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Will Ravens rise to occasion after tumultuous week?

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Will Ravens rise to occasion after tumultuous week?

Posted on 10 September 2014 by Luke Jones

A national audience will be hoping the Ravens fail when they take on the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

Virtually everyone outside Baltimore will be rooting against an organization viewed in a negative light for its handling of the Ray Rice saga over the last seven months before the ultimate release of the disgraced running back earlier this week. The integrity of the organization has come into question as owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged in a letter Tuesday that the Ravens needed to do more to investigate what happened between Rice and then-fiancée Janay Palmer instead of simply deferring to the New Jersey legal system.

Needless to say, it’s been a rocky 19 months for the Ravens since winning Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, 2013. In addition to Rice, four players on the current 53-man roster were arrested this offseason while there have been other examples of questionable choices — don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the “Sweet Pea” saga — over the last 12 months or so.

The former heart and soul of the Ravens — Ray Lewis and Ed Reed — have both questioned leadership at different times over the last calendar year. The roster turnover has been clear with only 25 members of the current 53-man roster having been with the organization for Super Bowl XLVII. Veteran leaders have departed in addition to Lewis and Reed, including Anquan Boldin and Matt Birk.

And even if too much emphasis is put on the impact of leadership and off-field issues in terms of on-field results, Baltimore has gone a mediocre 8-9 in the regular season since raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans. However you want to explain it, the Ravens haven’t been particularly good since winning their second NFL championship.

Is it fair to ask if the Ravens, who long held an excellent reputation, have lost their way? There’s little disputing that the aura of the organization has taken a severe hit over how it handled the Rice situation over these last seven months.

“I don’t think of it that way,” said head coach John Harbaugh when asked if he’s concerned about the Ravens’ image taking a hit. “You do your best with the situations that are put before you and try to handle things the right way and do the right thing.”

Shifting their attention back to the field after a few difficult days, the Ravens are as close as you get to facing a “must-win” game in Week 2 as they’ve already lost to the Cincinnati Bengals and would fall to 0-2 with a defeat to the hated Steelers Thursday night. According to NFL Network research, no team has ever made the playoffs after dropping two divisional games at home to start a season.

Under Harbaugh, the Ravens have dealt with difficult losses before and have consistently answered the bell in the face of adversity. But Rice’s release stems from something that goes beyond football or the business of the salary cap. It isn’t the loss of a standout player because of retirement or a season-ending injury but due to his cruel actions that the entire world saw on video Monday morning.

And players have faced more questions about Rice than ones about what it will take to slow Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers this week. The focus began to shift on Tuesday when some semblance of normalcy — in the context of preparing for a football game, of course — returned to the facility in Owings Mills, but the challenge of playing on a short week is hefty enough despite the Ravens owning the home-field advantage and seeing a familiar opponent.

“We’re going to be playing really soon, so we have to get our minds right,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “But more importantly, we have to do everything we can to physically feel good by the time that whistle blows on Thursday night, and that’s what we’re doing.”

While everyone else will be talking about the individual who is no longer with the organization on Thursday night, the Ravens must focus on getting off to a much quicker start offensively while also trying to slow a Steelers offense that produced 30 points and 490 yards against what was expected to be a good Cleveland defense last week. The general consensus among the so-called experts before the season was that Baltimore and Pittsburgh were fairly evenly matched — both finished 8-8 last year — so the the Ravens will need to hold serve on their home field and put the bad taste of last week’s loss behind them.

Over the course of his seven-year run in Baltimore, Harbaugh has typically been able to rally his team in these types of games to perform at their best and secure a much-needed win. But he hasn’t dealt with a situation quite like this before.

And there is evidence of cracks in the foundation — both on and off the field — since the Ravens reached the pinnacle of the NFL less than two years ago. We saw it late last year when the Ravens were 8-6 and needed only one win to secure their sixth consecutive trip to the postseason before losing their final two games by a combined 51 points.

A win calms nerves and puts the Ravens back at .500 as they receive the extra rest that follows a Thursday night game before preparing for a third straight division game. A defeat puts the Ravens in an early-season hole in the AFC North while the rest of the world mocks their misfortune.

The best teams come together under these circumstances, even when their organization is guilty of its own mistakes as the Ravens were with Rice. The lesser ones wilt under such adversity.

