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Steve Smith’s expectations realistic in coming to Ravens

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Steve Smith’s expectations realistic in coming to Ravens

Posted on 23 July 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Steve Smith has talked plenty about motivation this offseason but is also grounded in reality as he officially begins his first training camp with the Ravens on Thursday.

Understandably having a chip on his shoulder over being released by the Carolina Panthers after spending the first 13 seasons of his career in Charlotte, the 35-year-old wide receiver is looking to prove he still has plenty left in the tank to help the Ravens, but there are no predictions of a 1,300-yard season or a return to the Pro Bowl. His motivation is shaped by perspective with an eye toward the end of his career knowing nobody wins the battle with Father Time.

“You can never perform at as high a level at 35 that you did at 25,” Smith said. “My job is to go out there and catch what’s catchable and have fun doing it. [I don’t want to] really concern myself too much on the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘Should I be here?’ or ‘Should I be there?’ The things that I’ve experienced in my career, honestly, they’re not going to get any better, and the reason why is because my perspective is different. Hopefully, I will accomplish better things statistically, but I’m living the dream.”

It’s difficult to predict what to expect from Smith in terms of production on the field as his yards per catch average has decreased from 17.6 in 2011 to 16.1 in 2012 to 11.6 last season, which was his lowest mark since 2007. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound wideout has depended on speed on the outside for much of his career, but he will need to reinvent himself as more of a possession receiver to thrive in Gary Kubiak’s offensive system while Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones provide two stronger outside options in the vertical passing game.

The University of Utah product turned in an excellent spring, catching nearly everything thrown his way and running crisp shorter routes whether working outside or in the slot. Smith downplayed how long it will take to build a rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco — simply explaining he’ll catch anything that should be caught — but also recognizes he doesn’t have to be the primary focus of the passing game like he was for more than a decade with the Panthers.

“I understand there are going to be times when I’m the premier receiver,” Smith said, “and there are times that I need to clear through for Torrey or Jacoby or Marlon [Brown]. You have to be able to be efficient in any offense; you’ve got to understand in every play what your role is.”

Of course, the Ravens’ motivation in signing Smith to a three-year, $11.5 million in March went beyond the number of passes he’ll catch as the offense lacked vocal leadership and swagger last season following the trade of veteran wideout Anquan Boldin. Smith has already shown he isn’t afraid to stir the pot as he mixed it up with cornerback Lardarius Webb during last month’s mandatory minicamp.

He’ll need to be productive on the field to authentically establish himself as a leader, but the early returns suggest both sides of the ball have benefited from his competitive fire during practices. It’s a reputation that was well known to the Ravens long before the veteran stepped foot in Owings Mills this spring.

“We get another defensive guy playing offense with Steve coming over,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “This is one guy last year [who defensive coordinator] Dean Pees told us not to anger, and it was a preseason game. The goal was to do our time and get out of there. It’s great to have him on our team.”

Smith’s ability to rebound from an underwhelming 745-yard season a year ago will go a long way in determining whether the Ravens can substantially improve their 29th-ranked offense in 2013. He doesn’t need to be a 1,000-yard receiver, but the veteran will be asked to catch shorter passes and help move the chains on third down, an area in which the Ravens ranked only 20th last season.

The longtime Panther knows his career is winding down but thinks he’s found the ideal place to fit his personality.

“I’m lucky to even be here,” Smith said. “After you hit 35, you should be with a walker and all that stuff. I’m just happy to be playing ball and have the opportunity to play in a conference where it’s smash-mouth football, and I’m going to fit in perfectly [with] that.”

Pierce, Reid ready to go

The Ravens will conduct their first full-squad workout on Thursday morning and enter the summer with a short injury report as running back Bernard Pierce and offensive lineman Jah Reid both participated fully in Tuesday’s workout.

Pierce has now been cleared after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery while Reid was sidelined with a calf injury in the spring.

“These two days they both looked good. They both looked fine; they have no problems,” coach John Harbaugh said. “There are some full-speed-type drills out there, not contact, but the speed of it, and they had no problems. We’ll work them through the first two days. Thursday and Friday are both full speed, but they’re not full contact, so that’ll be another chance for them to take the next step that way. I don’t anticipate any problems.”

