Tag Archive | "Gerrard Sheppard"

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Ravens add former Towson receiver Sheppard, running back to practice squad

Posted on 02 September 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens completed their practice squad Monday by re-signing former Towson wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard and adding running back Jonas Gray.

Baltimore released undrafted offensive lineman Jordan Devey a day after adding him to their developmental squad.

Sheppard was with the Ravens throughout the offseason and summer before he was waived on Aug. 25, but the McDonough grad left quite an impression on coach John Harbaugh, making his inclusion on the practice squad less surprising. He did not record a catch in the preseason.

“These are men with dreams and aspirations who work really hard, [like] a Gerrard Sheppard — [a] local guy from Towson who just did a great job for us,” Harbaugh said in late August. “He is a really talented, hard-working, good person, and no matter what he does in life, he’s going to be amazingly successful.”

Gray was with the Miami Dolphins in the preseason after spending his college career at Notre Dame. As a senior with the Fighting Irish, Gray carried the ball 114 times for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 40 rushing attempts this preseason, Gray gained 107 yards and two touchdowns.

The Ravens had hoped that running back Bobby Rainey would clear waivers and agree to join their practice squad, but he was claimed by the Cleveland Browns. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are the only running backs on the current 53-man roster.

Here’s where the eight-man Baltimore practice squad stands as of now:

S Omar Brown
TE Matt Furstenburg
LB Brandon Copeland
C Reggie Stephens
OT J.J. Unga
DL Cody Larsen
WR Gerrard Sheppard
RB Jonas Gray

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Ravens Gerrard Sheppard Ready To Impress

Posted on 18 July 2013 by brianbower

Towson wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard was all smiles when his phone rang and it was the Ravens on the other end.

After going undrafted, the 6’2″ 215 lb Maryland native (Owings Mills) was ecstatic when the Ravens wanted to add him to their roster.

“It was a dream come true. I was born and raised in Baltimore and to play for my hometown I felt nothing but great feelings inside. I look forward to working my butt off every day to show them I deserve to be a part of this great organization,” stated Sheppard when asked what it meant to be a part of the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Back in March Sheppard shined at his pro day and made sure he was well prepared for the scouts that were on hand. ” I wasn’t too nervous. I felt pretty confident in the results I was putting up because of how much I prepared for the biggest job interview of my life,” he stated.

Sheppard’s numbers were impressive: 4.45 in the 40 and a 10.1 in the broad jump as well as a vertical jump of 35 1/2 inches. “Right after the season ended I got right back in the gym,” Sheppard explained. ”I also worked with a track coach and we put together a great plan to futher my game.”

The McDonogh High School graduate was sincere about his training. “Gerrard didn’t touch a drop of alcohol the entire off-season; he wanted to make sure he trained hard and prepared hard to get the opportunity,” stated Family Advisor Brent Conner.

Gerrard brings size, speed and skilled hands to the Ravens receiving corps, who lost top receiver Anquan Boldin this off-season.

“I try to mimic my game after Jerry Rice,” Sheppard replied when asked who he tries to compare himself to.  “The guy had such sure hands and his route running ability to separate from defenders was incredible, not mention how he carried himself off the field as well and that is who I try to mimic his work ethic.”

While playing at the University of Connecticut, where he spent two years, Sheppard had the opportunity to play against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl before he transferred to Towson. “Was the biggest game of my life,” he recalled. “I was nervous at the beginning but once I got the first hit out of the way I was OK.”

His transition was smooth to Towson; however, the Tigers were already playing preseason games which meant the transfer had to hit the playbook hard. “I spent numerous hours every night acclimating myself with the playbook,” Sheppard said. “I felt like it was a good transition at the time.”

One has to wonder the thoughts and the emotions of not hearing your name called throughout the entire NFL Draft. However, Gerrard stayed positive. When asked about the feeling he had when the Ravens contacted him he simply said, “Relief! I was very excited to see my hard work paid off but it also meant that phone call means I have to go ten times harder.”

“Blessed” is the word Gerrard used to describe himself, as Baltimore has a lot of competition at the wide receiver position heading into offseason activities and mini-camps. “I have been through a lot of things on the field and off the field but my faith has kept me working hard,” he also added.

Gerrard has a long road ahead of him to make the Ravens 53-man roster but his heart is huge and his determination is even bigger.

I for one will be rooting for the local Baltimore product the entire way.

 

Follow me on Twitter @sportguyrsr

 

 

 

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Harbaugh looking forward to seeing McKinnie go to work

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Harbaugh looking forward to seeing McKinnie go to work

Posted on 05 May 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On the day when the Ravens were wrapping up their mandatory rookie minicamp, coach John Harbaugh answered questions about the return of his starting left tackle and oldest player on the roster.