The Ravens know they already face a crucial game Thursday with the season less than a week old. They’re out to prove they haven’t lost their way on the field.

“It’s everything. You don’t want to come out of an 0-2 hole, especially giving up two at home,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “Wins in the NFL are hard to come by, so that’s why you’ve got to win your home games. We unfortunately dropped one; [the Bengals] cashed in and they won one — a division game. We’ve definitely got to cover up some ground, but it all starts with this one on Thursday.”

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Webb primed to make 2014 season debut against Steelers

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Webb primed to make 2014 season debut against Steelers

Posted on 10 September 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After nearly two weeks of practice to get himself in playing shape, Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb appears primed to make his 2014 season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

The sixth-year defensive back has been practicing fully since last week, but it was just a matter of shaking off rust and logging some field time after missing nearly all of training camp. Webb was stricken with back spasms on the second day of full-squad workouts on July 25 and did not return to practice until Aug. 30.

“I’m ready to get it going,” Webb said on Tuesday. “Who better than Pittsburgh? I’m ready. I’m feeling good. I’m just ready to get out there and get everything going and just play some football.”

Webb went through a pre-game workout prior to last Sunday’s season opener against Cincinnati, but the Ravens elected to hold him out with better thoughts toward Week 2 being on a short week. If fully healthy and ready, Webb will clearly start opposite Jimmy Smith in the base defense, but it remains to be seen how the Ravens might use him in the nickel package.

Over the course of his career, Webb has been more dynamic covering the slot and playing inside in the nickel package, but defensive coordinator Dean Pees will need to decide whether he wants to use Chykie Brown on the outside as the No. 3 corner or Asa Jackson, who is also better suited to play inside. Last year, Pees used Webb and former Raven Corey Graham both inside and outside, but the Ravens are far less settled in their secondary this season.

After Webb underwent sports hernia surgery early in the offseason and then missed all of training camp, the Steelers will surely test Webb’s ability in coverage as well as his stamina with so little practice time under his belt since spring organized team activities. And the veteran cornerback is fine with having a target on his back, expecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to throw in his direction early and often.

“I would, wouldn’t you?” Webb said. “That’s a good thing, because they don’t know how hurt I was. I hope they do [test me].”

The Baltimore defense certainly hopes Webb’s return will bring more stability to a secondary that allowed 301 passing yards in the Week 1 loss to the Bengals.

Suggs sends message to Tomlin

Never one to shy away from the theatrical side of the Baltimore-Pittsburgh rivalry, linebacker Terrell Suggs walked to the podium with a clear message for Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday.

Sporting a t-shirt (below) with the words “We Will Never Forget” and the image of Tomlin stepping on the field of play and forcing Jacoby Jones to change direction on a long kickoff return, Suggs made it obvious he hadn’t forgotten about the Steelers coach’s sideline tactics. Intentional or not, the move resulted in a $100,000 fine for Tomlin while pumping new life into a rivalry that’s seen major characters such as Ray Lewis, Hines Ward, Ed Reed, and James Harrison move on in recent years.

Photo courtesy of BaltimoreRavens.com

“We just wanted to let their head coach know, we will never forget what transpired here in this game last year,” Suggs said.

Tomlin talked with the Baltimore media via conference call and even had his own fun with what happened on Thanksgiving last year when asked if he expected to be on the kickoff team Thursday night.

“I won’t be,” said Tomlin as he laughed. “Tell Jacoby he’s safe.”

Tuesday’s injury report

All 53 players on the active roster practiced fully on Tuesday as Webb and right guard Marshal Yanda were the only Ravens players even listed on the injury report.

Yanda missed Monday’s walk-through while resting a blister on his foot, but he was a full participant along with Webb a day later.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh had seven players missing from practice on Tuesday, but four were listed for non-injury reasons. With a very short week, that’s a common practice for teams trying to rest as many veterans as possible.

