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Purple Reign 2: Flacco & Bisciotti met, talked Super Bowls & millions last August

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Purple Reign 2: Flacco & Bisciotti met, talked Super Bowls & millions last August

Posted on 30 May 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

This is an excerpt from a new, 480-page book on the Baltimore Ravens championship run called Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story. If you enjoyed every aspect of their Super Bowl win in New Orleans, you’ll love this book that chronicles how the team overcame adversity and personal tragedies, and used theology sprinkled with faith, family and love on the way to a Baltimore parade fueled by inspiration, dedication, perspiration and yes, a little bit of luck.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 15 of the definitive book on the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII victory in New Orleans, Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story.

If you enjoy it, please consider buying the books for the holidays as gifts for anyone who loves the Baltimore Ravens.

You can purchase both Purple Reign books by clicking here:

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 9 here where Joe Flacco and Steve Bisciotti talk about the risk of $100 million:

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 15 on the firing of Cam Cameron and its impact on Joe Flacco

This is from Chapter 9, “Injury after insult after implosion – Psychology 2012.” If you enjoy this small snippet you can purchase the book and read another excerpt here. You can also join the Facebook fan page here. The book will be released on May 31st and will be delivered before Father’s Day if purchase before June 5th.

 

AS THE TEAM WAS ASSEMBLED in the preseason, questions lingered, but Harbaugh felt great that the team had survived an offseason without arrests, without incidents, without any member of a veteran team blaming Evans or Cundiff for the New England loss. He inherited a fractured team in 2008, and by the summer of 2012 he was feeling good about the unity of the players and their maturity.

But the obvious questions for fans, media, and The Castle staff were all the same:

Is this the last chance for Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Matt Birk?

Will the offensive line hold up?

Can the Ravens win the big one?

Can Joe Flacco win the big one?

As Bisciotti knew on draft day in 2008, and as Newsome, Harbaugh, and everyone else in the organization had experienced the hard way — it always comes back to the quarterback. Was Joe Flacco going to be the franchise quarterback who would win a Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens?

Flacco, who played perhaps the best game of his career and threw what would’ve been the pass that took the Ravens to the Super Bowl on his last drive in January, somehow went into the 2012 season as the man on the hot seat who had not only turned down a $90 million offer for more than six months, but who had gone on WNST.net & AM 1570 in April and said he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL. As much as Tim Tebow was the darling of ESPN with a seemingly non-stop Jets theme on SportsCenter, Flacco became something of a punch line for a quarterback who could get a team to the playoffs, but somehow was perceived as “not Super Bowl caliber.”

Short of catching his own pass in Foxborough, he literally had done everything he could do to get his team into the Super Bowl and yet the abuse was seemingly endless.

But the game is won on the X’s and O’s and the execution, and Flacco knew this. Cameron and Flacco had talked about more passing, more shotgun formations, and more pressure on defenses, but over the summer of 2012 it became clear the Ravens would become more of a personalized offense for No. 5. If the Ravens were offering Flacco $90 million dollars, they’d need to trust him to earn that money. He loved the tempo of the no-huddle offense and loved that it allowed him to dictate to the defense both personnel and pace.

“What quarterback wouldn’t want to run the no-huddle or fast-paced offense?” Flacco said. “Let’s be honest, it’s more fun to play quarterback when you do that. We like the pace we’re running on offense right now, but it’s a work in progress. We’ve done OK, and we’ve played pretty quick. But, we know we can play better, and we will play faster as we get into it more.”

Harbaugh endorsed this ideological move from being a team that always allowed its defense to cut loose while always seeming to fear the worst from the offense — trying to utilize the clock, run the ball, and be more conservative. “We’ve talked about the no-huddle [offense] since Joe’s [Flacco] rookie season,” Harbaugh said. “He ran it at Delaware and has had success in it when we’ve run it the last few years. He is a key to running it, and he loves it. And, we have the parts for it right now, including the offensive line. We can run the offense very fast, a little fast, slower, and we can huddle. We’re in a good spot right now with how we can run our offense.”

While some of the idiot sports talking heads and media types were constantly flogging Flacco, the people who watch coaches’ film were always impressed with him, using the evidence and residue of four straight playoff appearances and his improving game to shout down the detractors.

