western Michigan University … has three years of eligibility remaining … two-year performer for the Broncos who was a redshirt in 2010 … appeared in one game in 2011 … made one tackle against Bowling Green … member of Broncos’ team that posted a 7-6 record and dropped a 37-32 heartbreaker to Purdue in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit … earned All-MIAA honors twice at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Baltimore … team captain of the Crusaders … led team with 98 tackles as a senior … selected to play in Baltimore Touchdown Club’s all-star game … also played basketball for the Crusaders and served as team captain … member of the track and field team at Gibbons … attended Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) for one year and played football … made 64 tackles with eight sacks in one year at Wyoming Seminary … PERSONAL: Has three brothers and one sister … lists mother as the person he admires the most … hobbies include baseball and lacrosse … had summer job working at a pharmacy … favorite NFL team is the Baltimore Ravens … lists Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants as his favorite NFL player … favorite book is “Life On The Mississippi” by Mark Twain … favorite movie is “Paid In Full” … lists Dwight Howard as his favorite athlete … favorite actress is Jada Pinkett … mother is a dental assistant … son of Latonia Small … born on July 13, 1991 in Baltimore, Md.

DARRELL GIVENS, Defensive Back
6-1, 193-lbs., Lackey H.S., Fort Washington, Md. 

Transfer from Rutgers University … has two years of eligibility remaining … two-year performer for the Scarlet Knights … appeared in four games over the last two seasons … member of Scarlet Knights’ team that posted a 9-4 record in 2011 and beat Iowa State in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium … appeared in two games this season and made one tackle … also played in two games in 2010 … widely-recruited cornerback out of Lackey High School who earned scholastic All-American honors … rated as the No. 6 cornerback in the nation by ESPN.com … also rated as No. 29 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com … two-time All-County selection who also earned All-State honors as a senior … had 57 tackles and intercepted two passes as a senior … also caught 18 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown … led the Chargers to an 8-4 record as a senior … helped Lackey make back-to-back appearances in regional championship game … made 82 tackles as a junior with three interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries … PERSONAL: Has two brothers and one sister … born on September 25, 1990 in Washington, D.C.

BEN HARVEY, Defensive Back
5-10, 185-lbs., Good Counsel H.S., Columbia, Md.

Transfer from University of South Carolina … did not play for the Gamecocks … has four years of eligibility remaining … member of Gamecocks team that posted an 11-2 record and beat Nebraska in the Florida Citrus Bowl … All-Metro defensive back at Good Counsel High School … helped the Falcons post a 10-2 record as a senior … member of Coach Bob Milloy’s WCAC championship team … also played basketball and ran track … helped the Falcons’ track team win the WCAC title … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Hoping for a career in computer science … lists mother as the person he admires the most … avid fan of the Baltimore Ravens … lists Darrelle Revis as his favorite NFL player … favorite movie is “Scarface” … lists Lindsay Lohan as his favorite actress … had summer job as camp counselor … favorite athlete is LeBron James … favorite book is “Art of War” … mother is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts who played basketball … son of Kenny Harvey and Juanita Matthews … born on January 9, 1993 in Boston, Mass

SYD HOLT, Defensive End
6-4, 210-lbs., Sayreville War Memorial H.S., South Amboy, N.J.

All-State first team performer at defensive end … team captain who led the Bombers to an 11-1 record and the 2010 Central Jersey Group IV state championship … named as New Jersey Defensive Player of the Year by The Newark Star-Ledger … made 90 tackles with 13.5 sacks for Coach George Najjar … earned All-County and All-League honors … also caught 17 passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns as a tight end … had 48 tackles and 13 sacks as a junior … also played basketball for the Bombers … PERSONAL: Has two younger sisters and one younger brother … lists father as the person he admires the most … has done community service work at food shelters and a retirement home … favorite NFL teams are the St. Louis Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers … favorite athlete is Lebron James … favorite actor is  Tyrese Gibson … enjoys eating fried chicken … favorite musician is Chris Brown … son of Sydnor L. Holt and Telica Harrington  … born on March 2, 1993 in Newark, N.J.

Ra-ZAHN HOWARD, Defensive Tackle
6-3, 300-lbs., Asbury Park H.S., Asbury Park, N.J.