BALTIMORE
FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Lardarius Webb (back), G Marshal Yanda (foot)

PITTSBURGH
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: RB Dri Archer (ankle/knee), DE Brett Keisel (NIR), TE Heath Miller (NIR), WR Lance Moore (groin), S Troy Polamalu (NIR), CB Ike Taylor (NIR), C Cody Wallace (finger)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Le’Veon Bell (NIR), WR Antonio Brown (NIR), WR Martavis Bryant (shoulder), CB Brice McCain (groin), DT Steve McLendon (stinger), QB Ben Roethlisberger (NIR), S Shamarko Thomas (Achilles/ankle), WR Markus Wheaton (NIR)

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Ravens announce plans for Ray Rice jersey exchange

Posted on 09 September 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Baltimore Ravens will offer an exchange for Ray Rice jerseys on Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20 at M&T Bank Stadium. The exchange is to provide an opportunity for fans – particularly families, women and children – to exchange a Rice jersey for an available jersey of another Ravens player.

It is important to note that there will be no jersey exchanges at this Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fans should not bring items for exchange to the game.

Here are the details of the jersey exchange:

· Jerseys eligible for exchange must:

- Be officially licensed by the NFL

- Be manufactured by Nike or Reebok

- Have been purchased or been available for purchase at the Ravens Team Store at M&T Bank Stadium or the Ravens Official Team Store online (baltimoreravensshop.com or shop.baltimoreravens.com)

· Exchanges must be made in person to verify that products are licensed. (A licensing expert representing the NFL will be on hand to verify that jerseys qualify for exchange.)

· Recipients will receive Nike replica jerseys based on availability at the time of exchange.

· Exchange is limited to one jersey per person.

What:

Ravens Ray Rice Jersey Exchange

When:

Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20

Time:

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Where:

M&T Bank Stadium – Inside the northwest concourse and Team Store at Section 140.

Fans should enter the stadium at Gate A.

Parking:

Available in Lot B on the north side of M&T Bank Stadium

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Bisciotti letter to Ravens fans: “I am sorry we let you down”

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Bisciotti letter to Ravens fans: “I am sorry we let you down”

Posted on 09 September 2014 by WNST Staff

Ravens owners Steve Bisciotti broke his silence regarding the decision to release running back Ray Rice in a letter to personal seat license holders, sponsors, and suite owners on Tuesday. The full text appears below.

Dear Ravens Stakeholder:

You deserve an explanation.

What happened with the Ray Rice incident? How could it come to this? Why didn’t we act earlier?

As a PSL holder, suite owner, sponsor and supporter, you have a stake in us. You have invested in us — emotionally as well as financially, trusted us, and believed in us. We value that trust and owe you full disclosure.

First, let us say that we did not do all we should have done and no amount of explanation can remedy that. What we can do now is share with you everything that occurred and vow to learn from all that has happened.

Here is how the situation unfolded, and here are our thoughts behind the decisions we made.

On the morning of Feb. 15, we learned that Ray and his then fiancé, Janay, had been arrested at an Atlantic City casino, and both had been charged with “simple assault” resulting from an altercation with each other. After the couple was taken to police headquarters, and after a report was written, they were allowed to leave together.

A number of Ravens’ representatives talked with Ray during the course of that day. His explanation was that after he and Janay had consumed a great deal of alcohol, they had had an argument and that they struck each other.

We at the Ravens organization issued a statement to the media that we were aware of the incident, that we had talked with Ray, and that he deserved the due process of law.

We then began our own process to discover as much as we could about what happened. We talked with representatives of the casino, the police who arrested the couple, the prosecutor and a lawyer who represented both Ray and Janay in the case. Soon after, the video of Janay and Ray coming out of the elevator became public.

We contacted the casino management and asked if there was video of the incident from inside the elevator that we could see. The casino would not share such video. We asked the local New Jersey police and the police refused as well. We asked the prosecutor’s office and that office refused. It was our understanding at that time that Ray’s attorney had not yet seen the video. NFL officials had been informed, and we know they were also trying to retrieve and/or see the video.

Assessing the situation at of the end of February, this is what we knew: A player who had been a model citizen in the community and terrific teammate for six seasons had been charged with simple assault against his fiancé. At that time, his fiancé Janay had been similarly charged.

Ray and Janay both told us nothing like this had happened before. He was showing great remorse; they were meeting regularly with our team chaplain and were diligently attending couples counseling.