“We’ve spent time with Joe [Flacco], and I perceive a change in him,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who saw Flacco play at Audubon High in his hometown of Philadelphia. “He’s won since Day One with the Ravens, but he’s more confident now. They’re confident in him, too, and the improved offense reflects all of that. He can make every throw. He can bring his team from behind. The question becomes, ‘Can they win a Super Bowl with Joe?’ And the answer is an emphatic, ‘Yes!’”

Mike Lombardi, who was doing NFL analysis in the summer of 2012 before becoming the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, said “That anyone spent the offseason criticizing [Joe] Flacco strikes me as ludicrous. Flacco didn’t drop the ball in the end zone against the Patriots. In fact, it was Flacco who drove the Ravens to give them two chances to win that game. It was others who didn’t make plays. While he doesn’t play in an offense that shows off his skills statistically, Flacco is a winning QB, and his record [45-21] shows it.”

ESPN’s Ron Jaworski spoke out on Flacco’s arm strength and ability to attack opposing defenses. “Arm strength – that’s Flacco’s No. 1 attribute,” Jaws said. “I get so tired of hearing how arm strength is overrated. It’s far more important than people think. He has the strongest arm in the NFL. And he has an aggressive, confident throwing mentality. The element always overlooked by those who minimize arm strength is the willingness of quarterbacks like Flacco to pull the trigger. Few recognize that because there is no quantifiable means by which to evaluate throws that are not made by quarterbacks with lesser arm strength. It’s all about dimensions. Flacco gives you the ability to attack all areas of the field at any point in the game.”

Flacco took the responsibility as a personal challenge and something he embraced.

“It’s definitely my offense as a quarterback; it’s my job to get out there and lead these guys and direct them and run the traffic, and get it run the way that I want it to be run,” he said in training camp. “Cam may be running the plays, and I may be controlling certain things on the line depending on what the play is, but the fine details of being a good offense are all of the fine details. And it’s my job to get those correct and that we have everyone on the same page. As long as I’m out there in practice getting it to the games and on game day, as long as I’m doing that and expressing to the receivers, expressing to the running back, and to the offensive line how I feel, and what I see back there and as long as we can get on the same page as that together, then that’s when we’re doing something, and that’s when I’m doing my job.

“You talk about being paid that much money, they don’t do that so that they can go out there to do every job, they do that so they can delegate some jobs onto me. And I can go out there and get it done the way it should be. That’s a big part of being a quarterback. To be able to make sure that everything is running smoothly and everybody sees it the way I see it. And that once we get there on Sunday, we can just react and play. Because we’re all up to speed and we all have the same vision of everything. I think that’s what good quarterbacks are able to do, is to take that and then take a certain play and make it great, just because everyone has a good understanding of that.”

By the beginning of training camp it was very clear that the Ravens and Flacco were at an impasse in negotiating a new contract that would replace the final year of his five-year deal from 2008. Newsome called Bisciotti and said that after tireless conversation with Flacco’s agent Joe Linta, there was no way to get a long-term deal and that the Ravens would need to play out the season and consider signing or franchising their star quarterback in 2013.

Bisciotti authorized a final offer – a “bump and roll” contract that gave Flacco a $1 million per year bonus if he won a Super Bowl and $2 million per year for the six years of the deal if he had won two Super Bowls. It would’ve been a raise that stayed on the books for the life of the deal. The average salary number was $16.7 million per year on the Ravens’ base offer, which would’ve made Flacco the fourth-highest paid quarterback behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. Flacco was essentially turning down $90 million because he was rejecting the notion that he was the fourth best quarterback in the NFL.

Linta and Flacco once again turned it down the week before training camp opened.

Bisciotti was flustered, wanting to get the deal done and ran into Flacco in the cafeteria in Owings Mills during the first week of training camp and summoned the quarterback to his office upstairs.

“I had never, ever – not for one minute – even spoken to Joe about the contract,” Bisciotti said. “That was for Pat [Moriarty] and Ozzie [Newsome] to do, but I wanted to take one more swing at it and try to understand the situation.”

They spent 45 minutes with the door closed.

