Tag Archive | "National Football League"

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Harbaugh to be honored with Civilian Service Award

Posted on 22 May 2012 by WNST Staff

On Wednesday, May 23, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno will present Outstanding Civilian Service Awards during a program honoring those who have passionately supported the U.S. Army. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh will receive one of the distinct honors.

The citation that will be presented to Harbaugh by Gen. Odierno, the Chief of Staff of the Army, will read:

“For outstanding service to the United States Army, Soldiers, families, veterans and military communities. Your visit to Iraq and your initiatives to show thanks to service members for their service through appreciation days, opportunities to attend Baltimore Ravens practices and games and to meet team members have improved morale and created a sense of pride and appreciation among our servicemen and women. Through your visits to military installations, you have increased morale, inspired leadership and created a mutual sense of respect and appreciation between the U.S. Army and the National Football League. Your voluntary efforts to purchase, package and send care packages around the world have had direct, positive impacts on our deployed Soldiers living in austere conditions. Your selfless, outstanding contributions have improved the health and readiness of the United States Army.”

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Rice, Suggs In Running For Madden 13 Cover

Posted on 08 March 2012 by WNST Staff

EA SPORTS AND ESPN’S SPORTSNATION KICK OFF MADDEN NFL 13 COVER ATHLETE FAN VOTE

This Year’s Campaign Expands to 64 Players – With Play-In Round Featuring Two Athletes

From Each NFL Team Represented in Head-to-Head Matchups

March 7, 2012 – EA SPORTS™ and ESPN announced today the return of the award-winning Madden NFL Cover Vote campaign, where fans can cast their vote for the next athlete to grace the cover of one of the highest-selling videogame franchises in North America. Last year, nearly 13 million votes were cast through ESPNSportsNation.com and ESPN mobile in both companies’ most successful cross-platform activation. Tenth-seeded Cleveland Browns running back, Peyton Hillis, trucked through the six week competition all the way to the ultimate end zone – the Madden NFL 12 cover.

This year’s competition will incorporate more athletes and more chances to vote as the field has been expanded to 64 NFL players, putting even more control in the hands of the fans. Beginning today through March 21, fans can visit the SportsNation Facebook page to choose among the 64 candidates in a play-in round (each matchup features two players from the same NFL team) to advance to the official 32-player, seeded tournament.  The winners of the play-in round will be unveiled with the official seeded, 32-player bracket on March 21 on ESPN’s “Madden Cover Vote Special” from 5-6p.m. EST.  To ensure their favorite player advances to the next round, fans are encouraged to vote daily and tweet their picks using #MyMaddenCoverVote on Twitter.  Every Wednesday between March 21 and April 25, fans can tune into SportsNation on ESPN2at 5p.m. EST to check out the latest Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote standings.

In addition to the SportsNation Facebook page, fans will be able to vote in the play-in round via the open Web through widgets embedded on blogs, websites and more.  Each widget features an individual match-up for each of the 32 total teams in the league.  For the cover vote from March 21-April 25, all voting must be cast at ESPN.com/MaddenVote.

The star-studded list of candidates participating in the play-in round features past Super Bowl winners, perennial Pro Bowlers and some of the most popular players in the NFL including Drew Brees, Arian Foster and Rob Gronkowski. The full list of matchups featured in the play-in round are:

AFC

Ravens Terrell Suggs vs. Ray Rice Jets Mark Sanchez vs. Darrelle Revis
Steelers Troy Polamalu vs. Ben Roethlisberger Bills Stevie Johnson vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick
Browns Joe Thomas vs. Joe Haden Dolphins Reggie Bush vs. Brandon Marshall
Bengals Andy Dalton vs. AJ Green Patriots Wes Welker vs. Rob Gronkowski
Texans Arian Foster vs. Andre Johnson Chargers Phillip Rivers vs. Antonio Gates
Colts Dwight Freeney vs. Robert Mathis Broncos Tim Tebow vs. Von Miller
Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Blaine Gabbert Chiefs Dwayne Bowe vs. Derrick Johnson
Titans Jake Locker vs. Chris Johnson Raiders Sebastian Janikowski vs. Shane Lechler

NFC

Bears Jay Cutler vs. Matt Forte Rams Chris Long vs. Brandon Lloyd
Lions Calvin Johnson vs. Matt Stafford 49ers Vernon Davis vs. Patrick Willis
Vikings Percy Harvin vs. Jared Allen Seahawks Marshawn Lynch vs. Earl Thomas
Packers Aaron Rodgers vs. Clay Matthews Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald vs. Patrick Peterson
Falcons Matt Ryan vs. Julio Jones Eagles Michael Vick vs. LeSean McCoy
Saints Drew Brees vs. Jimmy Graham Giants Victor Cruz vs. Jason Pierre-Paul
Panthers Cam Newton vs. Steve Smith Cowboys Jason Witten vs. DeMarcus Ware
Buccaneers Josh Freeman vs. LeGarrette Blount Redskins Brian Orakpo vs. Ryan Kerrigan

The Madden NFL 13 cover vote marks the third-consecutive year that EA SPORTS has asked fans to help shape the face of the Madden NFL franchise through a cover athlete voting campaign.  It also marks the second year of its collaboration with ESPN’s SportsNation.