In March, the prosecutor dropped the case against Janay, but elevated the charge against Ray from simple assault to aggravated assault. At this point, we decided to defer action until completion of the court proceedings. We stopped seeking to view or obtain a copy of the video. We halted our fact-finding. That was a mistake on our part.

In May, the prosecutor recommended, and the judge agreed, that Ray should be accepted into a pre-trial intervention program that will eventually have the assault charge dismissed from his record, pending a year of good behavior.

The police had seen video from inside the elevator. The prosecutor and the judge, who had also seen such video, allowed Ray into the program that would eventually clear him of the assault charge.

On June 16, Ray and Janay met with Commissioner Roger Goodell, who then announced on July 27 that Ray Rice would be suspended for the first two games of the season. Ray subsequently met with the media and answered questions.

Yesterday morning Sept 8, all of us saw the video from inside the elevator. It is violent and horrifying. I immediately came to the office and called a meeting with Dick Cass, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and Kevin Byrne. The meeting was relatively short. The decision to let Ray Rice go was unanimous. Seeing that video changed everything. We should have seen it earlier. We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously. We didn’t and we were wrong.

We are moving forward and believe we can help put more of a spotlight on intimate partner violence, while increasing education and awareness to this issue to all in our organization. Our recently announced partnership with the House of Ruth is a start.

We view ourselves as a family. Like families, we have used tough love in the past (fines, benching and releases) with repeat offenders. Because of his positive contributions on and off the field over the last six years, Ray had earned every benefit of the doubt from our organization. We took everything we knew and decided to support Ray Rice until we could not.

We hope that Ray will continue to work to be the best husband, father and person he can be, and he will turn this awful situation into something positive. We also have learned a great deal and will continue to strive to be an organization and team you and Baltimore will be proud of. I am sorry we let you down.

Sincerely,

Stephen J. Bisciotti
Owner

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Janay Rice breaks silence in response to “horrible nightmare”

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Janay Rice breaks silence in response to “horrible nightmare”

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Luke Jones

The morning after the Ravens terminated the contract of Ray Rice and the NFL suspended the running back indefinitely, his wife broke her silence in response to the TMZ release of the video depicting what occurred in the Atlantic City casino elevator and reaction from media and the public to the incident.

Janay Rice’s statement is presented without editing:

I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is a horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!

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Full transcript of John Harbaugh’s Monday press conference

Posted on 09 September 2014 by WNST Staff

TEAM RELEASE

Opening statement: “I want to thank everybody for being here, and we appreciate you being here. We had a good practice coming off the tough game yesterday, and we’re going to work on our next game. Obviously, you’re here for more than just that. We had a chance – after seeing something this morning – after seeing the video this morning, we had a chance to get together with Steve [Bisciotti], Dick [Cass], Ozzie [Newsome] and myself, and we had a meeting. It was not a long meeting, and we came to the decision that we came to, to release Ray [Rice]. And that’s what we did. So, you know that. I had a chance to talk to Ray along with Ozzie this afternoon after we did it. [We have] nothing but hope and goodwill for Ray and Janay, and we’ll do whatever we can going forward to help them as they go forward and try to make the best of it.”

John, what was it like to see that video? “It’s something we saw for the first time today – all of us – and it changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different.”

John, did Ray Rice mislead you? Were you mislead in anyway, because you stood up here and defended the guy, and now you see the video and make this decision? “I don’t want to get into all that. I don’t think of it that way. Everything I said, in terms of what I believe, I stand behind. I believe that still, and I’ll always believe those things. And we’ll always stand and support them as a couple, and that’s not going to change.”

Coach, how come the team wasn’t able to see the video until today? “I have no answer for that.”

John, as a football team, how do you feel as far as what you’ll have in the backfield? “Well, we will have exactly what we’ve had so far. We have the guys that we have, and I’m excited about our offense. I’m excited about some of the things we did yesterday in terms of yards and points and our opportunities to score points. We need to score more points and first downs and things like that. I know we can play a lot better than we did, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we do.”

John, you said it changed for you. How did it change after seeing the video? “I don’t know if I want to get into all the details about it. I think it’s pretty obvious and pretty apparent. Everybody [has] seen the video, and we’ll leave it at that.”

Coach, do you believe the NFL has seen the video before today? “I don’t have any understanding or knowledge of any of that. I don’t know.”