Third team All-State selection at defensive tackle … led Asbury Park High School to NJSIAA state championship … transferred to Asbury Park prior to senior season … keyed Asbury Park defense which allowed just 464 rushing yards all season … named as the Class B Central Defensive Player of the Year … made 68 tackles with 12 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries … also forced three fumbles and made 31 tackles for lost yardage … also named first team All-Shore Conference for Coach Matt Ardizzone …  made 57 tackles and had ten sacks as a junior at Winslow Township H.S. … also played basketball in high school … also wrestled and won regional title as a sophomore … PERSONAL: Cousin of Marcus Valentine, a four-year standout for the Tigers who was one of the captains of the Tigers’ Colonial Athletic Association championship team in 2011 … career goal is to work in juvenile probation and corrections … lists Marcus Valentine as the person he admires most … favorite NFL team is the Detroit Lions … lists Denzel Washington as his favorite actor … favorite musician is Stevie Wonder … lists “Friday Night Lights” as his favorite movie … enjoys eating chicken parmesan … son of Mark Howard and Tina Morris … born on August 9, 1994 in Red Bank, N.J.

DREON JOHNSON, Fullback
6-0, 235-lb., Mayde Creek H.S., Houston, Tex.

Versatile performer at Mayde Creek High School … saw action at offensive tackle, fullback and defensive end for the Rams … two-year team captain for Coach Lance Carter … earned first team All-District honors at offensive tackle … honored as top offensive lineman in the district as a senior … led team in tackles as a junior … three-year starter … also a member of the Rams’ wrestling team and track and field team … PERSONAL: Has one brother and one sister … lists mother as the person he admires the most … hobbies include playing basketball … favorite NFL teams are the Houston Texans, the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers … favorite NFL player is running back  Brandon Jacobs of the Giants … lists LeBron James as his favorite athlete … favorite movie is “Dead Presidents” … favorite actor is Terrence Howard … enjoys listening to music by Z-RO … likes to eat Mexican food … mother is a substitute teacher … son of Lamonica Benton … born on December 12, 1992 in College Station, Texas.

CLIFTON JONES, Defensive Tackle
6-2, 250-lb., Tallwood H.S., Virginia Beach, Va.

Explosive defensive lineman who earned first team All-District honors at Tallwood High School … team captain of the Lions … also named first team All-Beach for Coach John Kepple … member of All-Region second team … named as team captain … standout performer for the Lions’ track and field team who finished fifth in the region in the shot put … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has one sister … lists family as the people he admires the most … had summer job in child care … favorite NFL player is Michael Vick … lists “The Wood” as his favorite movie … favorite athlete is NBA standout Brandon Roy … mother is a nurse … father is a high school football coach … son of Clifton Jones Sr.  and Pam Archie … born January 9, 1994 in Norfolk, Va.

JULEON KILLIKELLY-LEE, Cornerback
5-10, 160-lbs., Woodlawn H.S., Gwynn Oak, Md.

Very speedy cornerback who earned second team All-State honors … also named All-Baltimore County … played three years at Western Tech and one season at Woodlawn … intercepted three passes as a senior at Woodlawn and scored seven touchdowns … threw for 546 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior … also ran for 521 yards for the Warriors … members of the first Western Tech team to post a 10-0 record … made 20 tackles and intercepted four passes as a junior at Western … played in Crab Bowl and the Chesapeake Bowl … outstanding sprinter for the Warriors’ track and field team … won Maryland state championships in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash … PERSONAL: Has one older brother … lists father as the person he admires the most … has done community service work planting trees and feeding the hungry … hobbies include singing … avid fan of the Baltimore Ravens … had summer job working with automotive repair … lists Ray Lewis and Adrian Peterson as his favorite NFL players … enjoys reading “Of Mice and Men” … favorite movie is “Jason’s Lyric” … lists Steve Carell as his favorite actor … enjoys listening to music by C.J. Hilton … father is a fire alarm technician … mother is an IT analyst and a graduate of the University of Baltimore … son of Donald Lee and Lanca Killikelly … born on May 1, 1994 in Baltimore, Md.

DONNELL LEWIS, Cornerback
5-10, 160-lbs., Woodside H.S., Newport News, Va.

Honored as one of the Top 100 football players in Virginia … two-way standout who played quarterback and defensive back at Woodside High School … honored as Peninsula District Player of the Year … two-time All-Region selection at defensive back … led the Wolverines to a perfect 10-0 record … completed 49 of 88 passes for 760 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior … also rushed for 739 yards and scored seven touchdowns for Coach Danny Dodson … had two interceptions … intercepted seven passes as a junior and returned two for touchdowns … also played basketball and ran track … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has one younger brother and one younger sister … lists father as the person he admires the most … career goal is to become a police officer … had summer job working at Busch Gardens … avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys … favorite NFL player is Michael Vick … lists LeBron James as his favorite athlete … favorite movie is “Friday Night Lights” … lists Walter Dean Meyers as his favorite author … enjoys eating lasagna … father is an Army veteran … mother works in daycare … son of Donnell Lewis Sr. and Hirut Lewis … born on March 12, 1994 in Fort Riley, Kansas.