Madden NFL 13 is developed in Orlando, Florida by EA Tiburon.  For more information about Madden NFL 13, please visit: http://www.ea.com/madden-nfl. To download assets pertaining to the Madden NFL 13 please visit http://maddennfl13.newslinevine.com.

All player participation has been facilitated by National Football League Players Incorporated, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association.

EA SPORTS™ is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions and breakthrough digital experiences. EA SPORTS delivers experiences that ignite the emotions of sport through industry-leading sports simulation videogames, including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA basketball, NCAA® Football, Fight Night boxing, EA SPORTS MMA and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf, and EA SPORTS Active.

For more information about EA SPORTS, including news, video, blogs, forums and game apps, please visit www.easports.com to connect, share and compete.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 100 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.

In fiscal 2011, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at http://info.ea.com.

EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS Active, The Sims and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Mass Effect is a trademark of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd.  Battlefield is a trademark of EA Digital Illusions CE AB.  John Madden, NFL, FIFA, NHL, NBA, NCAA, Tiger Woods, and PGA TOUR are trademarks of their respective owners and used with permission.  Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Officially Licensed Product of National Football League Players Incorporated.

About SportsNation

SportsNation is a live sports television show born from the Internet, fueled by fan interaction and focused on fun.  The show, which has the youngest and most male audience on the ESPN network, features discussions of the day’s hottest sports topics but also smaller stories that generate buzz on the Web but are overlooked by other shows.  Feeding off the theory that if two heads are better than one, 200,000 heads are better than two, SportsNation engages hundreds of thousands of sports fans across the country via ESPN.com’s SportsNation page (http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/).

About ESPN Games and EA

ESPN’s long-standing relationship with EA produces deep brand integrations into console gaming titles such as EA SPORTS NCAA Football 12 and Fight Night Champion.  Additionally, the relationship in 2011 produced the biggest ESPN poll vote ever for the Madden NFL 12 cover vote, logging nearly 13 million votes, the most ESPN votes ever for a joint collaboration.  The Emmy award-winning EA Virtual Playbook also most recently extended to boxing and golf in 2011.

###

PLAY-IN ROUND VOTING THRU FACEBOOK & OPEN WEB

Thanks for your interest in SportsNation’s Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote.

EA Sports and ESPN’s SportsNation have chosen two players from each NFL team to be included in a social play-in round for the Madden NFL 13 cover.

Starting March 7th on SportsNation’s Facebook page and on voting matchups called ‘sapplets’ or ‘widgets’ embedded across open web (info below), fans will be able to vote on matchups from each NFL team to send one representative into the final bracket of 32 players at ESPN.com/MaddenVote on March 21st.

If you choose to embed one of the 32 individual voting ‘sapplets’, you can use the next page that includes all 32 embed codes for all 32 NFL teams. They post to your site much like a YouTube clip and can increase time spent on your site as well as traffic by generating debate about matchups.

The social Play-in vote launches on Wednesday, March 7th and closes two week later on Wednesday, March 21st. The Facebook tab and voting ‘sapplets’ will be live during those two weeks.

CHEAT SHEET:

WAY TO EMBED:

  • Go to page 2. Find your team.
  • Copy the embed code.
  • Paste the embed code onto your website where you would embed a YouTube clip.
  • The voting platform is ready and interactive on your page!
  • Please Note: do NOT embed on Tumblr and do NOT change the height & width

Canvas

NEW embed Code

49ers Vote

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Chiefs Vote

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Broncos Vote

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Chargers Vote

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Raiders Vote

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Cardinals Vote

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Rams Vote

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Seahawks Vote

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Dolphins Vote

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Jets Vote

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Bills Vote

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Patriots Vote

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Giants Vote

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Redskins Vote

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Eagles Vote

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Cowboys Vote

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Texans Vote

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Colts Vote

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Titans Vote

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Jaguars Vote

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Falcons Vote

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Panthers Vote

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Buccaneers Vote

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Saints Vote

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Browns Vote

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Ravens Vote

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Bengals Vote

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Steelers Vote

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Vikings Vote

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Lions Vote

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Bears Vote

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Packers Vote

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Letters From Sylvia Mackey, Sandra Unitas Address Forgotten Widows

Posted on 06 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Letters Taken From FourthAndGoalUnites.com…

My husband played 18 years in the National Football League – 17 seasons with the Baltimore Colts and one with the San Diego Chargers.

