Tag Archive | "John Harbaugh"

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Newsome says Ravens could bring back McClain or Leach

Posted on 27 February 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Baltimore Ravens have terminated the contracts of vested veterans FB Vonta Leach and LB Jameel McClain, general manager/executive vice president Ozzie Newsome announced Thursday.

“Vonta and Jameel are two of our most important players over the last few seasons, helping us to the playoffs and giving the Ravens the Super Bowl win after the 2012 season,” Newsome stated. “Vonta proved to be one of the best fullbacks in the league, plus he added leadership and toughness to our offense. Jameel is a Ravens’ success story who came to us as a rookie free agent. He changed positions from playing on the defensive line and outside to becoming a good inside linebacker and starter. People close to our team understand his commitment to being the best he can be and the leadership he gave on and off the field.

“There could come a point later on when we would consider bringing back Vonta and Jameel. They are our types of players.”

A 10-year NFL veteran and three-time Pro Bowl selection, Leach spent the past three seasons with the Ravens, earning All-Star honors twice (2011-12). Seeing action in 146 career games (79 starts), Leach originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 2004. In his three seasons with the Ravens, he played in all 48 games (36 starts) and served as the lead blocker for RB Ray Rice, who was tabbed as a Pro Bowler during the 2011 and 2012 campaigns.

“He’s the big, physical fullback you like to have when you pound the ball and are on special teams,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “And, who doesn’t like Vonta? He’s fun to be around, and his personality helped lift the energy at a lot of practices. People know we like to be physically dominating, and when we did that in recent years, Vonta was a big part of that.”

McClain, a six-year NFL veteran, originally signed with the Ravens as a rookie free agent in 2008. Seeing action in 87 career games (55 starts), he recorded 338 tackles (214 solo), 4.5 sacks (-33.5 yards), one interception, 10 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown) and one forced fumble. McClain’s 338 stops rank 17th on the Ravens’ all-time tackles chart, while he also registered a franchise-record two safeties (both during his 2008 rookie season).

“There is so much to like about Jameel, the player and the person,” Harbaugh added. “He’s a true leader, and his story from rookie free agent to NFL starter is one of the best in the league. You give him so much credit for finding a way to become the player he is. He’s one of those guys who gets the most out of his ability. He has a lot of football left, and maybe, that could be with the Ravens down the line.

“Both of these men helped the Ravens win a lot of games and the Super Bowl Championship. We are thankful for all they gave us.”

McClain earned the team’s 2013 Ed Block Courage Award after returning from a spinal cord contusion injury he sustained in 2012. Missing the final three regular season games and each playoff contest in 2012, McClain then sat out the first six games of the 2013 campaign before returning for its final 10 contests (all starts). He totaled 50 tackles (27 solo) and one forced fumble last season.

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Ravens release McClain, Leach in cap-saving maneuvers

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Ravens release McClain, Leach in cap-saving maneuvers

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Luke Jones

Even with an estimated $20 million of salary cap space at their disposal with free agency approaching next month, the Ravens parted ways with two veteran starters to free up more resources on Thursday.

Baltimore announced that inside linebacker Jameel McClain and fullback Vonta Leach were being released in cap-saving maneuvers. By doing so, the Ravens save a total of $4.95 million in room as free agency is set to begin on March 11.

“There could come a point later on when we would consider bringing back Vonta and Jameel,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a team statement. “They are our types of players.”

McClain told WNST.net that the Ravens would like to have him back at a reduced rate and that “the story’s not finished.” The seventh-year linebacker agreed to a pay cut from $3 million to $1.5 million in base salary this past season as he started the year on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from a spinal cord contusion suffered on Dec. 9, 2012.

Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Leach posted a message of thanks on his official Twitter account that included a collage of photos from his three-year run with the organization. The veteran fullback made it clear at the end of the season that he saw the writing on the wall for his future with the Ravens after he played a total of just 12 offensive snaps in the final three games of the season. Of course, Leach was previously cut last summer before re-signing with the Ravens at a reduced rate and seeing his role in the offense diminish as the running game set franchise-worst marks.

“Obviously, I wasn’t in the offense a whole lot this year,” Leach said the day after the season end in late December. “If they had a role for me, ideally, I’d want to come back here. I understand that this is a business.”

Baltimore drafted fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round last season and could add more of a blocking fullback via the draft or free agency if new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak deems it necessary. Leach is entering his 11th season and is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, two of those honors received while playing for the Ravens and blocking for fellow Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice.