“There are two things here that I don’t understand,” Bisciotti said to Flacco. “I don’t understand why you’re walking away from this deal? As maligned as you are in the press and as little faith as so many pundits have in you, we’re offering you a $90 million deal and you can go wave that in their face and say, ‘F**k you guys! See, the Ravens DO believe in me!’ ”

Flacco was nonplussed. “I really don’t care about my critics,” he bluntly told the Ravens owner.

Bisciotti was exasperated. “I don’t understand it. Joe, don’t you think you’d play better with a clear head and having this contract behind you?” he continued. “You won’t have to answer questions from anybody, and you can just focus on playing and winning the Super Bowl.”

Flacco said it again. “Steve, I appreciate the offer, but I really don’t care about the media, critics, any of it. I’ve gotta trust my agent, and he doesn’t want any incentives in contracts. And I’ve gotta leave it to him.”

Bisciotti reasoned that until they won a Super Bowl together neither one would get that ultimate respect they desired. “I’m offering you a better deal than the one you’re asking me for if you’re planning on winning the Super Bowl,” he said.

Flacco wasn’t upset or emotional, as is his custom. He simply smiled and said he was going to play out the year. Bisciotti said, “Well, I tried,” as he shook Flacco’s hand. “Then go out and put a few rings on my desk and get what you think you deserve.”

“I figured if he’s fine with it then I should be fine with it,” Bisciotti said. “I wanted it behind both of us. I guess I didn’t really understand how different a guy he was. I told him, ‘You are a different cat, man!’ ”

Flacco remembers the conversation vividly. “Yeah, he couldn’t get over it,” Flacco said. “He said, ‘Do you know what you’re doing? This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!’ I told him I knew what I was doing and my price wasn’t getting cheaper. I saw his point of view but I also thought that I was right. I’m a little bit of a hard head.”

Flacco believed the market always get set by the next elite quarterback that signs and the price always goes up if you perform. “It wasn’t a bad offer but I felt like I could do better if I waited,” he said. Like his adversary in this $100 million negotiation, he had gone to the Bisciotti school of downside management.

“My agent said to me, ‘Think about the worse possible situation and if you’re OK with that then hold your position,” Flacco said. The downside here would’ve been a catastrophic injury or a bad 2012 season on the field. “If I got hurt, I got hurt,” he said. “That’s the nature of the game. I was willing to look in the mirror and live with that.”

Flacco said he turned the tables on Bisciotti: “I told him, ‘You should give me four or five million more now because if I win the Super Bowl’ – and I did say ‘if’ – ‘then it’s gonna cost you $20 million.’ ”

Flacco figured he was still only making his base of $6.5 million in 2012 no matter what. The Ravens weren’t ripping up his deal. It was an extension. And there’s always a new “going rate” for top quarterbacks.

“I was actually glad that he called me up to talk about it because it was a cool conversation to have,” Flacco said. “Even though we weren’t agreeing it was a great conversation. It’s one of those talks that grows a relationship, I think.

“Hey, I tried to throw him a bone and save him some money.”

 

To purchase Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story, click here.

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Flacco says he wanted to get paid what he’s worth by Ravens

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Flacco says he wanted to get paid what he’s worth by Ravens

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

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Ravens issue friendly reminder about Sunday practice at Stevenson

Posted on 16 August 2012 by WNST Staff

This Sunday (Aug. 19), beginning at 3:30 p.m., the Baltimore Ravens will have their final training camp practice away from the Under Armour Performance Center at Stevenson University. While free to the public, this is a ticketed event, and all tickets have been assigned.

It is important to note that tickets are no longer available, and they have been distributed to fans who entered a lottery on the Ravens’ website earlier this summer and were randomly chosen to attend the practice.

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An Open Letter to Bisciotti, Cass and the Ravens

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An Open Letter to Bisciotti, Cass and the Ravens

Posted on 06 August 2012 by Drew Forrester

Dear Steve, Dick and the rest of the Ravens organization:

Please consider this as a follow-up note to something I wrote about last December when you all announced that training camp was being relocated from Westminster to Owings Mills for 2012.

You guys took a lot of grief from the fans – and some media members – for that decision, although I can proudly say I was one of the folks who implored everyone to exercise some patience and wait and see how the Ravens handled everything before making a full judgement.