My husband completed 2,830 passes for more than 40,000 yards and 290 touchdowns during his NFL career. He threw at least one touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games – an NFL record that still stands today.

My husband was honored as the league’s Player of the Year three times. He was named All-Pro six times and selected for the Pro Bowl 10 times.

My husband was the quarterback of the 1958 NFL Championship Game – the first “sudden death” playoff game – that launched the nearly 54-year lucrative partnership between the league and television.

My husband suffered numerous injuries during his NFL career, including a broken nose, punctured lung, damaged knees, a shattered knuckle, ligament and ulnar nerve damage to his right arm, and broken ribs. He played through many of those injuries and, years later, when he lost the use of his right hand due to a football injury, the league he loved and the union he supported denied him disability benefits.

My husband worked diligently to protect not only himself and his family, but also his teammates and their families. A team leader on and off the field, my husband was greatly concerned about those who couldn’t afford health insurance following their NFL careers.

My husband chose the pension option that would continue following his death, to ensure that I would be covered. Recently I learned that I – along with more than 300 other widows of retired players who were receiving their pensions and died prior to August 4, 2011 – am excluded from the Legacy Benefit.

My husband – like so many pioneers of the league – helped build the league and the union. While the league has offered assurances that they will rectify the situation, the union has remained silent.

My husband would be appalled.

Sandra Unitas, widow of NFL Hall of Fame QB John Unitas

Comments (1)

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Original Baltimore Colts Charter, Unitas Super Bowl V Ring Sold at Saturday Auction

Posted on 04 February 2012 by WNST Staff

EXTON, PA—February 4th, 2012— An anonymous bidder paid $46,000 for a 2011 game used Tom Brady jersey at The Super Bowl XLVI Live Auction in Indianapolis Saturday tripling the presale estimated value. Hunt Auctions had estimated the jersey’s value at $10,000-$15,000 prior to the sale. The jersey was worn by New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady during the October 16th, 2011 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

“The record price for the Tom Brady jersey illustrates the appreciation for high quality game used items relating to the premier players in the game today. Hunt Auctions is honored to have once again partnered with NFL Auction to bring the very best of football memorabilia to fans and collectors across the country,” said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions.

In addition to the Brady jersey other top bids in the auction included the certificate of membership to the NFL given to the Baltimore Colts in 1953 which sold for $34,500, a Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts 1970 Super Bowl V championship ring which sold for $14,375 and a 2003 Carolina Panthers NFC Championship ring which realized $10,436. Also impressive in today’s auction was a 2011 Denver Broncos Tim Tebow game used jersey which also tripled the presale estimate of $2,000-$4,000 selling at $14,950.

In it’s 4th year, The Super Bowl XLVI Live Auction is an annual event produced by Hunt Auctions, in partnership with NFL Auction and the NFL Players. A portion of the auction proceeds benefit NFL Charities.

The final selling prices of all the auction items is available online at www.huntauctions.com.

AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE: 

Tom Brady game worn New England Patriots jersey (Presale estimate $10,000-$15,000) SALE PRICE $46,000

Baltimore Colts Certificate of Membership to the NFL c. 1953 (Presale estimated $20,000-$40,000) SALE PRICE $34,500.00

October 23, 2011 Tim Tebow autographed game worn Denver Broncos jersey. (Estimated Price $2,000-$4,000) SALE PRICE $14,950

Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts 1970 Super Bowl V Champions 10K gold ring (salesman’s sample). SALE PRICE $14,375

2003 Carolina Panthers NFC Championship 14K gold ring (Player’s ring). SALE PRICE $10,436

Ben Roethlisberger autographed game worn Pittsburgh Steelers jersey with 9/11 patch. SALE PRICE $10,102.75

ABOUT HUNT AUCTIONS: Exton, Pennsylvania based Hunt Auctions has been a leader in the sports memorabilia auction industry for close to two decades. Numerous former players and their families have trusted their collections with Hunt Auctions including Joe DiMaggio (HOF), Whitey Ford (HOF), Curt Flood, Leo Durocher (HOF), Robin Roberts (HOF), Earl Weaver (HOF), Commissioner Bowie Kuhn (HOF), Clem Labine, Mickey Vernon, Jake Pitler, Thurman Munson, Roy Campanella (HOF), Bucky Walters, Walter Johnson (HOF), Bill McKechnie (HOF), Willie Mosconi, and Norm Van Brocklin (HOF). Hunt Auctions is also the Official Auction Company of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and the Official Auctioneer of Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest. Hunt Auctions has worked with numerous institutions to include: The National Football League, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Chicago Bulls, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, and Baseball Assistance Team.

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Source: Maryland to Hire Houston DC Stewart To Same Post

Posted on 16 January 2012 by WNST Staff

A source with knowledge of the situation tells WNST.net the University of Maryland will hire Brian Stewart to fill their vacant Defensive Coordinator position. The school agreed to a buyout with Todd Bradford last week, he served as DC last year during head coach Randy Edsall’s first season in College Park.