Was there discussion between the Ravens and NFL today before you both came to the conclusion? “Not that I’m involved with. I’m involved right now with the football team and getting ready for Pittsburgh.”

You came into the league when Ray Rice came into the NFL as a head coach. You had a strong relationship with him. This has to be personally kind of devastating to you. “It’s always … When someone that you care about does wrong and is faced with the consequences of doing wrong – and rightfully so – it is tough, it is hurtful. My pain is for both of them as a couple and going forward. My hope is that they can make it work. From everything that I understand in talking to Ray up until his suspension – talking to him a lot – it seemed like they really were working hard and really doing well in that direction. I hope they can weather this part of it, too. And I’ll be praying for that. If I can help in any way, [if] my wife and I can help in any way, we will. That’s where it’s at.”

Can you share any of RB Ray Rice’s reaction to the news today? “I really would rather not. That’s more personal.”

Coach, are you satisfied with the level of diligence that the organization took to see what occurred on that video? “Absolutely. Sure. I’m not following where you’re going with that.”

I’m just curious why the team wasn’t able to see the video. “I don’t know why that would be a hard thing to understand. It wasn’t made available. It wasn’t there for us.”

From a legal standpoint? “As far as I know, yes. It wasn’t something we already saw [or] ever had access to.”

Did you discuss it with the team as a whole today? “We did. The team responds the way everybody responds to these things. And again, you’re talking about somebody you know. It’s a little more challenging when you’re talking about someone that’s part of your family, so to speak. So our guys, they felt it. All the same emotions that everybody out there would feel, we all felt.”

Why did the video change the team’s reaction so drastically? What did you think happened in that elevator before you saw the video? “I don’t want to get into all of that. Talking about feelings and all that stuff … It’s pretty easy for everybody to understand. Anybody that has a heart would understand how that goes.”

How did Ray Rice relay the events of the evening to you guys? “I’m not going to get into all of that. Those are personal conversations, and that’s really where that belongs. I want to respect that.”

What do you think about the timing of this whole video and how that impacts the team in the midst of a short week with a game coming up? “The timing is the timing that it is. We have a football game to play Thursday night. We have no control over that. I don’t have any feelings about that at all. It will not impact us in any way, football-wise. You can’t allow that. This is professional football, and we’ll be ready to play Thursday night.”

This affects the organization on so many different levels, John. Which is the most difficult? “I wish I had an answer for that. That’s a pretty deep question. I haven’t given it that much thought to think of it in that many levels right now.”

What would be one, if you can think of one? “I don’t have those options in front of me. I don’t have that list right now.”

Do you expect Ray Rice to play in the NFL again? “I don’t have any expectation for anything right now. My expectation right now really is to move with our team going forward and [being] the best football team we can be.”

Were the financial implications, cap-wise … Was that discussed today? “Certainly. Everything is discussed. Like I said, it was not a long meeting, though.”

Why wasn’t it that long? “Anyone else?”

Is there any reason why G Marshal Yanda wasn’t practicing today? “We held Marshal back. He’s healthy. No injury there, but we just sat Marshal out today.”

Who’s your starting running back Thursday? “Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett – they’ll both play a lot. Lorenzo Taliaferro will be a big part of it, too. Good question. Thanks.”

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Ravens must rebuild reputation in wake of Rice’s departure

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Ravens must rebuild reputation in wake of Rice’s departure

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Luke Jones

There was no other choice for the Ravens but to sever ties with running back Ray Rice on Monday afternoon.

The release of the second elevator video by TMZ depicted the worst-case scenario of what Rice had done to then-fiancée Janay Palmer and removed any lingering benefit of the doubt one could reasonably have in defending or understanding the 27-year-old’s actions on that February night in an Atlantic City casino. And it brought the Ravens’ embarrassing missteps to the forefront as the organization was forced to terminate the contract of the man they’d spent the better part of seven months defending and building up amidst intense criticism from the rest of the world.

Whether they were simply misled by Rice, the New Jersey legal system, and the NFL or callously turned a blind eye to what really happened is open for debate as this saga isn’t over — even if the three-time Pro Bowl running back’s career in Baltimore is. The truth is the Ravens will now face the challenge of rebuilding their own image and trust with the general public as their reputation for being one of the finest organizations in the NFL took a massive blow in their handling of the Rice incident.