After agreeing to a two-year deal worth a maximum of $7 million to remain in Baltimore on Thursday, Bryant McKinnie, 33, is expected to come to town this week to finalize the contract and begin offseason workouts. His return means the Ravens have now retained four of five starters from their Super Bowl XLVII offensive line, with only 15-year veteran Matt Birk departing due to retirement.

The Ravens had publicly entertained thoughts of moving second-year lineman Kelechi Osemele to left tackle, but a new contract for McKinnie means Baltimore can keep Osemele at left guard, solidifying another position that would have been a question mark had the 2012 second-round pick made the position change.

“Having Bryant back is a big plus for us. We were hoping that would be the case,” Harbaugh said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him next week and getting him in here and going to work. We want our line to be as strong as it can possibly be and that makes us stronger.”

Harbaugh, run-game coordinator Juan Castillo, and other members of the organization kept in touch with McKinnie throughout the offseason, even when it appeared they had little interest in bringing back the 2002 first-round pick. The Ravens’ involvement in negotiating with McKinnie spiked after they were unable to come away with a left tackle of the future in last weekend’s draft and saw San Diego and Miami make contract offers to his agent Michael George.

Asked if he’s been pleased with what McKinnie has told him in terms of his activity and conditioning level this offseason, Harbaugh spoke in generic terms since he hasn’t seen the left tackle since the end of last season. Specific details of McKinnie’s deal hadn’t been reported as of Sunday afternoon, but it’s believed there will be some incentives related to workouts and playing time.

There was plenty of speculation that McKinnie found his way into Harbaugh’s doghouse last season as he didn’t start a game until the playoffs, but the Baltimore coach reached out to the 354-pound lineman earlier this offseason to make it known that he wanted McKinnie to stay with the Ravens in 2013.

“I’m always pleased with conversations with Bryant McKinnie,” Harbaugh said. “I enjoy talking to Bryant. He’s one of my favorite guys. He’s a sterling conversationalist. We talk a lot about stuff, a lot of different things — a broad range of topics. I always enjoy that. I think he does as well.”

Spagnuolo’s role a work in progress

Sunday marked the first time Harbaugh commented publicly on the hiring of former St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo as a senior defensive assistant, and it appears his role will remain fluid as the offseason moves into training camp and the start of the regular season.

The pair spent seven seasons working together as assistants for the Philadelphia Eagles before Spagnuolo moved on to become the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants and ultimately the head coach in St. Louis from 2009 through 2011. Spagnuolo spent last season as the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints but was fired after his unit finished last in yards allowed and 31st in points surrendered.

“His accomplishments speak for themselves. I think it adds to an already very strong staff and just makes us that much better,” Harbaugh said. “The more great coaches and great players that we can build into what we’re doing, the better we’re going to be. He’ll build into the defensive side, he’ll assist where needed, and I think we’ll build that in as we go. He can really work with any position, so it’s a big plus for us.”

Given the 53-year-old Spagnuolo’s impressive resume aside from working with an overmatched New Orleans defense a year ago, it will be interesting to see how closely he works with defensive coordinator Dean Pees and whether his longstanding relationship with Harbaugh may put him in line to be the eventual replacement for the 63-year-old.

Elam impresses early

Sunday offered the media’s first glimpse at first-round safety Matt Elam in a Ravens uniform and the University of Florida product didn’t disappoint, showing good speed and nearly picking off a pass during 11-on-11 drills.

Harbaugh even pointed to some of the leadership traits Elam exuded with the Gators that already were carrying over to the practice field in Owings Mills this weekend.

“Matt really picked things up quickly. He really did a nice job of communicating in the back end, which is not usual for a rookie,” Harbaugh said. “Most rookie defensive backs — even all defensive players — have a tough time with the communication part of it because they’re not confident enough to make the calls. He’s smart. He picked it up quickly, he jumped right back there and made the calls with force and played fast. He looked good.”

Odds & ends

Sunday featured an impressive moment for the Towson Tigers football program as quarterback Grant Enders — invited to try out this weekend — connected with wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard on the final play of Sunday’s practice. However, Enders was also the quarterback nearly picked off by Elam in 11-on-11 drills. “Enders and Sheppard looked really good in this camp,” Harbaugh said. “They are NFL-quality guys.” … Former Maryland tight end Matt Furstenburg caught a touchdown from University of Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri, who also tried out this weekend. … Second-round linebacker Arthur Brown of Kansas State showed impressive quickness dropping into coverage and blanketed running backs and tight ends running routes on a handful of plays. … Harbaugh said the Ravens are interested in bringing in another kicker who can handle punting and placekicking duties to share reps with kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch during training camp.

 

 

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Maryland TE Furstenburg among Ravens undrafted signings

Posted on 27 April 2013 by WNST Staff

The Ravens completed their 10-man draft process Saturday night, and quickly moved toward the next process of the NFL off-season and an area that they have had huge success in-the rookie free agent pool.