The hiring was first reported by the Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart.

Stewart spent the past two seasons in the same position at the University of Houston. He spent the 2009 season on Andy Reid’s staff with the Philadelphia Eagles and spent the two years before that as the Defensive Coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Previous National Football League coaching experience includes time as the secondary coach for the San Diego Chargers (2004-2006) and as assistant Defensive Backs coach with the Houston Texans (2002-2003).

Prior to joining the Cougars, Stewart had college coaching experience as a defensive assistant on the staffs at Syracuse (2001), Missouri (1996, 1999-2000), San Jose State (1997-1998) and as an offensive assistant at Northern Arizona (1995) and Cal Poly (1993-1994).

Stewart is originally from San Diego, California and played college football at NAU.

The Terrapins also made a change at Offensive Coordinator following their 2-10 campaign. Gary Crowton left the program and was replaced by former New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley.

More information on this story as it becomes available.

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Ravens Announce Death of Former OT Orlando “Zeus” Brown

Posted on 23 September 2011 by WNST Staff

Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh announced Friday that former OT Orlando “Zeus” Brown died at the age of 40.

No immediate details about the cause of death were available.

Brown played for the Ravens from 1996-1998 and again from 2003-2005. His National Football League career also included two stints with the Cleveland Browns (1993-1995 and 1999-2000). Brown was born in Washington, DC and played college football at South Carolina State.

His NFL career included a three year hiatus after an incident where he was hit in the eye by a penalty flag in 1999. Referee Jeff Triplette accidentally hit Brown with the flag during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Brown sued the NFL over the incident and received a reported $25 million settlement.

After his NFL career, Brown opened a Fatburger franchise in the Maryland suburbs of DC. He was a longtime resident of the Harborview community in downtown Baltimore. He owned an outsized custom built monster truck, which was a ubiquitous sight throughout Charm City.

WNST.net’s Luke Jones reports that no foul play is suspected in Brown’s death, but the investigation is ongoing.

Ravens LB Terrell Suggs said “he was a beast on the field and a great friend off it. It’s a shame he had to leave us so young” according to the team’s official Twitter account.

As more details are available we will report them on-air (AM1570 WNST), online (WNST.net) and via Twitter (@WNST).

Here are statements from several members of the Ravens family:

Executive Vice President and General Manager Ozzie Newsome

“There was no better friend, no one more loyal than Zeus was to his teammates and those in the Ravens. If he felt that you respected him, that you were willing to teach him or showed him care, you had a loyal friend for eternity. Loyalty is one of the first words I think when Zeus pops in my mind.

“As a player, he came in very raw, but he had a lot of physical ability, that size, and he was naturally strong – and got stronger with his hard work. He had one of the greatest work ethics I’ve ever seen in a player. He was tireless in his passion to become a player. He loved being part of the team.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh

“I want to give our heart-felt condolences to the family of Orlando Brown – to his three sons. I think everybody knows what he meant to this organization, to this team and to the Ravens. He’s still a big part of us. He’s been coming around a lot, working with some of our young players, and we’re forever grateful just for everything he did for the Ravens organization. What he did for the present team, that’s just who he is as a person and who he’s been. I just can’t express our sorrow enough, on behalf of our team and our organization, for his loss today.”

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick

“Orlando will always be one of my favorites. I just told a story about him at our production meeting [with FOX-TV] last week. He brought such passion and physicality to practices and games. There is no way to quantify his heart, his actual love to play football. The game was so important to him. This is such sad news. He was bigger than life. You just feel for his family right now.”

LB Ray Lewis

“I just saw him a few days ago. He’s one of the greatest men I know – really a gentle giant away from the game. He was the original Raven. He set the tone for how we were going to play tough and physical, backing down from no opponent. When you heard his voice on the field, you knew things were going to be all right. He would say: ‘Keep playing. Keep fighting. Do it for us. Do it for your teammates. “Lew,” “Lew,” keep it up!’ I can almost hear that voice right now. And, oh, how he loved his sons. They lost a great father. So sad, just so sad.”

S Ed Reed

“Sadness, this is a sad day. Zeus was a fire-starter. His energy – he would get us going at practices, in training camp and games. How he loved to play football. Heck, he looked like he could still play. I send prayers to his family, to his boys. Be strong. God has their father in a better place.”

OLB Terrell Suggs

“The man you saw on the field wasn’t the person who he was off of it. He was definitely a gentle giant who always had a smile on his face. I’m not really sure what to say right now; I’m just in awe. My heart goes out to his family.

“In terms of football, his first season back in Baltimore was my rookie year [in 2003]. He definitely showed me several ‘welcome to the NFL’ moments. He never went easy on me, and he made me work hard to become better every day.”