Defensive tackle Terrence Cody is the only veteran with a clear injury concern entering camp as he’s still recovering from offseason hip surgery. Harbaugh said the fifth-year lineman is progressing, but there is no clear target date of when he’ll return to the practice field.

Dumervil grateful for opportunity provided by Bowlen in Denver

With Wednesday’s news of Pat Bowlen stepping down as owner of the Denver Broncos due to Alzheimer’s disease, Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil offered his support after spending the first seven seasons of his career in Denver.

“He helped impact my life [and] my family for generations to come,” Dumervil said. “He was a great guy. He always asked about my health, and when I was out for the year [in 2010], we talked a bit. He was always great to me, and I was always grateful for that. When I heard about the news, it was a sad day for that.”

 

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An Easter Sweet 16 of treats that were better than candy in the basket

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An Easter Sweet 16 of treats that were better than candy in the basket

Posted on 14 April 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

This one will be worthy of some bar room arguments this week but I was entrusted with identifying the 16 greatest games in Baltimore sports history. Passion. Drama. Great finishes. Memorable action on the field of play.

I wrote down a list of 30 great games and seeded them based on the significance of the outcome and the level of activity in the games and came up with a WNST.net Sweet 16 lost full of memories but not all them had happy endings.

Hey, a great game is a great game. All of these left me feeling like I got my monies worth.

Feel free to feedback below or via Twitter, Facebook or email (nasty@wnst.net).

 

16. Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens (Dec. 8, 2013)

It will take some more time to know how distance treats this recent classic, but it’s hard to top the only snow game in the franchise’s history going back and forth with five touchdowns in the final 2:05 of a 29-26 win for the Ravens over the Vikings. “Will we ever see another game like that again?” head coach John Harbaugh said. The answer to that is probably “no.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who I Like Sunday and Why

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Who I Like Sunday and Why

Posted on 13 January 2014 by Dwayne Showalter

Championship weekend is upon us and for the first time since 2011, and only third time since 2008, the Baltimore Ravens are not involved.  That sounds pretty good to say actually.  To be in it three times in five years would have been kind of bitter had Josh Bynes not tackled Tedd Ginn around midfield to end the 49ers comeback last February and give the Ravens their second Lombardi Trophy.

It certainly would have been nice to watch them participate again in the playoffs this season, but let’s face it, it frays nerves, causes gray hair and (in may case) makes it fall out.  Let some of these other cities get their hopes dashed, dreams crushed and see parade plans canceled.

Think about the playoffs already.  Cincinnati, for all the good mojo they created during the regular season, lost at home…again…in the first round.  Nice job Bengals.  Do us all a favor and go back to your holes.  Please don’t win the division again.  It embarrasses the AFC North.

How about the Chiefs?  After two straight losing seasons, they were back in the playoffs (last losing at home to Baltimore in January ’11) and feeling spry after finishing 11-5.  Then they choked a huge lead to a second year quarterback.  Stew on that KC.  And you can probably apply the same to Eagles fans.  The only differences?  Lost a small lead, at home, were 10-6 and were coming off of two non-winning seasons – they finished 8-8 two seasons ago.

The Packers weaseled in at 8-7-1.  They had Aaron Rogers back at quarterback and all was looking up in Green Bay.  That is until Phil Dawson connected on a short field goal to dash hopes, crush dreams and cancel parade plans.

This past weekend the big four muscled up.  The 49ers showed the fans in Carolina what championship football was all about.  Seattle throttled the Saints for three-and-a-half quarters before allowing them a chance to tie it late.  I have my reasons to dislike Drew Brees (lets just say its fantasy related) but for the record, I usually root against dome teams.  What a shame for the Crescent City.  In San Diego, they don’t really make Super Bowl plans, at least not since the game itself stopped making regular appearances there.  As for the Chargers, Phillip Rivers was never a favorite when at NC State.  His gyrations Sunday didn’t do anything to erase those feelings.  As for Indy, no sympathy here.  Domed team, our colors and logo.  They may have their day again, and soon, but not this year.

