Tag Archive | "Manti Te’o"

Business about to pick up as Ravens brass travels to NFL scouting combine

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Business about to pick up as Ravens brass travels to NFL scouting combine

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Luke Jones

After only a couple weeks to set offseason priorities and plans following their win in Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens realize business is about to pick up as the shapers of the organization travel to Indianapolis for the NFL’s scouting combine.

Most teams will be focused primarily on scouting the incoming rookie class ahead of April’s draft and holding informal discussions — don’t dare call these talks tampering, however — with the agents of soon-to-be free agents, but the Ravens hold the clearest and most important task of any team in Indianapolis. General manager Ozzie Newsome and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty are set to meet with quarterback Joe Flacco’s agent for their first contract negotiations since last August. Joe Linta has expressed a desire for his client to become the highest-paid quarterback in the league and is reportedly seeking upwards of $20 million per season.

As unlikely as it is that the sides come to an agreement on a long-term contract this weekend in Indianapolis, it will be important to see progress made from the point where talks broke down prior to last season. The first real deadline on which to be focused is March 4, the last day the Ravens are allowed to place the franchise tag on Flacco for the 2013 season. Should the Ravens be forced to use the $14.6 non-exclusive tag or the exclusive one estimated to cost $20 million or more for a one-year tender, they will be faced with making a number of roster cuts to be in compliance with the salary cap by the start of the new league year on March 12.

While Flacco’s side is likely willing to be creative in structuring a deal to quell cap concerns for the 2013 season, Linta made it clear a couple weeks ago that it’s not his client’s obligation to take a hometown discount to bail the Ravens out of trouble.

“There are a lot of teams in the same boat; the Ravens aren’t the only ones with cap problems,” Linta said on AM 1570 WNST.net earlier this month. “Whether it’s Joe or any of the other free agents who are upcoming, they have to figure out how to do it. Every time you’re a cap manager like Ozzie and Pat are, you have to come up with a puzzle that works for you.”

As Moriarty’s focus will largely be on making substantial strides in order to lock up the Super Bowl MVP for the long haul, the rest of the organization will be consumed with 40-yard dash times, bench-press reps, medical exams, and interviews with countless draft prospects. And considering their tenuous cap position and how it will hinder their ability to be overly active in free agency, the Ravens will depend on April’s draft as much as ever to replenish the voids left by departing members of their Super Bowl championship team.

Te’o talk

No draft prospect will be under more scrutiny in the coming days than Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, who claimed to be the victim of an online hoax that’s drawn an overwhelming amount of attention for the better part of a month. He will be peppered with questions about the story of his nonexistent girlfriend and must test well to put himself back in position to be a top-15 pick.

It’s no secret that the Ravens will be looking at the inside linebacker position due to the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, the uncertain status of free-agent linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, and the health of Jameel McClain after he suffered a spinal cord contusion in December. Te’o has been deemed a logical fit by many draft analysts who have linked him to the Ravens at the 32nd overall pick in mock drafts. It is believed that the Ravens are impressed with the 255-pound linebacker’s ability despite his poor showing in the BCS national championship game against Alabama last month.

As is the case with any player dealing with off-field issues, it’s critical for teams to draw a definitive assessment of his ability on the field before even contemplating taking the time and resources to investigate whether they can tolerate the baggage that will accompany Te’o. His is an unprecedented case as issues of trust and whether the young linebacker will be resilient enough to deal with the intense scrutiny in the months and years to come must be strongly considered.

If the Ravens are convinced the Heisman Trophy runner-up is fast enough to go sideline to sideline — his 40 time will be a major point of interest for teams — and strong enough to take on offensive linemen in the NFL, they will do their homework on his character to determine whether he’s a realistic option at the No. 32 spot. If not, they will turn to other prospects at the position.

Another inside linebacker dealing with off-field baggage is Georgia’s Alec Ogletree, who was arrested earlier this month for DUI. Ogletree excelled at a number of positions for the Bulldogs and is considered exceptional in pass coverage, but his off-field issues — he was also suspended four games last season for failing a drug test during spring practice — may send him down the draft board, making him a possibility at the end of the first round. The questions associated with Te’o and Ogletree may benefit the Ravens, who would have figured to have no chance for either player under regular circumstances.

Other inside linebacker prospects that could be options in the first few rounds include LSU’s Kevin Minter, Oregon’s Kiko Alonso, and Alabama’s Nico Johnson, who will not participate at the combine after undergoing sports hernia surgery following the Senior Bowl.

Addressing the blind side

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Players the Ravens could draft in the first round

Posted on 10 February 2013 by jeffreygilley

While the draft is 70 plus days away it’s never too early to predict what player the Ravens could draft in the first round. The Ravens have many needs so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ozzie Newsome trade out of the first round like he has done so many times before.

Here are several players that I think the Ravens will have the opportunity to draft in the first round.

Manti Te’o: linebacker, Notre Dame.
What a season for Te’o. He had a career year and was a Heisman finalist. But as we all know, his draft stock has collapsed because of the fake girlfriend hoax and his poor performance in the national championship.