OLB Jarret Johnson

“My first image of the NFL was when I first saw Zeus. I thought, ‘They’re sure a lot bigger here.’ He had that dark visor on his helmet, wearing those throwback jerseys under his pads. He was most intimidating and dared you to back down from him. If you did, you were done. He embodied what the NFL – what the Ravens are all about. His willingness to battle along with you – the way he stood up for his teammates – was special.

“This sounds corny, but he was literally the first on the field and the last off. He’d be out there before practice with his helmet on working on something to make himself better. He’d find teammates to stay with him after practice to work on his pass blocking. He challenged me every day and made me a better player. I’ll always be thankful for that.”

T Ramon Harewood

(Brown had spent a significant amount of time training with and mentoring the second-year Harewood.)

“I am at a loss right now. When I think of Zeus, I just have to smile. He was always there to pick you up on a bad day and always had a smile on his face. He was a gentle giant and always seemed to be able to put anyone around him in a good mood.

“He took time out of his busy schedule over the last couple of months to work with me to help me grow as a player. To have a player and man of his stature do that for a young player like myself says all you need to know about him. He was always upbeat, always encouraging and would never let me get down on myself.

“We had similar backgrounds, with me only playing football for four years and him having to work his way into the NFL the hard way. He was an inspiration both as a player and as a human being. I will miss him, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. “

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Former Teammates, Others Remember Greatness of John Mackey

Posted on 07 July 2011 by WNST Staff

A number of former teammates and NFL personalities have chimed in with reactions to the passing of former Baltimore Colts TE John Mackey, via AM1570 WNST or press releases. Here are a few of the reactions:

Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti:
“We are tremendously saddened to hear about the passing of John Mackey, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Sylvia and the entire Mackey family. I was fortunate to get to know John and Sylvia personally, and I was struck by her love and loyalty throughout the difficult times of his illness. John set the standard by which tight ends are measured on the field, and he will be sorely missed not only by his family, but also by the entire Baltimore community.”

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome:
“I am mourning the loss of John Mackey, and my deepest condolences go out to his wife Sylvia and the Mackey family. John revolutionized the tight end position during his Hall of Fame career, and he laid the foundation on and off the field for modern NFL players.”

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA):
“John Mackey is still our leader. As the President of the NFL Players Association, he led the fight for fairness with a brilliance and ferocious drive. His passion continues to define our organization and inspire our players. His unwavering loyalty to our mission and his exemplary courage will never be forgotten.”

Indianapolis Colts Owner/CEO Jim Irsay:
“I am deeply sorry to learn of the passing of John Mackey. John was as identified at his position as any player who has played in the National Football League.  John combined size, speed and power in being only the second tight end ever voted into the Hall of Fame and earning a spot on the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team.
His statistical numbers have been eclipsed as the game has evolved, but those in football recognize to this day how John impacted the game.  He authored big moments with his on-field ability, such as his memorable 75-yard scoring reception in Super Bowl V. John’s passion for the game extended beyond his playing years, and he is one of the most notable figures in league history. We extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to John’s wife, Sylvia, and the entire Mackey family.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:
“John Mackey was one of the great leaders in NFL history, on and off the field.  He was a Hall of Fame player who redefined the tight end position.  He was a courageous advocate for his fellow NFL players as head of the NFL Players Association.  He worked closely with our office on many issues through the years, including serving as the first president of the NFL Youth Football Fund.  He never stopped fighting the good fight.  Our thoughts are with Sylvia and the Mackey family on the loss of our good friend.”

Former Colts WR Raymond Berry:
“He was a combination of a lot things, very intelligent, great personality and one of the most well liked players on the team. He was very unselfish, and had a great sense of humor, so he was a delight to be around.  He was the whole package. I’m thinking his playing days far outshadow, anything he did after his playing days. He was such a performer for so many years for the Colts, to me that’s his legacy.”

Former Colts RB Tom Matte:
“It’s a sad day for Baltimore, but I think overall the quality of life that John had in the end was tough. I don’t think there is any question about it that he should have been in the Hall of Fame a lot earlier than he got in. But John, in my estimation was the first big, fast tight end that could catch the ball, block, and make the big plays.  John Mackey was at the forefront of the leadership. There is a lot of respect out there for John Mackey, and what he did as a player, and what he did off the field in negotiations. He’s a great guy, he will be missed, but he is in a better place than he was.”

Former Colts LB Ted Hendricks:
“I was a rookie coming into the league and there was none any better then him at tight end.  To practice against him I’ve learned a lot of things from him.  To me it made the games easier because there was nobody that I played that had more talent than he did. He was definitely a consummate tight end.  Everything, each attribute that he had.  His blocking ability, his pass catching, and not only that but running with the ball after he caught it.  And you couldn’t ask for anything better in a tight end than that.”

Former Colts DE Ordell Braase:
“The thing (I most remember) was the first time I saw John Mackey, how impressed I was with him. Do you realize that he did not get into the Hall of Fame until the last vote? He should have been just an out and out slam dunk on being into the Hall of Fame.”