So here we go into the final four, NFL style.  I can’t root for Seattle.  I find the whole “12th man” thing kind of a joke.  I thought that was Texas A&M’s deal anyway.  The fans look like idiots and the weather always is rotten.  Not even cold or snow rotten.  Just 40 degrees and crappy rotten.  Their home record may be a by-product of it being such a dreary looking place.  Denver and New England is a toss up to me.  I kind of lean toward New England because Brady seems to do it without stars around him and was never the chosen one, being drafted in the sixth round out of Michigan.  Manning was the first overall pick in 1998 by the Colts.  I also like the fact the Manning has the same amount of rings as Joe Flacco!

But mostly, they are at home.  And if there is one thing I enjoy watching it’s a stadium full of disgruntled fans emptying out late in the 4th quarter like the Pats forced in Pittsburgh a few years back.  The Ravens had a habit of  doing that over the years too.  Tennessee and Oakland in 2000.  Miami in ’01.  Miami and Tennessee again in ’08.  New England in ’09 and 2012.  Kansas City in 2010.  And Oh yeah, Denver too last year (caution one F-bomb but one of my favorite clips of all-time!).  Unfortunately, we have witnessed this here in Baltimore a few times.  I saw Oakland in 1977.  And Tennessee and Indy in ’03 and ’06 respectively.  It stinks.  But if it’s not my team, it’s kind of funny.

In the end, I think I will pull for San Francisco the most.  With them and either AFC team, a Super Bowl that features two teams the Ravens beat to win Super Bowl XLVII would be pretty neat to watch.  Go Niners.

 

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 13 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Syracuse @ Maryland (Thursday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Georgia Tech @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm Comcast Center); Boxing: Jean Pascal vs. Lucian Bute (Saturday 10:15pm from Montreal live on HBO), Ivan Redkach vs. Tony Luis (Friday 10pm from Memphis live on Showtime); MISL: St. Louis Ambush @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm from Baltimore Arena live on YouTube), Baltimore Blast @ Syracuse Silver Stars (Sunday 1pm from Syracuse, NY live on YouTube)

10. Paul Mooney (Saturday 7:30pm Howard Theatre)l Iliza Shlesinger (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Doug Stanhope (Thursday 8pm Magooby’s Joke House); Todd Glass (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Sunday throughout Baltimore County); Enough Said“, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler“, “Riddick” and “Carrie” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit“, “The Nut Joband “Ride Along” out in theaters (Friday)

Iliza Schlesinger is both humorous and not safe for work.

I have no interest in seeing Jack Ryan, but I could use some more Keira Knightley in my life.

9. Jay-Z (Thursday 8pm Verizon Center); Stone Sour/Pop Evil (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live); Rusted Root (Monday 7:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Big Daddy Kane (Friday 9pm Howard Theatre); Charles Bradley (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Big Head Todd and The Monsters (Saturday 7pm 9:30 Club); Gipsy Kings (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Dangermuffin (Friday 8pm Gypsy Sally’s); Bruce Springsteen “High Hopes”Switchfoot “Fading West” and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings “Give The People What They Want” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’ve seen Jay-Z a few times, probably won’t make down to DC Thursday night. But if he ever toured with The Roots there would not be a price I wouldn’t pay.

Charles Bradley > Charles Barkley > Matt Barkley > My elementary school friend Matt Besche. Actually, strike that. Matt Besche is WAY better than Matt Barkley.

Drew Forrester said the new Springsteen record isn’t a home run. Fair enough. I really like this tune though.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are example number 6,789,403 why Brooklyn is now the capital of the music world.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Wake Forest @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center); Boxing: Arash Usmanee vs. Juan Antonio Rodriguez (Friday 9pm from Tacoma, WA live on ESPN2)

10. Jimmie’s Chicken Shack (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live); Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Cracker (Saturday 6pm 9:30 Club); Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (Friday & Saturday 7:30pm Birchmere); Peter Gabriel “Scratch My Back & I’ll Scratch Yours” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

JCS is celebrating the 15th anniversary of one of the most important records OF MY LIFE.

I would like to go see Dirty Dozen Brass Band, yes, thanks for asking.

Cracker does that one song you kinda remember.

And now here’s Ricky Skaggs.