The team invited over 15 players to their off-season camps, highlighted by Maryland TE Matt Furstenburg, who had an impressive showing at the Combine.

Murphy Holloway, who was a member of the NCAA Tournament-bound Ole Miss basketball team, is trying to break onto an NFL roster as a tight end and will attempt to do so in Baltimore. Trying to replicate the success of Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates as converted basketball players, the 6’7” 240 lb Holloway averaged double-digit points for the Rebels this season.

Among the other invites included Army QB Trent Steelman, who will likely try to make it in the NFL as a WR. Towson Tigers WR Gerrard Sheppard also received an invitation to camp from the Ravens, as well as Penn DL and Gilman grad Brandon Copeland.

Jeff Braun, a guard out of West Virginia, signed with the Ravens. Braun played prep basketball and football at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Maryland.

Other rookies receiving invitations to camp from Baltimore include:

Chris Harris, TE-Elon

Jordan Devey, OL-Memphis

Will Pericak, DE-Colorado

Brynden Trawick, S-Troy

Jose Cheeseborough, DB-Florida International

Omarius Hines, H-Back-Florida

Ray Holley, RB/WR-Louisiana Tech

Nathan Stanley, QB-Southeastern Louisiana

Rogers Gaines, OT-Tennessee State

Moe Lee, DB-Utah

 

All of these players and the Ravens 10 draft picks will be in Baltimore Thursday for the start of rookie mini-camp.

 

Be sure to follow WNST on Twitter for your Ravens news! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Former Towson players look to impress scouts at Pro Day Tuesday

Posted on 12 March 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGER FOOTBALL HOSTS PRO DAY ON TUESDAY

NFL Scouts To Visit Campus To Evaluate Tiger Seniors

TOWSON, Md. – Members of the Towson University football team will be demonstrating their athletics skills and showing off their potential when National Football League scouts visit campus for the Tigers’ annual “Pro Day” on Tuesday, March 12 starting at 2:00 p.m.

The Pro Day activities will begin in the weight room in the Towson Center at 2:00 p.m. From there, the scouts and players will move to the playing field at Johnny Unitas® Stadium for additional tests and drills.

A contingent of seven Tiger seniors will receive most of the attention from the NFL scouts. All-Americans Jordan Dangerfield (Royal Palm Beach H.S./Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Frank Beltre (Randolph H.S./Randolph, N.J.) will be getting long looks from the scouts. A second team All-American safety, Dangerfield was a three-year starter for the Tigers who made 258 tackles in his career. He was also named to the All-Colonial Athletic Association first team twice.

A three-year starter at defensive end, Beltre earned honorable mention All-American notice as a senior.  A three-time All-CAA selection, he finished his career with 232 tackles, including 38 tackles for lost yardage and 11 sacks.

Defensive end Romale Tucker (Cardozo H.S./Washington, D.C.), a four-year starter who earned third team All-CAA honors as a senior, will also participate. Tucker made 191 tackles in his career, including 25.5 tackles for lost yardage and 10 sacks. He also forced four fumbles and recovered two in his career.

Dangerfield, Beltre and Tucker were all part of a Tiger defensive unit that lead the CAA by allowing 313.2 total yards per game.

Scouts will also be evaluating four offensive standouts from a Towson unit that averaged 31.9 points per game last season. A second team All-CAA selection at quarterback, Grant Enders (Old Mill H.S./Millersville, Md.) was a two-year starter for the Tigers who led Towson to a 16-6 record and two CAA championships. In his career, he passed for 4,413 yards and 35 touchdowns with only 16 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,002 yards in 22 games.

Wide receivers Tom Ryan (Father Judge H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.) and Gerrard Sheppard (McDonough H.S./Owings Mills, Md.) are also scheduled to participate. In his career, Ryan caught 127 passes for 1,528 yards and eight touchdowns. As a senior, he earned third team All-CAA notice. A transfer from the University of Connecticut, Sheppard caught 52 passes for 584 and five TD’s in his career.

Versatile Cody Kirby (Kent Island H.S./Chester, Md.) will also be evaluated. A three-year performer for the Tigers, he saw action at tackle, long snapper and tight end for the Tigers. In his career, he caught 10 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

“We are very excited about having a Pro Day with so many teams coming on campus,” says Coach Rob Ambrose. “This is another indication of the growth of our program. Since the end of our season, every NFL team has sent someone to campus to look at film. They know we have players who should be evaluated.”

Beltre, Dangerfield, Enders, Kirby, Ryan, Sheppard and Tucker were key parts of the dramatic turnaround of Tiger football. In the last two seasons, Towson posted a 16-7 record, including a 16-4 mark against NCAA FCS opponents. The Tigers, who won the 2011 CAA championship outright, were CAA co-champions last year. Towson has a 13-3 record against CAA opponents the last two years.

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