Former Colts QB Earl Morrall:
“It’s a very somber day, John Mackey was one of my favorites, he is one that really produced for you, and one of the best during his time playing.  John was a great blocker, good solid, opened up the running game for us. He’d release and then go up the field and catch the ball. Defenses would shiver when he got the ball because he would go through them. He could play any day.  He gave you every bit he could on the field.”

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley:
“Today, we reflect on the life of John Mackey, a great Baltimore Colt and one of football’s legendary players.  His remarkable talents on the football field revolutionized the tight end position and earned him a place in history in the Hall of Fame, while his loyalty, determination and integrity off the field have earned him a place in our hearts.  We are saddened by his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”

Baltimore Ravens RB Willis McGahee:
“He’s a great guy. Meant a lot not just to our time, but with our time. He set the pace. It’s our job to continue his legacy.”

Detroit Lions Hall of Fame TE Charlie Sanders:
“His loss is a tremendous loss, not only for the NFL and what he stood for, but it’s also a reminder of what this game is all about. I didn’t have a hero or idolize anybody growing up, so he was the one player that I idolized and tried to copy more than anyone else throughout my career. I took pride in trying to get to the top where he was. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

Former Colts C Bill Curry

“I loved John like a brother and he was a great mentor to me, in addition to being a great player.  When you are with great human beings you usually make the mistake of not appreciating them until you don’t have them anymore.  And I am going through a lot of that right now.  What I remember is his rookie year.  Watching number 88 returning kickoffs and when he came exploding out of the end zone it was terrifying.  I said I have never seen anything like that in my life.”

Former Ravens TE Dan Wilcox

“Rest in piece to John Mackey out there.  I definitely send my condolences to his family as well.  Coming to a town like Baltimore and playing in a city like that, you would love to get a piece of what John Mackey had while he played in the NFL. To be around someone like a John Mackey and all the other Colts that are around Baltimore was an amazing experience. John Mackey was definitely one of the best, one of the all time greatest.  And you hate to lose a guy like that.”

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick

“I was so fortunate that when I first came to Baltimore to have a chance to meet so many of the great former Colts and John was one of them.  …That smile of his, that energy, that orb that he had, his love for the game, his love for the Colts.  To watch Shannon and Ozzie communicate and talk with John and the reverence they had for him and what he represented, it’s a loss for all of us.”

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Ray Lewis, Deer Antlers, and one very important lesson .....

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Ray Lewis, Deer Antlers, and one very important lesson …..

Posted on 20 January 2011 by Rex Snider

I have spent a considerable portion of my adult life in and around different drug cultures. I have bought drugs, sold drugs, seized drugs and arrested offenders connected to virtually every type of offense involving drugs.

From loudmouth punks who get caught with a dirty bowl, to teenage ‘slingers on a street corner, to addict/junkies who’ll pawn their kid’s video games, to KINGPIN offenders who import marijuana in hundreds of pounds, I have dealt with every type of offender.

So, when I hear stories about athletes being tied to performance enhancing drugs, I naturally take notice and pay particular attention. Such topics will always interest me …..

In total disclosure, I must admit that I haven’t had much exposure to PED’s. And, to be honest, given the criminal environment and violence tied to street drugs (heroin, cocaine, meth), law enforcement agencies tend to emphasize their efforts on such problems, as opposed to ridding society of steroids.

However, given the undermining subculture of performance enhancing drug usage in America’s professional sports landscape, I always look for the parallels between athletes who use, or allegedly use such drugs and the people who recreationally use narcotics in daily life.

Both groups usually conceal such usage with a “deeper” desire to avoid exposure …..

Both groups consistently have a “deeper” issue than a simple habit …..

Both groups usually get caught – especially as they spiral “deeper” into this world …..

So, when I first encountered last night’s Yahoo Sports story regarding Hue Jackson and Ray Lewis’ alleged tie to a supplement company that distributes substances banned by the NFL, I developed an immediate interest.

From the perspective of knowing topics that impact Baltimore’s sports environment and its athletes, to my attraction to DRUGS, I’m spending my morning learning as much I can about “Deer Antler Velvet Extract” and its relationship to the human body.

Look, I’ve never heard of the stuff and on the surface of the discussion, I’m having a difficult time discerning the value of a deer’s antlers for anything other than fighting another deer …..

But, if there is any correlation to ANTLERS and their VELVET to the propensity to earn CASH, I will be petitioning Nestor to rethink his adamant opposition to popping some of the biggest bucks I’ve ever seen, from the WNST studio’s window.

*** JUST KIDDING …. THERE IS NO NEED FOR ANY DEER-HUGGING DEMONSTRATIONS.

I have no doubt that plenty of on-air and informal conversations will transpire from this story. And, such discussions will be far-reaching. To a point, I’m glad to see this story developing after the Ravens season has ended.