The 28-year-old McClain represents one of the better stories in franchise history of an undrafted rookie not only making the 53-man roster in 2008 but carving out a significant role in the defense, starting in 55 games and collecting 316 tackles over the last five years. Told by some he’d never play football again after injuring his neck in 2012, McClain played 10 games last season and made 52 tackles.

“He’s a true leader, and his story from rookie free agent to NFL starter is one of the best in the league,” coach John Harbaugh said in a team release. “You give him so much credit for finding a way to become the player he is. He’s one of those guys who gets the most out of his ability. He has a lot of football left, and maybe, that could be with the Ravens down the line.”

With the Ravens drafting inside linebacker Arthur Brown in the second round of the 2013 draft and already engaging in talks with pending free agent Daryl Smith, McClain’s price tag was deemed too high for a team with a plethora of needs this offseason.

Neither move is surprising as McClain and Leach topped the list of possible cap casualties as the Ravens attempt to bounce back from their first non-playoff season of the Harbaugh era. Also thought to be a potential cut at the start of the offseason, punter Sam Koch — set to count for $2.8 million against the cap in 2014 — told WNST.net Thursday afternoon that he hadn’t heard anything in terms of his roster standing

Newsome and the front office remain in negotiations with tight end Dennis Pitta and left tackle Eugene Monroe as both are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Reports indicate the Ravens are making progress with Pitta before Monday’s deadline to use the franchise tag while they remain far apart in their discussions with Monroe.

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Miami of Ohio to dedicate statue to Harbaugh on April 19

Posted on 27 February 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

OXFORD, Ohio – Super Bowl champion coach John Harbaugh, a 1984 graduate of Miami University, will be inducted into the Cradle of Coaches Association and immortalized with a statue at Yager Stadium’s Cradle of Coaches Plaza on Saturday, April 19. Harbaugh’s bronze, full-body image will depict him on the sidelines as coach of the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens.

The festivities will begin at 11 a.m. with the ground breaking of the Indoor Sports Center, followed by the statue dedication at 11:30. The dedication will take place in the Cradle of Coaches Plaza on the south end of Yager Stadium. The public is encouraged to attend and are invited to watch a football practice after the completion of the ceremony. All three events will be free to attend.

Prior to the unveiling, a reception and dinner will take place on Friday, April 18, beginning at 5 p.m. inside the Shriver Center on the campus of Miami University. For more details on the event contact Brenda Bertsch at 513-529-8097 or bertscbs@miamioh.edu.

The statue of Harbaugh will join the existing Cradle of Coaches statues of Earl “Red” Blaik, Paul Brown, Carm Cozza, Paul Dietzel, Wilbur “Weeb” Ewbank, Ara Parseghian, John Pont and Glenn “Bo” Schembechler. The statues honor Miami graduates who have earned recognition as national collegiate or professional coaches of the year, who have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame or the Pro Football Hall of Fame, or whose teams won national collegiate or professional/Super Bowl championships.

Harbaugh’s image also will be added to the Cradle of Coaches mural that is on front of the scoreboard on the south end of Yager Stadium.

Following the 34-31 triumph by his Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3, 2013, Harbaugh joined Ewbank (’28) as members of Miami’s famed Cradle of Coaches who have taken their teams to NFL supremacy. One other Miamian, Paul Brown (’30), won NFL World Champion titles in 1950, ’54 and ’55 as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. In addition, Ewbank’s Baltimore Colts of 1958 and ’59 were also pre-Super Bowl NFL champs.

Inspired by Bob Kurz, who coined the phrase “Cradle of Coaches”, a donation for the Plaza was originally presented to the University in 1994 from Kurz and his wife, Marian. Located adjacent to the south end of Yager Stadium, the Plaza is a tribute to the nine Miami graduates who have earned recognition as national collegiate or professional coaches of the year and/or been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame or Pro Football Hall of Fame, or who have won a Super Bowl.

A generous gift from the family of Thomas P. Van Voorhis, announced August 27, 2009, has helped provide the crowning touches to the Cradle of Coaches Plaza. The $1.0 million gift, provided by Daniel T. Van Voorhis-a grandson of Thomas P. Van Voorhis and a successful businessman-has been used to create nine heroic-scale figures to represent and honor the men at the heart of the Cradle of Coaches tradition. The statue of Thomas Van Voorhis stands just outside the gates of the Plaza. Harbaugh’s statue will be the ninth coach and the 10th overall addition to the plaza.