9. Blue Man Group (Friday-Sunday France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at The Hippodrome); Jim Gaffigan (Friday & Saturday 7pm & 9:30pm Warner Theatre); Rob Schneider (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “Archer” season five premiere (Monday 10pm FX); Lone Survivor“, “Her” and “August: Osage County” out in theaters (Friday); Baltimore County Restaurant Week (Friday-Monday throughout Baltimore County)

Obviously the only thing that matters this week is the return of Archer. Enjoy the next eight minutes of your life. They won’t get better.

Also, this is great.

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flacco

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“The Reality Check” Final Regular Season NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 01 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week 32)

Bill O’Brien plus Teddy Bridgewater seems like a pretty solid equation.

31. Washington Redskins (31)

No solid equations to be found.

30. Oakland Raiders (30)

You’d assume most coaches that are still employed a few days after the season ends are safe…unless they coach the Oakland Raiders.

29. Cleveland Browns (29)

Can we just get to the part where they hire Romeo Crennel already?

28. Atlanta Falcons (28)

Jadaveon Clowney would fit REALLY well here.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (27)

Oh hey look-anything else!

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26)

Not Greg Schiano sounds like an improved equation to me.

25. Buffalo Bills (23)

They were interesting at times.

24. Detroit Lions (22)

Jim Schwartz did a nice job there, but it was an absolutely unthinkable end.

23. Minnesota Vikings (25)

Some new coaches inherit one quarterback. The new Vikes coach will inherit negative three.

22. New York Giants (24)

Their record was one game worse than the Ravens’.

21. St. Louis Rams (19)

Would Jeff Fisher take a chance on Jay Cutler?

20. Tennessee Titans (21)

Would Mike Munchak/next Titans coach take a chance on Jay Cutler?

19. Miami Dolphins (13)

Knicks-like choke.

18. Chicago Bears (16)

Stupid to take that chance on Jay Cutler.

17. Dallas Cowboys (14)

And what could have been. (Probably nothing.)

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“The Reality Check” Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 17 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 25 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week 32)

Yup.

31. Washington Redskins (31)

But at least you didn’t lose to a guy playing through a season ending back injury or anything.

30. Oakland Raiders (30)

Less interesting than the “Best of” shows some radio stations air on Christmas.

29. Cleveland Browns (29)

There’s a chance they’ll be involved with the playoff race.

28. Atlanta Falcons (28)

But for a moment.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (27)

Thank God I won’t have to write about them again.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26)

Kinda remarkable they’ll finish in the top 30 when you think about it.

25. Minnesota Vikings (22)

Thanks for nothing.

24. New York Giants (25)

There’s DEFINITELY no way they can still make a Super Bowl run, right?

23. Buffalo Bills (24)

That should’ve been more helpful.

22. Detroit Lions (18)

I probably shouldn’t drop them this far. Also, I don’t really care that much.

21. Tennessee Titans (21)

Calm down. They only beat Jacksonville.

20. New York Jets (23)

We’ve never been bigger fans.

19. St. Louis Rams (20)

And with the number two pick.

18. Green Bay Packers (16)

But I think they get in.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (19)

No freaking way this can happen, right?

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“The Reality Check” Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 11 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week 32)

Maybe they pull a swerve and hire Nick Saban?

31. Washington Redskins (31)

Maybe THEY pull a swerve and hire Nick Saban?

30. Oakland Raiders (30)

I legitimately forgot who they had played this weekend before I started writing this.

29. Atlanta Falcons (29)

Dear Harry Douglas…you’re still at play in my push for a Fantasy title. Hugs and kisses.

28. Cleveland Browns (27)

Doing Cleveland Browns things.

27. Buffalo Bills (25)

Dear CJ Spiller…please see above.

26. Minnesota Vikings (23)

Someone already picked up Toby Gerhart in your league.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28)

So…do they NOT fire Greg Schiano?

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (26)

It’s kinda neat that they managed to win games.

23. New York Giants (20)

Nice game, She-li. (Get it? ‘Cause of the face thing?)

22. St. Louis Rams (21)

Anyone set up better for the Draft?

21. New York Jets (24)

Somehow still winning football games.

20. Tennessee Titans (19)

What could have been.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (16)

Shouldn’t be this bad.

