Posted on 21 June 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 07 June 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 02 June 2014 by Ryan Chell
The last time Ravens fans heard from Ed Reed in M&T Bank Stadium, they were welcomed with a less-than-stellar rendition of the popular Eddie Money song, “Two Tickets to Paradise” after the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
The future Hall of Famer did indeed return to Baltimore Sunday for Lardarius Webb’s 5th annual Celebrity Softball Tournament, which was the first time the event took place at M&T Bank Stadium.
And while there showing off his softball skills, Reed sent a message to Ravens fans and the rest of the NFL that he’s still looking for and is ready for a ticket to ride with an NFL team.
“I’m definitely preparing to play,” Reed told reporters during the game. “If I wasn’t, you would have heard something by now…I learned a lot about the process last year, and I know my worth.”
Reed, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and a 9-time Pro Bowler, played 11 seasons in Baltimore before signing a 3-year, 15 million dollar deal with the Houston Texans in March 2013.
However, Reed lasted just seven games in Houston before being waived. He ultimately reunited with former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan in New York, where he played seven games for the Jets (five starts) finishing with 22 tackles and three interceptions.
Battling hip problems to start the year, Reed clearly wasn’t the Defensive Player of the Year-caliber safety he was in his earlier years in Baltimore and many signaled that decline as the end of his dozen years in the NFL.
But don’t tell that to Ed Reed.
“I know I can still play,” he said. “It’s a matter of a right fit.”
And while the Ravens returned this week for voluntary OTAs in Owings Mills, Reed has been getting ready for an NFL call by training between Georgia and Louisiana.
And with Reed waiting for that call, he knows what he wants and how to approach the season. He said he learned a lot about his desire to play football this year from his preparation going into the 2013 year-his first outside Baltimore.
“I’m not going to anybody’s training camp, ” Reed said. “I sat and watched the league last year from a different perspective, and I learned a lot, and I saw they had teams that needed safeties in the latter part of the year.”
Reed didn’t make his Texans debut till Week 3 last season-a 30-9 loss in his return to Baltimore. During training camp with Houston, he missed workouts on the active PUP-list, and he said he needed that rest to prepare for the season.
And for those who are concerned about that level of determination from the safety, Reed said he’s not concerned with how people think about him.
“Right now, I’m just about taking care of me and getting myself back…I know you guys may question it, but I’m not worried about that. It’s about how I feel.”
The thought of a banged-up, 35-year old safety who could only be a part-time player who’s best days are behind him might not be the biggest draw for an NFL team.
However, Reed, who looked to be enjoying himself Sunday and said it was a pleasure to be back in Baltimore, is content though if this is the end of his NFL dream.
“I’m not worried about the end. I’m not under contract. I’m already at the finish line. I don’t need to sign with anybody.”
“I don’t have to put in any papers. I don’t have to sign anybody’s contract. I don’t have to go to any organization. Ed Reed and Barry Sanders…they did it their own way.”
Those following the game would imagine that if that were to happen, he would follow other elite players of his level to the coaching ranks in an effort to stay apart the game he loved for so many years.
Reed said he would be open to it and that he got a taste of it in 2013 with the Ravens, Texans and Jets.
“Being around Coach Harbaugh, being around Coach Billick, having so many defensive coordinators-I had a different perspective when I left and I definitely learned a lot…I always say I did more coaching when I was in New York because they have a bunch of young guys up there and those guys kind of gravitated to me.”
He’s just hoping that an NFL GM or Coach will gravitate to his football knowledge if it doesn’t equate to continuing his playing career-hopefully in a place he’s all too familiar with in Baltimore.
“I think I can help pretty much any organization if I’m a position coach, a consultant or whatever…I could see me working in the organization here. I could see me working for Ozzie, those guys and Mr. Bisciotti because I put so much into it, I know how they work, and they taught me so much.”
If anything, you can count on Ed Reed making one more trip to M&T Bank Stadium for his guaranteed induction into the stadium’s Ring of Honor and he knows what kind of reaction he’ll get upon that return.
“It definitely brings back memories,” Reed said. “Anytime I come into Baltimore, it brings back memories.”
“It’s always great to see Ed Reed,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “He’s like a big brother and anytime you’re around him, it’s a good time.”
‘It’s great to see Baltimore still loves him.”
Follow me on Twitter at @RyanChell87! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!
Posted on 30 May 2014 by Ryan Chell
After an 8-8 season in which the Baltimore Ravens fell short of defending their Super Bowl title, many of John Harbaugh’s players are coming into this week’s OTAs with a huge chip on their shoulders in an attempt to get back to the playoffs.