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Ravens wouldn’t designate Pitta’s position if franchise tag comes into play

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Ravens wouldn’t designate Pitta’s position if franchise tag comes into play

Posted on 26 February 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens are less than a week away from needing to decide whether to use the franchise tag on tight end Dennis Pitta, but it appears that the potential conflict over the position at which he’ll be tagged won’t be up to them.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport, when a team sends a letter to the league announcing its intention to name a franchise player, it does not designate that player at a specific position. In Pitta’s case, the league — not the Ravens — would then determine whether he is to be tagged as a tight end or wide receiver.

Much like New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Pitta is expected to file a grievance through the NFL Players Association arguing that he should be tagged as a wide receiver after he lined up in the slot on 79.7 percent of his snaps in 2013. The collective bargaining agreement states that a franchise player is to be tendered at the position “at which [he] participated in the most plays during the prior league year.”

The 2014 salary cap hasn’t been officially set — with new reports surfacing that the cap may climb higher than $130 million — but the current estimated franchise tenders for the tight end and wide receiver positions are $6.89 million and $11.86 million, respectively.

Teams have until Monday at 4 p.m. to elect to name a franchise player.

This clarification serves to benefit the Ravens in two important ways while they continue negotiations to lock up the 28-year-old tight end to a long-term agreement.

First, it would seem to eliminate any argument that a player could be deemed an unrestricted free agent if an arbitrator were to find a team had incorrectly tagged a player and, thus, missed the March 3 deadline to designate him properly. There had been some speculation about Graham — and possibly Pitta — using this argument as a way to still be able to cash in on a monster free-agent contract in 2014, but with teams not being the ones to designate a franchise player’s position, it’s assumed that the franchise tender amount would simply be altered from one figure to another with the tag remaining in place.

Secondly, this process would appear to diminish animosity over a franchise-tag fight with the Ravens having no say over Pitta being tagged as a tight end or a wide receiver. Of course, contract negotiations can create plenty of tension already without the added element of a position squabble that could mean a difference of nearly $5 million in salary.

The Ravens are expected to use the franchise tag on Pitta if they can’t sign him prior to March 3, but coach John Harbaugh wasn’t ready to rule out the possibility of the organization allowing the fifth-year tight end to test the open market. Free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. on March 11.

“I think every scenario is possible here,” Harbaugh told reporters in Indianapolis last week. “The franchise tag is very vague right now, so anything could happen.”

Pitta’s age is something to consider as he’s older than most players entering their fifth season after he took a two-year mission trip during his college days at Brigham Young. And that, coupled with the confusion over the franchise tag, has made these negotiations more complicated than many anticipated.

Of course, the Ravens would prefer to get a deal ironed out sooner rather than later, but no agreement was considered imminent at the conclusion of the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis earlier this week.

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Harbaugh expects Rice to remain with Ravens despite legal trouble

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Harbaugh expects Rice to remain with Ravens despite legal trouble

Posted on 21 February 2014 by Luke Jones

Head coach John Harbaugh broke his silence Friday on the arrest of Ray Rice by saying he expects the troubled running back to remain with the Ravens.

Speaking to reporters gathered at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Harbaugh was asked if there was a scenario in which he envisioned the 27-year-old not remaining with the organization this season.

“Not that I’m aware of,” Harbaugh said. “I haven’t seen anything that would remotely make me think that. … The facts will determine the consequences, always. That’s always the case. It’s a process.”

Rice and fiancée Janay Palmer were both arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence after an alleged physical altercation at an Atlantic City casino last weekend. Despite video surfacing of Rice appearing to drag an unconscious Palmer from an elevator and the court summons saying he struck her and rendered her unconscious, the pair were released and allowed to return home together.

Harbaugh confirmed that he spoke with Rice about the incident over the telephone earlier this week.

“The two people obviously have a couple issues that they have to work through, and they’re both committed to doing that.,” Harbaugh said. “That was the main takeaway for me from the conversation. They understand their own issues. They’re getting a lot of counseling and those kinds of things, so I think that’s really positive. That was the main takeaway.”

Of course, the Ravens remain in information-gathering mode as general manager Ozzie Newsome said Monday at a press conference to announce a contract extension for linebacker Terrell Suggs.

It was surprising for the head coach to speak so openly regarding Rice’s status considering how negatively the charge has been met publicly, but Harbaugh reminded everyone that much remains unknown about the case.

“There are a lot of facts and a process that has to be worked through in anything like this,” Harbaugh said. “There are a lot of question marks. But Ray’s character, you guys know his character, so you start with that.”