If Ray remained in the public eye and available to reporters, he would be besieged with questions about the article and his alleged relationship to the affected company, Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (S.W.A.T.S.). The situation would’ve become a likely distraction, and inquiries would’ve created a roundabout undermining of the upcoming game.

Let’s also be honest about Ray Lewis and any alleged connection to illegal or prohibited conduct. An overwhelming amount of people – especially outside of Baltimore – are always going to pre-judge him. He will be cast as a villain and performance enhancing drug user by THOUSANDS, as soon as they hear of the story.

That’s wrong. But, it’s also the impulsive and sensationalist way of many sports fans.

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Harris

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (41-60)

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number this week, I decided to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Part 1 and Part 2 covered jersey numbers 1 through 40 if you missed them.

Part 3 (41-60) presents the most obvious choice on the list—who was also chosen as the greatest player to wear his number in the history of the National Football League—as well as two of the most obscure numbers in team history.

41 Frank Walker (2008-09)

He was never popular among fans due to his propensity for drawing penalty flags, but Walker was not as bad as some made him out to be. Injuries often forced the backup into starter duty where his weaknesses were exposed.

His only competition for this number was Ralph Staten, a once-promising safety who was jettisoned from the team due to character issues in the spring of 1999. Regardless of where you stand with Walker, he is a pretty clear choice and has at least one big fan on YouTube.

Knowing Walker, it would not be a complete shock to find out he made this video himself.

42 Anthony Mitchell (2000-02)

I went back and forth between Mitchell and fullback Lorenzo Neal, but Mitchell’s three seasons in Baltimore allowed him to grab the honor. Mitchell spent his first two seasons with the Ravens as a special teams contributor before his workload in the secondary increased in 2002, starting six games and grabbing three interceptions.

Of course, the mere mention of Mitchell makes Baltimore think about a certain blocked field goal return in Nashville (check the 3:30 mark).

43 Haruki Nakamura (2008-present)

Despite a promising future, Nakamura has done little to distinguish himself other than contributing on special teams in his first two seasons. However, it tops the work of other defensive backs like Vashone Adams and Anthony Poindexter.

44 Jason Brookins (2000-01)

The big tailback rushed for 551 yards in 2001, beating out the likes of Tony Vinson and Willie Gaston. Brookins is most remembered for leaving the Packers camp a year later after the staff asked him for his playbook, the traditional sign that a player is being cut. It turns out the coaching staff only wanted to add some new plays and by the time Brookins received the message, Green Bay coach Mike Sherman decided to cut the running back.

And the Baltimore coaching staff questioned his decision-making and intelligence while with the Ravens. Imagine that.

45 Corey Harris (1998-2001)

Harris

Harris spent most of his Ravens career as a backup and solid return man, but stepped up in a big way when safety Kim Herring went down with a sprained ankle in the 2000 playoffs. He started against Tennessee and Oakland and started all 16 at strong safety the following season.

46 B.J. Ward (2005)

The Florida State safety played in 15 games in 2005, making 11 tackles and forcing a fumble. Why is he the pick at No. 46? There is no record of any other player wearing the number in the regular season for the Ravens.

47 Will Demps (2002-2005)

The undrafted rookie was the surprise of training camp in 2002, not only winning a roster spot but becoming a starting safety next to Ed Reed for four seasons. Demps returned an interception for a touchdown in the Ravens’ only playoff game during his time in Baltimore, a 20-17 loss to the Titans in January 2004.

48 Frank Hartley (1996)

If linebacker Edgar Jones — who had previously worn Nos. 91 and 84 before switching to 48 this offseason — makes the 53-man roster this season, he immediately grabs the distinction. Until then, the tight end Hartley holds this spot despite never making a catch in eight games in 1996.

Don’t worry, I didn’t remember him either.

49 Chad Williams (2002-05)

Chad Williams

Williams is the easy choice after playing four seasons in Baltimore, registering eight interceptions and scoring three touchdowns as a backup safety.

50 Antwan Barnes (2007-present)

Though Dunbar graduate Tommy Polley and reserve linebacker Brad Jackson earn strong consideration, Barnes wins the honor with five career sacks and strong special teams play over his first three seasons with the Ravens. Despite a high ceiling, Barnes has yet to provide a consist impact as a pass rusher off the edge, something he hopes to change this season.

51 Cornell Brown (1997-2000, 2002-04)

Some will argue special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo for this spot, but Cornell Brown is the obvious choice despite wearing No. 90 in his second stint with the Ravens. Brown made 25 starts and was very good against the run, ofter sharing time with Peter Boulware when the Pro Bowl linebacker was ailing.

52 Ray Lewis (1996-present)

Never mind that Lewis was selected by SI.com as the best ever to wear the jersey number in the NFL. When you think of the Baltimore Ravens, No. 52 is the image that overwhelmingly comes to mind.