However, that attitude is nothing new for Ravens 2nd-year offensive tackle Rick Wagner, who is getting a crack at the team’s starting right tackle spot going into OTAs-the position vacated by former first-round pick Michael Oher, who left via free agency to sign a contract with the Tennessee Titans.
Other candidates for the job include 2013 LG Kelechi Osemele, Jah Reid, Ryan Jensen, as well as undrafted rookie James Hurst.
Wagner, the team’s 5th round pick (168th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin, has had an uphill battle since he was drafted by the Ravens last April. Despite a high grade, he fell farther than his initial draft projection despite playing four years at Wisconsin-including 39 starts and Outland Trophy consideration.
The off-season was a disappointing one not only for Wagner in terms of becoming a starting NFL tackle, but also seeing his team fail to play deep into January for the first time in the John Harbaugh era.
“It’s not a good taste to have in our mouths right now,” Wagner told Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Thursday. “You can tell with the vets that they’re not used to that. “They’ve been making the playoffs for years here so we wanna get back and ultimately-that’s our number one priority.”
But behind the team goals, Wagner does find himself with a unique opportunity being tapped as the early candidate to start at right tackle for the Ravens going into training camp and ultimately in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 7th-a situation he fought his entire rookie year to try and achieve.
“I’m really excited, ” Wagner told Clark after practice. “Last year, I practiced like I was going start Week 1 because you never know what will happen with injuries, but [this year], I’m just trying to get the playbook down first, which I’m already feeling confident with in these first couple OTAs.”
That determination fueled Wagner going into his rookie year, and he earned playing time out of it-playing 13 games for the Ravens in 2013 and starting two as John Harbaugh’s “swing tackle” in Jumbo, short-yardage, and goal line situations.
Wagner said playing his rookie year really gave him an edge in his short NFL career getting acclimated to the changing pace of the professional game.
“It’s such a change from college,” Wagner said. “The speed is so much more amped up, and that’s the real difference. That really helped me out last year, and I’m ready to go.”
Wagner said it definitely put things on perspective when it came to his own work ethic.
“Every player in the NFL is the best player you’ve faced in college. It’s just a whole new intensity you have to get used to.”
But even with that experience under his belt, Wagner still understands that he’s going to have to compete for the right tackle job and that he won’t have it handed to him.
“I definitely have to earn it,” Wagner said. ”There’s nothing set until Week 1. I’m just gonna keep working and hope I earn that title.”
What’s he is getting used to in OTAs is lining up next to some new faces, including 3x All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda and getting line calls from a new center in former Buccaneeer Jeremy Zuttah.
Wagner said he owes so much to the two of them.
“It’s incredible to have him right next to me,” Wagner said of Yanda. “He helps me out every day and makes it so much easier when you have a vet like him next to you.”
And in regards to Zuttah, despite the center being in a Ravens uniform for two months, Wagner felt like with Zuttah’s knowledge and expertise, it feels like he’s been in the meeting rooms and on the field for years.
“We’re real comfortable already…it seems like he’s been here awhile,” Wagner said. ”He’s a real athletic guy and he’s fit right in since the first day.”
Now it’s all about the whole group grasping this new scheme being implemented by incoming offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak. Despite the perceived complexity of a zone offense, Wagner though says it all comes down to execution despite the different terminology.
“Football is football,” Wagner said. “There isn’t really anything else we can do.”
What they do want to do is get back to establishing the running game to help out their quarterback in Joe Flacco.
“It’s a big emphasis. I’m really happy with the play-action stuff we have going this year-a lot different than last year.”
And while it’s been all business so far in camp, Wagner did say that he’s shared a few laughs so far seeing Flacco on some of Kubiak’s bootleg plays.
“He’s a real athletic guy, and it’s good to see him getting out of the pocket and getting some runs going.”
WNST thanks Ricky Wagner for joining “The Reality Check!” Check out the entire conversation in the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net!
Posted on 13 May 2014 by Brandon Sacks
At some point during this upcoming season, there will be another very familiar name up on the Ring Of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium. The team announced that Todd Heap, who spent 10 years as a tight end with the Ravens before being released in 2011, will be enshrined at some point during the 2014 season.
Heap will join an elite list of former Colts and Ravens greats, such as Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and Jonathan Ogden and future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, and Art Modell, just to name a few. His enshrinement will make him the eighth Raven inducted.
In Heap’s 10 years in Baltimore, he caught 467 passes for 5492 yards. His 41 touchdown catches are a franchise high. He spent two years in Arizona and decided to retire last year.
Heap will forever be known as one of the Ravens all-time greats. While he never was able to win a championship in the purple and black, his name will now forever be etched into Ravens history. Congratulations Todd Heap. You, of all people, are absolutely deserving of this honor.
Posted on 13 May 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 13 May 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 13 May 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 13 May 2014 by WNST Audio