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An open letter to Ray Rice

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An open letter to Ray Rice

Posted on 21 February 2014 by Drew Forrester

Dear Ray,

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first.  I’m pulling for you.  More than anything, I’m pulling for you and your fiancee’ to work your way through this for the benefit of not only yourselves and your future, but that of your daughter.  Nothing is more important than your family.  Make your family a priority, which I’m sure you will, and you’ll do just fine.  Football, for the time being, is very much secondary.

There’s no real need to stress how disappointed we all are with you and your actions in that casino last Saturday morning.  I’m disappointed in you.  The team is disappointed in you.  You, I’m sure, are disappointed in you.  So, that’s the end of the finger-wagging and me telling you how bad of a boy you’ve been.  You know it.

Now, for the rest of the story, as the saying goes.

You’re no doubt embarrassed about what happened last weekend in Atlantic City.  Notwithstanding the very serious legal situation you’re involved in — which trumps football by a long shot — you’re obviously aware of how your actions and involvement in a domestic-violence case can potentially affect the way the Ravens look at you as an employee.

One thing you’re definitely finding out this week — this situation is going to affect how the fans in town look at you as a football player.  You’re going to need some thick skin, my man, a fact I’m sure you’ve discovered if you’ve seen the internet or checked your Twitter account this week.  If you think Baltimore’s tough on you, wait until the fans in Pittsburgh and Cleveland get a hold of you next season.  It’s not going to be pretty.

Speaking of the way Baltimore has turned on you this week, please know this:  Some of that…well, MOST of it, frankly, is due to the fact you’re coming off a bad season on the field and your 2014 salary cap figure is thought by many to be hamstringing the team in their efforts to rebuild and improve.  If you were coming off a rushing season that included 1,600 yards and 12 TD’s, the football community would be more forgiving of your actions last weekend.  Unfortunately, they’ve been wanting your blood since about week six of the recent NFL season and this, now, gives them the opportunity to quench that thirst.

By the way, I wasn’t all that impressed with your work on the field last season, either, but I don’t connect that with your arrest in Atlantic City.  They’re two completely different topics.

So, while you’re probably taking a lot of advice from folks in your family, your “camp” and your circle of friends, let me give you some more to consider.

First, Ray, please don’t let what happened last weekend define you as a person, an athlete and a Baltimore sports representative.  Don’t stop your work with the anti-bullying campaign you’ve been so involved with over the last few years.  The message you’ve been sending is an important one and I know, having been involved in an event or two where you’ve also been in attendance, that young men and women in town need someone like you to stress to them the dangers of youth (and adult) bullying.

You might recall a few years back when I was involved in an event Ben Grubbs was holding and you were there, too, with a bunch of young boys and girls from the Police Athletic League.  I’ve seen a lot of athletes over the years engage with kids but your work that night was magical.  And real.

Don’t stop now.  Keep going, please.  The city needs you.  I know you have other issues — personal and professional — to get straightened out and please do that.  But once you’re back and your life is in balance again, continue that outstanding work you’ve been involved with over the last six years since you came to Baltimore. This community is in dire need of help — like most communities are these days — and people like you who put your heart and soul into it need to do more, not less.

This, now, is a great time for you to lean on God and your faith to help bring you through this and redeem yourself and your character.  There are two people at the Ravens facility you should seek out immediately, because they’ll both help you.  Go see Rod Hairston, the team chaplain, close the door to his office, and simply ask him “How can God help me get through this and make sure what happened in Atlantic City never happens again?”  Rod will give you some answers.  So, too, will God.  Go do the same thing with your head coach, John Harbaugh.  Ask him the same questions you ask Rod.  John’s an insightful man who’s deeply connected to his faith and he’ll give you some great guidance.

And finally, you need to take a deep, serious look at your alcohol use to determine if it’s becoming a problem.  If it is, seek help.  That’s simple.  And, I’m sure, it’s not the easiest thing to do to take that deep of a look at yourself and admit you’ve lost control of your ability to have a drink or two without it adversely affecting your decision making. But you must have that conversation with yourself and, if necessary, a professional with experience in alcohol and drug abuse to determine if you need help.  If you do, get it. No matter what you think, you can’t beat alcohol, if, in fact, you’ve reached the stage of not being able to control it.  Have that tough talk with yourself and move forward.

I wish you all the best in your legal situation and your personal relationship with your fiancee’.  I know you didn’t plan on this happening.  But it did.  Now, you need to deal with it and, as I wrote above, work your ass off to make sure it’s not your defining moment in Baltimore.