It would be difficult to see Te’o falling all the way to pick 32. Pittsburgh has the 17th pick in the draft and the Steelers have a need at inside linebacker. Other teams in the 20’s that have a need at inside linebacker include the Chicago Bears at 20, the Bengals at 21, and the Packers at 26.

If none of these teams select Te’o, the possibility of Te’o suiting up for the Ravens in 2013 is a real possibility.

Like all draft prospects with character issues, Te’o could be a good fit with the Ravens because of the leadership within the locker room.

Arthur Brown: linebacker, Kansas State.
Brown is one of the more versatile defenders in this draft. Despite his size – 6’1” 228 pounds – Brown is a complete linebacker with exceptional speed. Obviously, that speed translates to his pass coverage ability, which is above average.

Brown would be a good fit because his speed allows him to run sideline-to-sideline and make plays. If the Ravens lose their best coverage linebacker, Dannell Ellerbe to free agency, Brown’s pass coverage ability would become that much more valuable.

Tavon Austin: wide receiver, West Virginia.
If you are going to pay Joe Flacco, why not give him toys to play with? Austin is the ultimate weapon because he can play multiple roles in an offense.

Austin is a poor man’s Percy Harvin. He did a little bit of everything at West Virginia, including contributions on special teams. Austin would make the Ravens offense much more versatile, and would be a much more attractive option to the Ravens if Anquan Boldin is cut.

Kevin Minter: linebacker, LSU
Minter is one of my favorite players in the draft. While he lacks elite athleticism, he is adequate in pass coverage and excels against the run.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson is what pushed Minter into a first round projection. Minter finished with 19 total tackles and when he wasn’t making a tackle, he was somewhere around the ball.

Minter would be a great fit for the Ravens but with so many teams having a need at inside linebacker, Minter might not make it to pick 32 in the first round.

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ny daily nes

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Te’o Lied, Sports Journalism Failed

Posted on 23 January 2013 by Brett Dickinson

So the story is the craziest, EVER, in sports history.  Manti Te’o met a girl online, spoke with her on the phone every night, while she first recovered from a car accident, and then struggled with Leukemia.  Te’o’s grandmother passes, only to hear hours later that Lennay Kekua, his “girlfriend,” lost in her fight to cancer as well, on the same day.  Te’o went on to have the one of the greatest season of all-time at Linebacker, came in second for the Heisman Trophy and led Notre Dame to a National Championship appearance.  Great story, not 100% true; which leads to an even greater story.

Let’s all be honest, nobody was hurt from this story, no one broke the law, no one died (well in real life at least).  Yet sports journalists attached themselves to this story, condemned a 22 year old kid and questioned everything from his future, his integrity to his sexuality.  No one would believe that this story could possibly be real, that Te’o was that naïve, that he did not do this for publicity.

Well, as more evidence has been revealed, we now know that Te’o did not have involvement in the hoax and was actually the victim in “someone’s sick joke (his own words).”  Roniah Tuiasosopo admitted to creating the scam, apologizing to basically everyone he directly involved.  Jeremy Schaap, probably the world’s greatest sports investigative journalist, sat down with Te’o and was convinced by his side of the story.  And now Te’o has not only shown physical evidence to Schaap (text messages, Facebook messages, and tweets) but has given up his phone records to prove the thousands of hours he spent on the phone with “Kekua.”

This is not an unprecedented event; if the Catfish documentary (and now MTV show) has taught the world anything, it’s not to trust anyone on the internet.  This same situation occurs every day to mass amounts a people in all walks of life.  So when sports journalists basically called Te’o a dumbass, they insulted thousands of people who live with the same stress and embarrassment.

Now for those who are angry that Te’o lied and exaggerated the truth about a relationship with a female.  Well, then you must have been cut off from society for I don’t know, FOREVER, because everyone has stretched the truth at some point of their life in regards to the opposite sex. He continued the lie because he did not know how to handle disappointing an entire fan base of not just Notre Dame, but football in general.  At 22, no one can say they were mature enough to deal with that kind of scrutiny.

And while you are busy questioning Te’o’s integrity and trust, real life scumbags play each and every week, in every sport.  There are thousands of stories the public let slide, by all athletes and celebrities, but the lies Te’o continued is where the line is crossed.  This NFL season, players on several respected organizations, which many question whether he could be trusted to play beside, have been found as criminals on a regular basis, yet garner less attention combined, than Te’o, the past couple weeks.

Terrell Suggs drug his girlfriend down the street by her hair, in his car, in front of their children (this was after he dumped bleach on her in 2009); that story was not trending on Twitter.  Jay Ratliff and Michael Turner both received DWI’s (that’s the more serious offense for being wasted while driving), when the NFL supplies a driving service for all its members, including players (a story we here about every year).  Or when was the last time you heard the name Josh Brent; the Cowboys Defensive Lineman charged with manslaughter after driving drunk and killing his own teammate.  How many Facebook posts were made about that? Dez Bryant was charged with assault after slapping/hitting his own mother, yet was praised for maturing in his third season.  Michael Crabtree was just charged last Thursday for sexual assault; haven’t heard anything about the story since the 49ers made the Super Bowl.