I predicted, quite quickly after your decision was announced, that the Ravens would go above and beyond the call-of-duty to make sure  the fans were “taken care of”.  I suggested that fans simply wait and see what plans were made for the summer of 2012 and that my guess was they wouldn’t be disappointed.  I just happen to have a copy of that piece I wrote, in fact.  You can read it HERE. 

As you can see, my prediction was right.

Once again, you all came through.

I was out at Owings Mills last week to witness first-hand how the 250 fans who were “invited guests” were treated.  I watched them interact with the players afterwards and I saw the smiling faces of both parties.  I even took a picture for a family of four from Annapolis out in front of The Castle.  I asked them how their day went and 11-year old Amanda said, “Joe Flacco said ‘I like your braces!’ to me!!”.

That Flacco, what a touch, huh?  By the way…if I haven’t told you this, I will now.  That kid is a helluva quarterback and a terrific representative of your franchise.  I’d go on to tell you to pay him and keep him here long-term, but I know you’re already trying to do that.

Anyway, back to training camp.

I was impressed with what I saw at Owings Mills, but the real litmus test for those promises you made would come on Saturday at the first of the three open practices.

Let me first say this:  I completely understand how much of a pain in the ass it is to move camp to the big stadium for one day.  Most fans (and even some media members) don’t really see how difficult that was to manufacture on Saturday, but I do.

As is usually the case with the Ravens, you all pulled it off like a road win in Cleveland.  With ease.

The practice moved along smoothly and the fans were always aware of the drill that was taking place on the field.  No one was bored.  If watching practice can be considered exciting – and to the 20,000 who were there, it was – then Saturday’s event delivered the goods for everyone.

I watched all of the players make their way around the bowl of the stadium and sign autographs.  I’m sure everyone who wanted one didn’t succeed because of the sheer volume of people, but I’ll tell you what I didn’t see.  I didn’t see one player sign for 25 people and then casually stroll down the steps and off the field.  And I stood there and watched, trust me.  Every guy signed hundreds of autographs.  And then some.

So, congratulations on following through on your promise to keep the fans involved as best as you possibly can.

You won’t get many of these letters, because folks are always quick to bash you but slow to say “Well Done!”.

I’m here to say “Well Done!”

Best wishes for a successful 2012.

DF

P.S. I won’t be this nice to you guys if you lose to the Steelers this season.

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

Posted on 17 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

I honestly still can’t believe some of the things I read/heard/saw last week about Baltimore Ravens OT Bryant McKinnie.

If you missed it, McKinnie was not on the fall last week in Owings Mills during mandatory minicamp at the Under Armour Performance Center. When asked why McKinnie was not practicing, head coach John Harbaugh said “Bryant McKinnie is a guy that we held out just for conditioning purposes. We’re going to probably continue to do that and continue to try and get him in good shape. I think practice-wise, he’s just as well doing the conditioning part of it.”

Let me start this post by saying I fully understand a few things. One is that Harbaugh has never felt the need to share more information than necessary about any of his players. Another is that the information was new to reporters, so asking follow up questions might not have seemed pertinent. I wasn’t present at minicamp (media availability was scheduled during my radio show “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net each day) and was unable to fully grasp exactly what was going on.

With no media availability scheduled before the start of Training Camp, reporters felt it necessary to question Harbaugh later in the week for more information about McKinnie’s status. Unfortunately the coach was again vague, offering “we will leave that between us. That’s something that is an in-house type of thing right now. Bryant has done a good job, he’s worked hard. It’s not as simple as some of you guys want to make it. It’s just a situation where we are going to do what is best for the team, what is best for Bryant. We want him here; there’s no reason he wouldn’t be here. He has worked hard, so you try to do what’s most beneficial for every guy in every situation, and it’s always individualized.”

Now’s the part where I offer some examples of various stories I’ve read about Bryant McKinnie.

Here’s this from SI.com…

“Cut last season by the Vikings, Bryant McKinnie, who sat out Thursday’s practice, may be on the verge of extending an ignominious streak. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season. He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

And this from SB Nation…

“The Baltimore Ravens gave veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie a $500,000 roster bonus earlier this spring, but now might be regretting the outlay of cash. McKinnie came to Baltimore after the Minnesota Vikings cut him last summer for reporting to camp overweight. The Ravens rounded him into shape and he had a pretty solid year, allowing the team to shift Michael Oher over to right tackle and solidify that side of the offensive line.