I know you’re better than what you showed in Atlantic City last weekend.

Now, please prove me right.

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Ravens lose coin flip to Dallas, will pick 17th in this year’s draft

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Ravens lose coin flip to Dallas, will pick 17th in this year’s draft

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Luke Jones

As the scouting combine begins in Indianapolis, the Ravens finally know where they’ll be picking in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

The league announced Wednesday morning that the Dallas Cowboys won the coin flip, meaning they will pick 16th in the first round while Baltimore will settle for the 17th overall selection in May.

After failing to make the playoffs for the first time in the John Harbaugh era this past season, the Ravens haven’t been slotted this high of a pick since 2008 when they were originally slotted to pick eighth overall before eventually trading back in the first round to select quarterback Joe Flacco with the 18th overall pick.

The Ravens haven’t made a pick in the top half of the draft since 2006 when they chose defensive tackle Haloti Ngata with the 12th overall selection.

The Ravens currently hold picks in the second, third and sixth rounds of the draft in addition to their first-round choice. They traded their fourth- and fifth-round picks last year to acquire left tackle Eugene Monroe from the Jacksonville Jaguars and traded their seventh-round selection to the Indianapolis Colts for offensive lineman A.Q. Shipley.

The team is expected to receive four compensatory picks in this year’s Draft as they lost a number of impact unrestricted free agents (cornerback Cary Williams, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, and safety Ed Reed) without signing any unrestricted free agents themselves. Compensatory picks will be assigned at next month’s NFL owners meetings.

The team holds the 16th pick in the second round, the 15th pick in the third round, and the 18th pick in the sixth round.

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Newsome says Rice remains in Ravens’ plans for 2014

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Newsome says Rice remains in Ravens’ plans for 2014

Posted on 17 February 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Monday he had yet to speak to Ray Rice following his weekend arrest in Atlantic City but added that the running back remains in the team’s plans for the 2014 season.

Addressing the media to announce a contract extension with outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, Newsome said that he continues to gather information regarding an alleged physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée Janay Parker that led to the pair being arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence. Newsome said that he or head coach John Harbaugh plans to speak to Rice within the next 24 hours.

According to a police statement, Rice and Parker struck each other with their hands and the incident was captured on video surveillance at the Revel Casino.

“When I left my office 20 minutes ago and John had probably been in there 15 minutes before then, Ray Rice was still a big part of what we plan to do in 2014,” Newsome said early Monday afternoon. “I don’t know the situation. I’ve only gotten what has been written. I have not had a chance to talk to Ray, [and] I have not had a chance to talk to [director of security Darren Sanders]. I really don’t know the situation. With me, I get all the answers, then that’s when we make decisions within this organization — once we get all the information we can get.”

Rice and Parker both refused medical treatment on the scene and were released after being given a summons to appear in court.

The seventh-year back is scheduled to make a $4 million base salary and carries an $8.75 million cap number for the 2014 season. However, the Ravens wouldn’t have any flexibility from a cap standpoint should they want to part ways with Rice as the accelerated cap hit would be greater than the space he currently commands this season.

A Ravens team official released the following statement Sunday night after the news had been initially broken:

“We are aware of the Friday night situation with Ray Rice and his fiancée. We have spoken with Ray and know that they returned home together after being detained.”

 

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Harbaugh says pedigree as player, coaching experience reasons for Engram hire

Posted on 11 February 2014 by WNST Staff

ENGRAM HIRED AS RAVENS WIDE RECEIVERS COACH

The Baltimore Ravens have hired Bobby Engram as their wide receivers coach, head coach John Harbaugh announced Tuesday morning.

Entering his fourth-overall season of coaching, Engram spent the past two years (2012-13) as wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh. He began his coaching career as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. Prior to becoming a coach, Engram, 41, produced a 14-year playing career as a wideout with the Chicago Bears (1996-2000), Seattle Seahawks (2001-08) and Kansas City Chiefs (2009).

“When you combine Bobby’s NFL pedigree as a player and his coaching experience, you see why we’re excited to add him to our staff,” Harbaugh stated. “He comes highly recommended, he did an outstanding job at San Francisco and Pitt, and he’s an impressive person. He’ll help our receivers and our offense become better.”

In 2013, Engram guided a Pitt receiving corps that was led by true freshman Tyler Boyd, who earned second-team All-ACC honors and set school marks for receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,174) by a freshman. Both records were formerly held by current Arizona Cardinals standout Larry Fitzgerald. Senior Devin Street completed his Panthers career in 2013 after setting school marks in all-time receptions (202) and finishing third in receiving yards (2,901).