Yet Te’o is the one that does not belong on an NFL roster.  He lied about what he knew and when he knew it; by far the greatest crime in humanity.  It is an absolute, if you asked any of those criminals about their situations; they may throw a couple of lies in their story too.

So in the end, I blame sports journalism for their lack of integrity in what has transpired with this entire story.  They blew up the story in the first place (Peter Thamel of Sports Illustrated), without probably checking sources; Te’o didn’t go running to the presses with his personal life.  And when Deadspin.com properly reported the twists in this tale, sports journalists were the first to again judge, without knowing the facts. It is time to not only get the priorities straight in this business, but start becoming accountable for the work not only in print but in social media as well.  Grow up sports journalism, grow up.

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The 15-7-0 is made up of 60% water, 40% leftover turkey and cranberry relish

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The 15-7-0 is made up of 60% water, 40% leftover turkey and cranberry relish

Posted on 26 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

As always, this week’s 15-7-0 is brought to you by Roofing By Elite. Visit them at roofingbyelite.com. We make 15 observations about football that are ELITE, 7 that are “not so ELITE” and one “zero” who deserves to sleep on the roof from outside of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens game analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

Here we go.

“The Elite 15″…

1. I have to assume that at this point they don’t need to keep trying to wake up the echoes in South Bend.

Remember when the Trojans were down two scores late and went for it on 4th down anyway? I bet that worked out well…

I can’t tell if Fighting Irish LB (and likely Heisman Trophy finalist) Manti Te’o was excited about the win, though…

Also, what do you think Lane Kiffin was thinking here…

Of course, the Trojans are NEVER losers…

2. Now that Jay Cutler has returned to save the Chicago Bears’ season, we can all get back to talking about how much Jay Cutler sucks.

He’s unlikeable, but he’s a hell of a QB…

Back to that “unlikeable” thing. Ask AJ Jefferson…

J’Marcus Webb might disagree though…

3. Jesus. Weren’t the Bengals just completely dead a couple weeks ago?

Mohamed Sanu had a busy day (on my fantasy football bench)…

Credit to NFL Red Zone’s Scott Hanson-who saw Raiders DL Tommy Kelly in a fight and IMMEDIATELY noticed he was a doppelganger for Suge Knight…

4. There might be a LITTLE bit of drama headed to New York this year, but I’m pretty confident Johnny Manziel has locked up the Heisman Trophy.

His big game Saturday against Missouri happened AFTER Johnny Football overcame this troublesome looking injury…

Manziel will finally speak to the media for the first time Monday. He’ll have to play catch up to the all out blitz the Irish have gone through with Te’o…

5. Now Alabama plays Georgia next week for the right to be favored to win the BCS Championship Game.

Georgia’s Alec Ogletree prepared for the SEC Championship showdown by going all Kurt Angle on Georgia Tech…

Elsewhere in the SEC, I give you Jarvis Landry!

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The 15-7-0 is Big Ten bound too…unless someone else offers even more money

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The 15-7-0 is Big Ten bound too…unless someone else offers even more money

Posted on 19 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

As always, this week’s 15-7-0 is brought to you by Roofing By Elite. Visit them at roofingbyelite.com. We make 15 observations about football that are ELITE, 7 that are “not so ELITE” and one “zero” who deserves to sleep on the roof from outside of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens game analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

Here we go.

“The Elite 15″…

1. Johnny Manziel is going to win the Heisman Trophy. If only someone had been able to warn you that was going to happe….oh wait!

But that doesn’t explain why Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin let Johnny Football try an extra point. NOTHING will ever explain that…

Elsewhere in the SEC, Les Miles did this…

2. Quick. Name two receivers in the NFL right now that are DEFINITELY better than AJ Green.

I almost refuse to believe this was real…

Also, good luck stopping Jermaine Gresham…

Here’s Matt Cassel hilariously rushing downfield to spike the ball despite the fact the clock wasn’t moving…

Also…this is tragic…and hilarious?

3. Of course, one of those that MIGHT still be better than Green is Andre Johnson.

Exhibit A…

The Ravens REALLY liked Jags receiver Cecil Shorts III in the draft. I’m understanding why more and more…

Also, Danieal Manning is NOT going to want to see this again…

And Paul Posluszny’s bloody face is excellent…

4. While your team is busy worrying about their conference, Notre Dame is busy playing for a national championship.

Hate the Irish but love Manti Te’o? You’re just like the rest of the country, Steve. This moment in South Bend Saturday was pretty flipping awesome…

No Matt Barkley for USC in Notre Dame’s season finale. They’ll see you in Miami.

5. I’m happy Navy won Saturday and all, but I’m INFURIATED a visit from Texas State didn’t include Kathy Ireland.

Which would have been SO much better…

Unfortunately I didn’t see the Navy motivational video from this week posted anywhere. But I did see AWESOME new helmets…

(Continued on Page 2…)

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