McKinnie reportedly was on his way to getting in good shape earlier this year, but the most recent news was that the team held him out of the mini-camp this past week for “conditioning reasons.” This does not bode well for either the Ravens nor McKinnie.

Bryant is on the short end of a legal case where he defaulted on a $4 million loan he took out during the NFL Lockout last year and seriously needs a full season paycheck to pay it back. If he does not report to the Ravens Training Camp in six weeks in excellent shape, there is a very good chance that the team may decide to cut ties with him and let him go.”

Allow me to be fair again for a second. The SI.com blurb was a clear re-write with no author attached. While SB Nation does have a handful of experienced journalists and columnists, their sites are still largely made up of part-time writers/editors with no actual experience truly covering a team.

So perhaps CSNBaltimore.com’s veteran writer Ray Frager would be a better source.

“Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie’s conditioning issues have been a big part of the Ravens chatter over this week. There is speculation he is around that 400-pound summit that caused him to lose his job in Minnesota.”

Maybe even the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston would be a better option.

“The entire McKinnie episode is strange and you wonder if he is going to be around when training camp opens. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season.

He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

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Suggs facing reality of difficult road back to field for 2012 season

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Suggs facing reality of difficult road back to field for 2012 season

Posted on 14 June 2012 by Luke Jones

Typically this time of year is one linebacker Terrell Suggs doesn’t enjoy as the Ravens conclude another off-season program.

Like many veterans, Suggs could do without the formality of organized team activities and mandatory minicamps at the team’s Owings Mills facility weeks before the start of training camp in late July. However, everything changed for the five-time Pro Bowl defender after suffering a partially-torn Achilles tendon in late April.

Now, he wishes he could experience the monotony of taking the field for workouts geared more toward rookies and younger players than a 10th-year linebacker coming off the best season of his career.

“This is a very unfamiliar feeling for me,” Suggs said. “I used to dread this. I’d be like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got minicamp.’ Ease us all back and go out in the sun. But now, I’ve never appreciated it so much, because I’ve never had to sit and watch my brothers go to battle without me.”

Instead of thinking about traditional two-a-days and lining up with the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Haloti Ngata this summer, Suggs has his own version of training camp. The 29-year-old rehabs every day by working out, rehabbing his foot, resting and icing his foot, and then repeating the process.

Boldly proclaiming on the day his injury become public knowledge on May 3 he planned to return by November at the latest, Suggs must settle for baby steps now. Earlier this week, he longer required the use of crutches as he can now move around with a walking boot on his right foot.

Asked once again on Thursday if he still targeted November at the latest as his time to return to the field for the Ravens, Suggs offered a more measured perspective while still reinforcing the notion that he’ll do what many think he can’t in 2012.

“I am not a doctor, so [November was] just a guess,” Suggs said. “It feels good now, I guess. We’ll know in my progression when I will actually be able to come back. But like I said before when I first got injured, I will be in a Baltimore Ravens uniform in 2012. The only question is when.”

One of the biggest challenges in recovering from such a devastating injury is following the advice of the doctors and training staff and adhering to the schedule put in place. For a player like Suggs who enters this season having missed only three games in the first nine seasons of his NFL player, it’s only natural to want to push the issue when feeling good in the rehabilitation process.

While the rest of the Ravens organization has expressed cautious optimism and support for Suggs’ claim that he’ll return to play this season, they also understand how challenging that task will be and do not want the talented linebacker to put the rest of his career in jeopardy by pushing too far too fast.

“You work hard, but you do it within the boundaries of what you are able to do at the time,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We have a lot of people who are professional at that. Nothing really needs to be said other than to get back as soon as we can, and part of that is no setback. Professionals take care of that.”

One thing Suggs won’t have to worry about is the organization trying to withhold his base salary this season with him suffering a non-football injury away from the Ravens’ training facility. Suggs once again dismissed reports of him suffering the injury while playing basketball when asked about it on Thursday.

The 6-foot-3 linebacker explained his relationship with the organization was too strong to expect it to go after his 2012 salary, a sentiment shared by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti in comments made last week.