In his first season with Pittsburgh (2012), Engram guided wide receivers Mike Shanahan (62 receptions for 983 yards) and Devin Street (73-975), who each garnered All-Big East honors in the same season, marking the first such occurrence in school history.

As an offensive assistant with the 49ers in 2011, Engram was part of a team that earned its first NFC West title in nine seasons and reached the NFC Championship game.

“What an opportunity to join a team that has won, knows how to win and does all it can to make sure they continue to win,” Engram said. “I’m ready to be part of that and ready to work.”

Selected out of Penn State in the second round (52nd overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft by Chicago, Engram appeared in 176 career games (113 starts), recording 650 receptions for 7,751 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also played in nine career playoff games, including an appearance in Super Bowl XL with Seattle. He was the Seahawks’ Ed Block Courage Award recipient in 2005.

Engram is one of the most productive and decorated receivers in Penn State history. A three-time All-American and three-time All-Big Ten selection, he helped the Nittany Lions produce a 31-5 record from 1992-95. In 1994, Engram recorded 52 receptions for 1,029 yards en route to earning the inaugural Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver.

A native of Camden, S.C., Engram graduated from Penn State in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science. Bobby and his wife, Deanna, have two daughters, Bobbi and Phoebe, and two sons, Dean and Trey.

COACHING BACKGROUND

Years                  College/Pro Team                         Position
2011                    San Francisco 49ers                       Offensive Assistant
2012-13              University of Pittsburgh              Wide Receivers
2014                    Baltimore Ravens                           Wide Receivers

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Engram reportedly to join Hammock to complete Ravens’ offensive staff

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Engram reportedly to join Hammock to complete Ravens’ offensive staff

Posted on 06 February 2014 by Luke Jones

On the same day the Ravens made the hiring of new running backs coach Thomas Hammock official, it appears that head coach John Harbaugh has taken the final step to complete his coaching staff for the 2014 season.

Former NFL wide receiver and current University of Pittsburgh assistant Bobby Engram is set to become the Ravens’ new wide receivers coach, according to Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com. Engram would be replacing the departed Jim Hostler, who accepted a position with the Buffalo Bills last week after he did not receive Baltimore’s offensive coordinator job that went to Gary Kubiak.

Engram spent 14 years playing in the NFL before spending the 2011 season with the San Francisco 49ers and head coach Jim Harbaugh, who presumably gave him an endorsement in speaking to his older brother. A record-setting receiver at Penn State, Engram spent the last two years as Pitt’s wide receivers coach.

Spending time with Chicago, Seattle, and Kansas City in his professional career, Engram amassed more than 7,500 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns.

The Ravens officially announced Thursday that they’d hired Hammock, who has 11 years of collegiate coaching experience and spent the last three seasons as the University of Wisconsin’s running backs coach and assistant head coach. Hammock previously spent time coaching the running backs at the University of Minnesota (2007-2010) as well as at Northern Illinois (2005-2006), his alma mater.

“Take a look at Thomas’ college resume,” Harbaugh said in a team statement. “It’s impressive, and it’s clear he can teach, coach, and help players become better. He’s an impressive person, and we’re looking forward to seeing him coach our players.”

During Hammock’s three seasons as the Badgers’ running backs coach, they ranked third nationally in rushing yards per attempt (5.7), fourth in rushing touchdowns (121), and seventh overall in rushing yards per game (251.1), with each category also leading the Big Ten during this span.

Hammock’s most famous pupil was 2013 second-round pick Montee Ball, who won the 2012 Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back and set the NCAA all-time record for rushing touchdowns (77). With Ball off to the NFL to play for the Denver Broncos last season, Hammock guided senior James White and sophomore Melvin Gordon to rush for a combined 3,053 yards, an NCAA single-season record for a pair of teammates.

“The opportunity to coach at the highest level excites me,” Hammock said. “To come to an organization that is committed to winning and has a coaching staff that is so respected is a tremendous opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting started. Working with coach Harbaugh, learning the offense and working with coach Kubiak, and then coaching these outstanding Ravens players, is special.”

Engram and Hammock will join Kubiak, quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison, and tight ends coach Brian Pariani as new additions to Harbaugh’s coaching staff this season. Senior defensive assistant Steve Spagnuolo was appointed as the new secondary coach to replace Teryl Austin, who became the new defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions last month.

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