JORDAN LOVE, Cornerback
6-0, 190-lbs., Deep Run H.S., Glen Allen, Va.

Transfer from the University of Georgia … two-year performer for the Bulldogs … has two years of eligibility remaining … played in 21 games in career at Georgia … appeared in eight games and started once in 2011 … made 12 tackles and forced a fumble … also broke up one pass … made first career start in season opener against Boise State … member of Bulldogs team that finished the season with a 10-4 record as Southeastern Conference runners-up … played in all 13 games as a freshman in 2010 … made nines tackle and forced a fumble as a freshman … had career high five tackles and forced a fumble against Coastal Carolina in 2011 … All-State selection at Deep Run High School in Virginia …. rated as No. 1 cornerback in Virginia as a senior … made 45 tackles as a senior … also ran for 281 yards with two touchdowns … also returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown … intercepted three passes as a junior … PERSONAL: Has two brothers and two sisters … father is a graduate of Southern Illinois who played pro football for the Seattle Seahawks … mother is a graduate of Jackson State who works for the FBI … born on December 31, 1990 in Chicago, Ill.

JAKE McDOWELL, Offensive Lineman
6-5, 290-lb., Los Alamitos H.S., Los Alamitos, Cal.

Solid offensive lineman who is a transfer from Golden West Junior College … two-year standout for the Rustlers who earned second team all-conference honors in 2011 … helped Golden West post a 7-4 record … earned all-league honors at Los Alamitos High School in California … helped the Griffins win their league championship … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has two younger brothers … devoted fan of the St. Louis Rams  … career goal is to become a physical therapist … lists grandfather as the person he admires the most … hobbies include snowboarding … favorite NFL player is Clay Matthews … lists “Dark Knight” as his favorite movie … favorite actor is Christian Bale … lists Katherine Heigl as his favorite actress … enjoys music by Toby Keith … favorite athlete is Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels … father is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton … mother is a Carritos College graduate … son of Matthew and Susan McDowell … born on June 8, 1992 in Irvine, Cal.

WILLIE PONDER, Wide Receiver
5-11, 175-lb., Western Branch H.S., Chesapeake, Va.

Two-way standout at wide receiver at Western Branch H.S. … earned first team all-district honors as a senior … named as the Bruins’ Most Valuable Player … earned honorable mention All-Tidewater notice … two-year captain for Coach Scott Johnson … also played basketball and ran track for the Bruins … honor roll student every semester … member of Latin Club … also a member of Future Business Leaders of America … PERSONAL: Career goal is to become a pharmacist or work in physical therapy … lists parents as the people he admires the most … has been very active in community service work … favorite NFL team is the Atlanta Falcons … lists Percy Harvin as his favorite NFL player … had summer jobs working at Best Buy and Auto Bell Car Wash … cousin, Glenn Waldron, played football at University of New Hampshire … favorite musician is Drake … enjoys eating pizza  … favorite movie is “Friday Night Lights” …  lists Kobe Bryant as his favorite athlete … parents work for the U.S. Navy … mother is a graduate of Troy University … son of Willie and Nicole Ponder … born on October 7, 1992 in Olney, Md.

FRED SANTARELLI, Offensive Tackle
6-6, 295-lbs., The Hill School, Philadelphia, Pa.

Two-sport standout at The Hill School … earned All-State honors at offensive tackle … also named All-WAPL for Coach Grey Simpson … helped the Rams post a 6-3 record as a senior … also wrestled for the Rams … PERSONAL: Has two younger sisters … career goal is to become a coach … lists former St. Joseph’s Prep Coach Gil Brooks as the person he admires most … hobbies include playing video games … favorite NFL team is the Philadelphia Eagles … lists All-Pro tackle Jason Peters of the Eagles as his favorite NFL player … favorite movie is “The Godfather” … lists Robert DeNiro as his favorite actor … had summer job working at a pizza restaurant … favorite athlete is Usain Bolt … mother is a former All-American basketball player at Immaculata who coaches basketball … father played football at Juniata College and served as team captain … father is an attorney … son of Frederick and Letty Santarelli … born on February 25, 1993 in Philadelphia, Pa.


BRADY STUP, Offensive Tackle
6-5, 270-lbs., Tuscarora H.S., Frederick, Md.