“They’ve always been behind me no matter what was going on or what was happening in my life,” Suggs said. “We’ve got an understanding. I consider this organization my family.”

Suggs’ first public comments about the Achilles injury confirmed once again that no one — including the Ravens’ all-time sacks lead — really knows if he will see the field at some point this fall. But that uncertainty isn’t going to prevent Suggs from trying to do what many consider to be nearly impossible.

For now, he can’t worry about moving past a left tackle or getting to the quarterback as quickly as he can.

The battle is against himself.

“You’ve got to know your body,” Suggs said. “They constantly keep trying to tell me, ‘Rehab and rest. Work as hard as you can.’ Right now, rehab is my football field and until I master it, I won’t be out there. So, I’m definitely trying to become All-Pro at that [as soon as possible].”

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear the entire Terrell Suggs press conference HERE.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 12 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Indiana Fever @ Washington Mystics (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Tennis: ATP Garry Weber Open (Tuesday-Saturday 1pm from Halle, GER on Tennis Channel)

10. Bonnie Raitt (Sunday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Beach Boys (Friday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Neil Diamond (Thursday 8pm Verizon Center); Dave Matthews Band/Gary Clark Jr. (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Martina McBride (Wednesday 8pm Wolf Trap); Reel Big Fish (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Of Montreal (Thursday 8pm Recher Theatre); Lindsey Buckingham (Thursday 9pm Baltimore Soundstage), Lisa Marie Presley (Friday 8:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Kelly Bell Band/Cris Jacobs (Saturday 7pm 8×10 Club); Robert Cray Band (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Grouplove (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Cult (Tuesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Bouncing Souls (Tuesday 7:30pm Black Cat DC); Ziggy Marley (Wednesday 8pm Howard Theatre), Little Richard (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Keane (Thursday 8pm Strathmore); Rush “Clockwork Angels” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’ve already established that “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is the greatest Beach Boys song of all time. Now I point out that I’m an absolute hack because I also enjoy this clip from Full House…

A lot of people know I’m a significant Dave Matthews fan. But do you know that I’ve proclaimed my all time favorite Dave Matthews tune to be THIS?…

And if you go see DMB don’t stay in the parking lot too long. Gary Clark Jr. is freaking AMAZING. You may remember him from a collaboration he had with Ray Lewis a few weeks back at the NFL Draft…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlelbf30A98

Wait…The Cult? Isn’t that the band that does the song from that commercial in that Super Bowl?

9. Star-Spangled Sailabration (Wednesday-Monday Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Locust Point); Rock of Ages” and “That’s My Boy” out in theaters (Friday); Gilbert Gottfried (Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Richard Lewis (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Gary Valentine (Thursday-Saturday DC Improv)

Ryan Chell and I are going to see That’s My Boy Tuesday night. It will probably make six billion dollars and everyone involved will get new cars. It used to piss me off because I don’t really find Adam Sandler’s shtick to be funny anymore, but there are a couple issues involved. One-Adam Sandler sat down with us at the Super Bowl and was really nice. He even opened up about my idol Chris Farley, which is something I found out later he really never does…

Two-over the past few months I’ve developed a unique friendship with Happy Madison star Peter Dante, who might be the best human being on the face of the planet. He’s the guy on the right below…

So now I hope the movie is funny and they make a billion dollars. Damn you, nice guys.

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you’re not familiar with WNST.net MLB analyst Allen McCallum. Allen was once the Ballpark Reporter at WNST, covering the Baltimore Orioles on a daily basis. He’s remained with us in the years since then, appearing once a week in studio (currently with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) to talk Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles.

Allen is a really good dude, but is decidedly un-American in my book. You see, Allen doesn’t like football. I don’t understand it either, trust me. I have every reason to believe he celebrates the 4th of July and enjoys a good slice of Apple Pie, but he loves baseball and just doesn’t care about our national pastime.

Despite this obvious flaw, I’ve maintained a level of friendship and (as much as is possible for someone who I have to imagine may be a communist) respect for Allen. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t understand how someone like him can exist in this country. You see, football is our beautiful game. It’s a game fathers play in the backyard with sons. Baseball is okay when there aren’t real sports to watch, but is clearly inferior to football in every way.

I’m kidding. Well I’m kidding a LITTLE bit anyway.