From the emphatic insistence that his job status was not in jeopardy and strong praise for Rice’s character to the embarrassing initial press conference and the examples of profound support published on the team’s official website, owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and head coach John Harbaugh must all take responsibility for what was an error in judgment and a lack of sensitivity to what was a startling case of domestic violence. It was unfair for the organization to leave Harbaugh alone to field questions Monday evening as the masses — including Ravens fans and the local community — deserved to hear from the team owner and high-ranking officials following the decision to terminate the employment of one of the Ravens’ biggest stars since 2008.

Harbaugh told the media that Monday was the first time anyone in the organization had viewed the second video published for the world to see that morning. When pressed if he felt misled by his former running back and asked what about the video had changed the team’s reaction so drastically, Harbaugh didn’t “want to get into all that,” which isn’t a good enough answer from an organization that was labeled tone-deaf by many for their unwavering support of Rice throughout the entire ordeal.

It’s human nature to want to think the best of someone you admire no matter what the circumstance, and the Ravens certainly cared — and still care — about Rice as a person. But the organization allowed the goodwill Rice had built over his first six years in Baltimore to cloud its preparedness for — and sensitivity to — the worst-case scenario that proved to be the truth with the released video of Rice viciously striking his future wife and knocking her unconscious in that casino elevator.

Throughout the process, the Ravens gravitated toward what they wanted to believe — and perhaps how Rice and the New Jersey legal system had portrayed the incident — with little regard for the possibility that this incident of domestic violence was as bad as some had reported and many had feared. Yes, the Ravens knew Rice had done wrong, but their actions and words over the last seven months didn’t demonstrate an appropriate grasp of just how violently he had potentially acted.

The Ravens showed more than enough support for Rice by simply not cutting him from the start and instead allowed the legal process to play out, even if many believed they shouldn’t have even wasted that much time. However, the organization went out of its way to continuously remind everyone about how great of a guy Rice was, which — unintentionally or not — portrayed him as more of a victim than a perpetrator and showed a lack of sensitivity and compassion toward victims of domestic violence.

The recent partnership formed with the House of Ruth to help combat domestic violence was a good start, but much more will need to be done to put the memory of the last seven months behind them.

As an emotional Chris Canty stated, Monday was a sad day for the Baltimore Ravens as they severed ties with one of their biggest stars. Make no mistake, it was a sickening act committed by Rice alone that led to his deserved termination, but the Ravens only hurt themselves in the way they handled the matter along the way.

And it will take much longer to fix that tarnished reputation than it did to clean out Rice’s locker on Monday.

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Ravens claim defensive tackle Christo Bulukidi off waivers

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Luke Jones

On the same day the Ravens terminated the contract of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, they continued to adjust their roster by claiming defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi off waivers and cutting rookie running back Fitz Toussaint on Monday.

Bilukidi was waived by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday and will add depth to the defensive line as the Ravens were carrying only five players in that positional group. A sixth-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2012, the Georgia State product has appeared in 20 career games split between Oakland and Cincinnati and has collected 13 tackles and one sack.

Toussaint was promoted from the practice squad after the Ravens cut veteran cornerback Derek Cox on Saturday, but the rookie free agent was inactive for Sunday’s season-opening loss against the Bengals. Baltimore will likely hope that Toussaint clears waivers, so he can be re-signed to the practice squad.

The Ravens currently have three tailbacks on their 53-man roster with Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett, and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro.

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Why People Need To Keep Quiet About Ray Rice

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Why People Need To Keep Quiet About Ray Rice

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Brandon Sacks

At this point, almost everyone has seen the video of Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée Janay Palmer.  Yes, it is absolutely disgusting that this would happen and that he would even swing at her.  There is no acceptable time for a man to ever place his hands on a woman.  As someone who has been a player of upstanding character until this incident broke, it came as surprising to see someone who’s cause is anti-bullying to do something like this.  That being said, there is a bigger problem here that needs to be addressed.  It is something that, quite frankly, is ridiculous, and people need to reevaluate themselves before uttering one more word about Ray Rice.

Where were you when other players did the exact same thing?