One of the greatest defensive players ever.

53 Jameel McClain (2008-present)

Tyrell Peters, T.J. Slaughter, and the injury-cursed Dan Cody also wore the number, but McClain has done just enough in special teams and passing downs to grab the distinction. His stature can rise even higher if he earns the starting job at inside linebacker this season.

54 Roderick Green (2004-05)

Green never realized his full potential as a Raven, but he is a marginally-better choice than Tyrus McCloud, Shannon Taylor, or current linebacker Prescott Burgess for No. 54.

55 Terrell Suggs (2003-present)

Many feel Suggs has never lived up the hype or the record-setting contract inked in 2009, but he is one of the most complete outside linebackers in the league when healthy and motivated. His two-sack performance against the Steelers in the AFC Championship two seasons ago was borderline heroic after sustaining a shoulder injury against the Titans a week earlier.

More sentimental fans will argue for Jamie Sharper — who would be a unanimous choice for any linebacker number other than 55, 52, or 58 — but Suggs has had the superior career.

56 Ed Hartwell (2001-04)

Hartwell put his name on the Baltimore linebacker map when he led the team in tackles in 2002 after Ray Lewis was sidelined with a shoulder injury. A good linebacker in his own right, Hartwell was overshadowed in his last two seasons with the Ravens, a palpable frustration he even voiced before departing for Atlanta in 2005.

57 Bart Scott (2002-08)

Just as popular with the media as he was with the fans, Scott was an undrafted linebacker who made himself into a Pro Bowl force during his seven seasons with the Ravens. His “hot sauce” tackle of Reggie Bush gained notoriety, but the linebacker will always be remembered for a hit he laid on a certain Pittsburgh quarterback.

The number is currently reserved in honor of the heroic O.J. Brigance — who is certainly deserving as he continues to fight ALS — but Brigance would be the first to tell you Scott is the greatest Raven to don the No. 57.

58 Peter Boulware (1997-2005)

Boulware

The franchise’s all-time sack leader dealt with knee and shoulder injuries during his career, but he was a force as a pass rusher and made himself into an every-down linebacker after playing defensive end at Florida State. Boulware earned four trips to the Pro Bowl, won the 1997 Defensive Rookie of the Year, and is a member of the Ravens Ring of Honor.

59 Dannell Ellerbe (2009-present)

Ellerbe

Prior to the 2009 season, long snapper Joe Maese (2001-04) was the clear-cut selection here, but the undrafted Ellerbe made the 53-man roster and eventually wrestled away the starting inside linebacker spot from Tavares Gooden in the final month of his rookie season. Ellerbe’s interception against Oakland in Week 17 helped preserve a 21-13 win and a postseason berth for the 9-7 Ravens.

60 Jason Brown (2005-08)

Super Bowl-winning center Jeff Mitchell was blossoming into a Pro Bowl-caliber player before signing with the Carolina Panthers in 2001, allowing Jason Brown to seize recognition for this number. Drafted in the fourth round in 2005, Brown began his NFL career at left guard before moving to his college position of center in 2008. It earned him a huge payday with the St. Louis Rams the following offseason, as the Ravens could not afford to keep Brown.

Next up: For numbers 61-80, we will dive into the trenches with the offensive line, with a few obvious choices and several integers where we need to look long and hard to find a representative.

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A VIEW FROM AN OPPOSING FAN

Posted on 04 October 2009 by Bryan Powell

Let me state for the record I am a New England Patriot fan. I am from Annapolis and I was 7 when the Colts left so I had to look elsewhere for a team to cheer on. Unfortunately that meant the Redskins who have become the NFL’s version of the O’s. Dan Snyder and Peter Angelos have a lot in common.  However when I found out Bill Belichick and I attended the same high school,  I immediate;y started following him when he was in Cleveland and that has continued in New England. I do respect the Ravens and what they have built. This being said here are my thoughts on today’s game.

The officiating was bad but they were only doing what they were told to do by the league. If you want to be angry at the league for protecting the quarterbacks that is fine but the refs are only enforcing those rules. The Suggs and Ngata calls were bad so was the unnecessary roughness call on the Patriots but Flacco’s INT in the red zone bailed them out. One question I have though is why does Baltimore/Washington area think referees in every sport are against them. Whether it is baseball, college basketball, college football, or the NFL, fans in this area think the refs are out to get them. I am including  Redskin fans in this also.

Back to the game, after the Patriots stopped the Ravens on third and fourth down they tried to give the Ravens the game. They only took 1:30 off the clock and the punt went into the end zone meaning no run back and the ball on the 20. The Ravens were a dropped pass away from making the Pats pay dearly for that.

I think these two teams will meet again on a snowy January day. I am hoping it is in New England because M&T isn’t a fun place to visit.

Good luck the rest of the way until they meet the Pats again.

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