The reason my lede is about our resident purveyor of Orange Kool-Aid is because Allen likes to make a point during the course of baseball season that is relevant to both sports. As Birds fans have a tendency to freak out over the results of a couple of games (or one game…or a couple of innings…or a single at-bat), Allen likes to send out a reminder that “this isn’t football. There’s 162 games to be played.”

It hasn’t always been good news in Charm City that the O’s have to play 162 games, but the point he makes is relevant. During Ravens season we tend to overreact to one particular game, but we do that knowing that one game reflects roughly six percent of the season. While a NFL team can certainly recover from a stretch of two or three bad games, a bad streak can quickly spiral into killing a quarter of a football season. At the same time, a bad streak of three or four games during baseball season does not even represent the same six percent of the season that one football game represents.

Let me try to step away from math for a second. A single football game is more significant than a single baseball game. But you already knew that.

Seven days ago (which as I type this would have been June 4), there was reason for great concern amongst Baltimore baseball fans. After getting off to a 27-14 start, the Birds were mired in a streak that saw them drop 10 of 13 games. Sitting at 30-24, the Birds had appeared to already be well into their annual “June swoon” and seemed destined to find themselves on their way to the cellar of the AL East.

But something funny happened in the six games that followed. Instead of continuing their free fall, the Birds stabilized. They won two of three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, then returned home to take two dramatic extra inning contests against the Philadelphia Phillies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of thousands of stunned supporters who had made their way down I-95 from The City of Brotherly Love.

(Continued on Page 2….)

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Ravens to rename practice facility Under Armour Performance Center

Posted on 08 June 2012 by WNST Staff

Baltimore, MD (June 8, 2012) – The Baltimore Ravens, who play at M&T Bank Stadium in Camden Yards, and Under Armour (NYSE: UA), the leader in performance apparel, footwear and accessories, whose global headquarters are located downtown at Locust Point, are joining forces in a wide-ranging collaboration that will feature multiple community-focused initiatives. The ten-year agreement also includes naming rights for the Ravens’ practice facility in Owings Mills, which will be renamed the Under Armour Performance Center.

These dynamic organizations are led by nationally-recognized business and civic leaders.  Both Steve Bisciotti, owner of the Baltimore Ravens, and Kevin Plank, the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Under Armour, have enjoyed tremendous success both in the United States and abroad.

“I love the Under Armour brand and am proud that it is Baltimore-based,” Bisciotti said. “They started with football wear that players wanted, and still do. They produce great products. Under Armour is the only partner for our training center. Their success has been off the charts, and this partnership will serve as a long-term platform that will showcase to the nation the best of what two of Baltimore’s strongest companies have to offer.

“We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Steve and the Ravens over the years.  The Under Armour Performance Center is a facility that reflects our shared commitment to making all athletes better and to help the Ravens players excel on game-day,” said Plank. “We are even more excited that our partnership extends off-the-field, and will allow both of us to implement meaningful changes in the community.”

While both the Ravens and Under Armour have been active in improving the community, the two companies will combine to empower local youth and schools through football initiatives.  Specific youth football programs include the creation of annual grants, multiple clinics and statewide competitions.  Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his assistants will play an active role in some of these programs, including a free Under Armour-sponsored clinic for over 400 Carroll County youth on June 16 at McDaniel College.

The creation of an annual 7-on-7 high school flag-football tournament, which already has attracted registration from 72 schools and more than 1,400 students for 2012, highlights the competitive elements of the agreement.

A visible component of the partnership is the renaming of the Ravens’ practice facility to the Under Armour Performance Center, which will host local and national media throughout the year and will showcase two of the city’s most successful corporate entities.

Under Armour recently announced the launch of a local community-based empowerment program, entitled “WIN Baltimore.” The platform is designed to spark positive social change throughout Baltimore and its surrounding neighborhoods by fueling the social, educational and physical advancement of the boys and girls who will serve as the future business and community leaders of the region.

The Ravens franchise, founded in 1996, won Super Bowl XXXV in January of 2001. The team has earned playoffs berths in five of the last six seasons, and they are the NFL’s only team to appear in the playoffs in each of the last four seasons – posting at least one victory in each of those postseasons. Long recognized for their community involvement, the Ravens’ mission is to win football games, serve their fans and be a positive force in the community.