Ray Rice is not the only person that has been charged with domestic abuse since the end of the 2013 NFL season.  Why is no one saying anything about Ray McDonald being allowed to play even though he was charged with domestic assault? The same thing goes for Greg Hardy, who was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her.  Ray Rice’s situation is completely the same aside from one small detail; Rice hit his fiancée, and it was caught on video.  However, that doesn’t make him any worse of a person because he was caught.  Hardy was convicted in a court of law, which means there was enough proof to warrant his peers believing he actually did assault his ex.  Hardy wasn’t cut by his team or suspended indefinitely.  Why was Rice?

What about other players that were charged with crimes but were never punished like this?  Staying within the organization, Ray Lewis was charged with murder and never ended up being suspended indefinitely by the league.  Donté Stallworth was charged with DUI manslaughter, and he was only suspended for a year from the NFL.  Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape and he saw a suspension that lasted him a few games, and continues to play on the same team as before the accusations.  Michael Vick was convicted of running a dog fighting ring and was able to return to the field after serving his time in jail.  Chad Ochocinco was charged with domestic battery after headbutting his wife and was cut that same day by the Dolphins, but never received an NFL suspension for it.  Ahman Green, the Packers all-time leading rusher, was arrested for a domestic incident, but nothing ever came of this.

Why are any of these players any different than Ray Rice?  Of all of the players who laid their hands on women, why is it that Rice is the one that gets singled out?  What he did is not worse than anything those other “men” did, so it should not be treated as such.

In the age of social media where every single person thinks his/her opinion is the only correct one, people need to consider the bigger problem here.  The mob mentality that occurs with these kind of things is outrageous and needs to end.  Simply put by the NFL’s new domestic abuse policy, Rice should have been suspended for 6 games and not one more.  The Ravens still had the right to cut him, but Roger Goodell had no right to indefinitely suspend him.

All of the other previously mentioned players received second chances after resolving their off the field issues.  While Rice will not get one in Baltimore, he deserves one somewhere else.

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Ravens terminate contract of running back Ray Rice

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Ravens terminate contract of running back Ray Rice

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Luke Jones

After months of standing by the troubled Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens made a loud statement by terminating the running back’s contract on Monday afternoon.

In a simple statement released to media shortly before 2:30 p.m., the organization announced it was severing ties with the 27-year-old following TMZ’s Monday morning release of a second video clearly showing Rice punching his then-fiancee and knocking her unconscious in a Revel Casino elevator in Atlantic City in mid-February. Rice was in the midst of serving a two-game suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that had garnered harsh criticism for its perceived leniency.

Shortly after the Ravens revealed they were terminating Rice’s contract, the NFL announced they were suspending Rice indefinitely based on the new video evidence obtained Monday. The league said in a statement earlier in the day that they had not been privy to the second video obtained by TMZ when deciding on Rice’s initial punishment.

Responding to backlash from his original decision on Rice, Goodell acknowledged that he “didn’t get it right” while announcing a harsher penalty for domestic violence last month that included six games for a first offense and a potential lifetime ban for a second offense.

The Ravens had consistently stood by Rice since the incident had taken place, drawing plenty of negative reaction from those accusing the organization of taking a soft stance on domestic violence. However, the disturbing violence clearly depicted in the second video made it impossible for the organization not to act, even if that action came far too late in the eyes of many.

Rice and Janay Palmer were initially arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence in Atlantic City on Feb. 15 with the police report saying each had struck the other and Rice had rendered Palmer unconscious. The grand jury later charged Rice with third-degree aggravated assault — and dismissed the original charge against his wife — before he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May. This program allowed Rice to avoid prosecution and potential prison time.

As for the ramifications on the salary cap by cutting Rice, the Ravens will immediately save the $3.529 million he was owed in base salary for the 2014 season. However, they will now take a $9.5 million hit in dead money for the 2015 salary cap.

The three-time Pro Bowl running back rushed for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns in his six seasons in Baltimore. He was the Ravens’ second-round pick of the 2008 draft and is second on the franchise’s all-time rushing list behind Jamal Lewis.

Head coach John Harbaugh was scheduled to meet with the media at 8 p.m. Monday night as the Ravens have already begun preparations for Thursday night’s Week 2 meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

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