Second team All-State selection at Tuscarora High School … two-way tackle who also earned All-Area and all-conference honors for Coach Dean Swink … team captain of the Titans … made 75 tackles with six sacks as a senior … honorable mention All-State selection as a junior … selected to play in the Crab Bowl All-Star Game … honorable mention All-Monocacy Valley League wrestler … also played lacrosse for the Titans … PERSONAL: Parents are both Towson graduates … father, Bill Stup, played football for the Tigers from 1985 to 1988 and was a team captain as a senior … older brother, Billy, played football for the Tigers from 2008 to 2011 … lists parents as the people he admires most … has spent a lot of time working on grandparents’ farm … very active in church activities … has three brothers … older brother, Bobby, plays football at Colgate … devoted fan of the Baltimore Ravens … lists Ray Rice as his favorite NFL player … lists “Gladiator” as his favorite movie … favorite meal is fried chicken .. has an uncle who played football at Virginia Tech … has another uncle who played football at Shepherd College … mother is an occupational therapist … father owns a business … son of Bill and Lori Stup … born on August 23, 1994 in Havre deGrace, Md.


SHAYNE SULLIVAN, Offensive Tackle
6-6, 285-lbs., Archbishop Spalding H.S., Crofton, Md.

All-Metro first team pick at offensive tackle … also named All-MIAA and All-Anne Arundel County … earned first team All-State honors among private schools … winner of Annapolis Touchdown Club’s Al Laramore Award as top lineman in Anne Arundel County … named to Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 team … chosen to play in the Crab Bowl All-Star game … two-way lineman who helped the Cavaliers post a 7-4 record as a senior … member of MIAA “B” championship team which posted a 10-3 record for Coach Mike Whittles as a junior … also played rugby … PERSONAL: Has two older sisters … lists his high school coach, Mike Whittles, as the person he admires the most … favorite NFL team is the Miami Dolphins … favorite NFL player is Brandon Marshall … outstanding XBox player who finished third in a world-wide Madden football tournament … favorite book is “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss … favorite athlete is LeBron James … lists “Ace Ventura” as his favorite movie … favorite actor is Steven Seagal … enjoys listening to music by Eminem … favorite food is crabs … father is a University of Maryland graduate who works as a mortgage banker … mother works as an administrative assistant … son of John and Susan Sullivan  … born on October 6, 1994 in Annapolis, Md.


MAX TEJADA, Defensive Line
6-2, 285-lbs., The Bolles School, Orange Park, Fla.

Talented defensive lineman who earned All-State first team honors as a senior at the Bolles School in Florida … three-year starter for Coach Corky Rogers … helped the Bulldogs to the state championshop and a 16-1 record … named first team All-First Coast … team captain … member of two state championship teams at The Bolles School … helped the Bulldogs compile a 39-3 record in career … also wrestled for the Bulldogs and finished fourth in the state … PERSONAL: Has two younger brothers … career goal is to become an Athletic Trainer … lists grandfather as the person he admires the most  … hobbies include fishing … devoted fan of the New York Jets … favorite NFL player is Ndamukong Suh … favorite movie is “Scarface” … lists Al Pacino as his favorite actor … favorite meal is steak and potatoes … father works as a clothier … mother is a financial aid advisor … son of Ramon and Kathy Tejada … born February 11, 1991 in Jacksonville, Fla.


2012 Towson University Football Recruits

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. High School Hometown Other
Bryton Barr LB 6-0 220 Mechanicsburg Area Camp Hill, Pa.
Christian Carpenter
ATH
6-2
185
Aberdeen H.S.
Aberdeen, Md.
Robert Chesson
RB
5-9
175
Old Mill H.S.
Millersville, Md.
Brendon Gannon
DT
6-2
260
Cardinal Gibbons H.S.
Halethorpe, Md.
Western Michigan
Darrell Givens
DB
6-1
193
Lackey H.S.
Fort Washington, Md.
Rutgers
Ben Harvey DB 5-10 185 Good Counsel H.S. Columbia, Md. South Carolina
Syd Holt DE 6-4 210 Sayreville War Memorial South Amboy, N.J.
Ra-Zahn Howard DT 6-3 300 Asbury Park H.S. Asbury Park, N.J.
Dreon Johnson FB 6-0 235 Mayde Creek H.S. Houston, Texas
Clifton Jones DT 6-2 250 Tallwood H.S. Virginia Beach, Va.
Juleon Killikelly-Lee CB 5-10 160 Woodlawn H.S. Gwynn Oak, Md.
Donnell Lewis DB 5-10 160 Woodside H.S. Virginia Beach, Va.
Jordan Love CB 6-0 190 Deep Run H.S. Glen Allen, Va. Georgia
Jake McDowell OT 6-5 290 Los Alamitos H.S. Los Alamitos, Cal. Golden West J.C.
Willie Ponder WR 5-11 175 Western Branch H.S. Chesapeake, Va.
Fred Santarelli OT 6-6 295 The Hill School Philadelphia, Pa.
Brady Stup OT 6-6 295 Tuscarora H.S. Frederick, Md.
Shayne Sullivan OT 6-6 285 Archbishop Spadling H.S. Crofton, Md.
Max Tejada DL 6-2 285 The Bolles School Orange Park, Fla.

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