About Under Armour, Inc.

Under Armour® (NYSE: UA) is a leading developer, marketer, and distributor of branded performance apparel, footwear, and accessories. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and worn by athletes at all levels, from youth to professional, on playing fields around the globe. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland, with European headquarters in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium, and additional offices in Denver, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Guangzhou, China. For further information, please visit the Company’s website at www.ua.com.

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Thoughts and observations from second week of Ravens’ OTAs

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Thoughts and observations from second week of Ravens’ OTAs

Posted on 30 May 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated Thursday 12:15 p.m.)

With 18 players absent from Wednesday’s voluntary organized team activity, it was difficult to draw many conclusions from what we saw on the practice field in Owings Mills.

In regards to the decline in attendance from last week when only seven players were absent, head coach John Harbaugh and the rest of the staff would love to see all players present, but the union fought hard for a shorter off-season program and reform in the structure of OTAs. After several veterans blew the whistle on Harbaugh and the Ravens a couple years ago, the head coach was very careful to make sure the OTA schedule was in compliance with the new rules in the collective bargaining agreement.

It’s not surprising to see veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed skipping the voluntary workouts — these activities are designed for learning more than anything — but I didn’t expect to see second-year players such as Jimmy Smith, Jah Reid, and Pernell McPhee missing from the field during Wednesday’s workout. Considering Reid and Smith are competing for starting jobs and McPhee is expecting to see an increased role along the defensive line, I have to question how wise it was for them to be absent while their strongest competitors were all present on Wednesday.

Of course, there are unique circumstances that might prevent a given player from being at OTAs — and the possibility exists that any of these players might have been dealing with some sort of injury — so it would be unfair to judge the aforementioned players too harshly without knowing the full story. The workouts are voluntary, but Harbaugh and the coaching staff will certainly remember who didn’t attend all workouts, especially if any of these players struggle during the mandatory minicamp next month or in training camp.

> Veteran center Matt Birk returned to the practice field after being absent last week, right guard Marshal Yanda and left tackle Bryant McKinnie were not present on Wednesday, leaving a patchwork offensive line to run with the rest of the starting offense.

As previously mentioned, Reid was also absent and rookie offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele missed most of Wednesday’s practice with an undisclosed injury. The result was an offensive line featuring Michael Oher at left tackle and third-year tackle Ramon Harewood on the right side, Justin Boren and Jack Cornell as the guards, and Birk at center — not exactly the line you envision when the Ravens host the Cincinnati Bengals in the regular-season opener.

Harewood struggled mightily at times, jumping early on a couple occasions and being flagged for holding defensive end Arthur Jones at one point during full-team drills. The 6-foot-6, 340-pound tackle from Morehouse had limited football experiences prior to being taken in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, meaning the last two seasons spent on injured reserve have done little for his development. Harewood admits to needing time to knock off rust in getting back on the practice field, but he figures to face an uphill battle in making the 53-man roster this summer and his performance through two weeks of OTAs hasn’t impressed many.

> Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is excited about the addition of veteran return specialist Jacoby Jones as a major factor in returning both kickoffs and punts, but the sixth-year receiver has struggled at wide receiver, dropping a number of passes from quarterback Joe Flacco in two practices open to the media.

Jones does provide a veteran option at the No. 3 receiver spot behind starters Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, but there was a reason why the Houston Texans parted ways with him earlier this off-season. He caught 127 passes and 11 touchdowns in five seasons with Houston, but Jones was often criticized for not having reliable hands and never firmly established himself as a consistent target despite his 6-foot-2, 212-pound frame.

There’s no question Jones can be a nice addition to a Baltimore offense that essentially didn’t have a third receiver last season — unless you count tight end Dennis Pitta, who often lined up in the slot — but as I wrote the day he agreed to terms on a two-year, $7 million contract, fans should temper their expectations of what the 27-year-old can bring as a wide receiver. Regardless of how Jones fares as a receiver, his speed should be a welcome addition to a return game that was largely stagnant in 2011.

> Second-year receiver LaQuan Williams was impressive on Wednesday, catching nearly everything thrown his way over the course of the two-hour practice. Williams made a one-handed catch at one point and hauled in a pass on a fade route inside the red zone.

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