18. Green Bay Packers (22)

NO CHANCE they stay in it without Rodgers.

17. San Diego Chargers (17)

Right on the cusp of the race, but MASSIVE games ahead.

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The 15-7-0 hopes no one volunteered the Houston Texans as tribute

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The 15-7-0 hopes no one volunteered the Houston Texans as tribute

Posted on 25 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

15 positive observations from the weekend of football, seven not so positive observations and we acknowledge a “zero” from outside the world of football. A reminder, there’s never any Ravens game analysis here. We do plenty of that elsewhere. It’s a trip through the weekend of football via videos, GIFs, memes, pictures, links, Tweets and shtick. This isn’t where we do Ravens stuff. You can find plenty of that…like…everywhere else on the site.

Did you know that you were exactly like a Major League Baseball GM? It’s true. For example: how many good baseball players have you acquired this offseason?

Same as Dan Duquette.

15 Positive Observations…

1. The singular purpose of Number 1 in this week’s 15-7-0 is to get to the part of Monday afternoon’s show where Ryan Chell as to pronounce the name “Seyi Ajirotutu” and then put my feet up, light a cigar and just plain enjoy being alive.

To celebrate the big win, Philip Rivers wore the lovely gift he received from Stan Marsh’s grandfather.

Here’s…I have no freaking idea what this is. NONE.

2. Navy QB Keenan Reynolds had seven touchdowns Friday night. CJ Spiller has one touchdown in 2013. It’s cool though, because I totally picked Reynolds as the second overall pick in my fantasy football draft. What’s that? I picked Spiller there? Oh I just quit.

Just when you thought Navy motivational videos couldn’t get any better.

Three weeks to go, but here’s this.

3. Towson will face the winner of Sacred Heart/Fordham in the second round of the FCS playoffs December 7th. I’m sorry, major college football fans. I probably should’ve started this post by explaining that “playoffs” are what is used by every other sport or at every other level to determine a champion. But hey! You guys are getting one soon too! Kinda.

Terrance West has 30TD’s. THIRTY. Do the Ravens have 30TD’s?

4. Oh, so Cam Newton rallied his team from down late in the second half to improve to 8-3? That’s supposed to get me to buy into him? I’ll buy into him when he beats the Bears. The ’86 Bears. Until then he’s just like every other freakishly athletic former Heisman Trophy winning specimen who has defeated the 49ers and Patriots in the last month. Dime a dozen.

Acting like LeBron James will probably be a great way to win over fans though.

5. The Steelers will come into the Thanksgiving night showdown in Baltimore winners of five of their last seven. It reminds me of a popular limerick my grandfather taught me growing up. It went like this. Ahem. “Screw the Steelers”. Wait, did I say it was a limerick? I meant “a drunken yell”. I get them confused so often.

No one will put this into words any better than Mike Polk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6NJVFlHOIY

Also, Billy Cundiff did something familiar.

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“The Reality Check” Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 20 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week 32)

They never got to leave the bottom spot. Sad story.

31. Houston Texans (29)

The Houston Texans are #31 in the power rankings. Andre Johnson plays for them. JJ Watt plays for them. OMG.

30. Atlanta Falcons (28)

The Atlanta Falcons are #30 in the power rankings. Matt Ryan plays for them. Tony Gonzalez plays for them. OMG.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ranked ahead of teams not named the Jaguars. OMG.

28. Washington Redskins (27)

But some defense would be nice.

27. Minnesota Vikings (26)

Remember when Percy Harvin played for them?

26. Oakland Raiders (30)

The same record as the Ravens. Really.

25. Tennessee Titans (22)

Would be in great shape if they had a quarterback.

24. St. Louis Rams (24)

When they get back from the bye they still won’t have a quarterback either.

23. Buffalo Bills (25)

Not worth jumping from the top of a stadium over.

22. San Diego Chargers (19)

Too many games against the West for me to think they can get to nine wins.

21. Green Bay Packers (18)

I believe Don Majkowski is available.

20. Baltimore Ravens (17)

A HUGE nine days.

19. Cleveland Browns (16)

Still the Cleveland Browns.

18. Miami Dolphins (20)

I don’t believe it.

17. New York Giants (23)

They might win nine games.

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