Posted on 20 October 2015 by WNST Staff
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Posted on 26 August 2015 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With many still discussing his controversial hit on Philadelphia quarterback Sam Bradford, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is taking the criticism from Eagles players and fans in stride.
In fact, it’s the kind of role the 32-year-old has embraced throughout his 13-year NFL career.
“I think you’re naturally the villain when you go into an opponent’s stadium anyway,” Suggs said. “You might as well not shy away from it. You might as well just bask in it and enjoy it. I’m not supposed to be the opponent’s favorite player. You’re not supposed to like me. I don’t play for you. I represent Ravens nation, so I just enjoy it.”
Though the NFL announced this week that Suggs should not have been penalized for the first-quarter hit on Bradford in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Eagles, many still took exception to him hitting the Eagles signal caller’s knees after he suffered left ACL injuries in each of the last two years.
Asked to respond to Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett’s harsh words about the league’s protection of its quarterbacks, Suggs was diplomatic while taking a playful jab at his own general manager’s prominent role in making decisions regarding the rules.
“Those guys get a lot of our sponsors,” said Suggs of quarterbacks. “A lot of those guys are good-looking guys, so you don’t want to damage them too much. It’s still the most valuable position on the field, so you’ve got to protect them.
“But if we’ve got anybody to blame, it’s all on Ozzie Newsome. He’s on the competition committee, so he kind of helped put the rules in. Probably have to talk to Ozzie about that.”
Suggs says he’s had plenty of dialogue with Newsome about the subject, but he admitted not wanting to see his own quarterback, Joe Flacco, in harm’s way.
“He said the quarterback keeps a lot of people employed, so we’ve got to protect them,” said Suggs about Newsome’s thoughts. “I understand — I wouldn’t want my guy getting mistreated.”
Offensive line in flux
Six offensive linemen remained sidelined during Wednesday’s practice, including starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (arm) and starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles tendon).
The problem is further compounded with both James Hurst (concussion) and Ryan Jensen (undisclosed) missing the workout after both saw time at left tackle against Philadelphia. Should none of the aforementioned players be available to play in the third preseason game against Washington on Saturday, the Ravens could be forced to move backup right tackle Jah Reid to the blind side.
Would an unsettled line situation impact how much Flacco plays against the Redskins?
“If something happens in the game, it possibly could,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “But the way we’re going into the game, we’re comfortable with the guys that are going to play and start on the offensive line. [We think] that they’ll do a great job.”
Rookie offensive tackles De’Ondre Wesley (knee) and Darryl Baldwin were also missing from Wednesday’s practice while fellow rookie Blaine Clausell returned to the field.
In addition to the six offensive linemen, the Ravens were without cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (hamstring), Rashaan Melvin, and Tramain Jacobs, wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Michael Campanaro (soft tissue issue), linebacker Steve Means (groin), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) on Wednesday.
Melvin has now missed three straight practices, but the Ravens coach wouldn’t specify exactly what the ailment is.
“He’s got a soft-tissue issue that he’s working through — probably a typical training camp thing — so we’ll see,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know if he’ll be there or not on Saturday. I’ve got my fingers crossed.”
The third-year cornerback missed two practices at the beginning of the month with a hamstring strain.
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Posted on 24 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Philadelphia – I’m a little conflicted on Citizens Bank Park. I’ll be the first to admit that I had a love affair with The Vet. But this is one of many places in MLB where they’ve dramatically upgraded the baseball experience from our childhood. The stadium has an open viewing area that really allows folks to stay engaged in the game from anywhere. The outfield eating district is outstanding in Ashburn Alley. And even though the team stinks in 2015, there’s been a lot of action in the short history of Citizens Bank Ballpark. Go and see for yourself. It’s a nice little ballpark in South Philly.
On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/
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Posted on 23 August 2015 by Luke Jones
Like it or not, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs has developed a reputation around the NFL for being a dirty player.
So, it came as no surprise that his penalized hit on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford drew plenty of criticism after Saturday’s game. Eagles tackle Jason Peters said he was “pretty sure he planned it” after the teams practiced together all week.
It was probably unnecessary for Suggs to hit Bradford in the knees, but a quarterback isn’t supposed to be treated as a “quarterback” when running the read option, a play in which one defensive player is responsible for the quarterback potentially keeping the ball while another defender targets the running back. When the league goes to desperate lengths to protect its quarterbacks, we’ll find plenty of examples like this one that make us ask where we draw the line and officials face the same problem in real time.
It’s not a defensive player’s job to stand there as the play develops and think, “Did he really sell the threat to run enough with that read-option play?” Any football player will tell you indecisiveness leads to big plays by the opposition and potential injury to yourself.
Ultimately, it’s a violent game in which players get hurt and have gotten hurt countless times. It’s not a defensive player’s responsibility to be thinking about a quarterback’s medical history, particularly if he’s executing a play in which he frequently serves as a runner.
Regardless of the play itself, Suggs’ comments after the game were spot on as it relates to Eagles coach Chip Kelly and the handling of his new quarterback in Philadelphia.
“When you run the read option, you have to know the rules,” Suggs said. “If you want to run the read option with your starting quarterback that has had two knee surgeries, that’s on you. That’s not my responsibility to update you on the rules. I could have hit him harder than that. I eased up.”
The comments sound harsh, but Suggs is right.
And whether the hit to the knee was intentional or not — hitting a ball carrier in that area isn’t illegal, just to be clear — Bradford is an easy target if the Eagles insist on using the read-option attack. He’s going to be hit and potentially hit in the knees.
This isn’t a matter of wishing ill will on Bradford as you hope he can finally stay healthy.
It’s just football.
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Posted on 23 August 2015 by Luke Jones
PHILADELPHIA — Midway through the second quarter of the Ravens’ 40-17 preseason defeat to Philadelphia on Saturday, one question came to mind in regards to the abysmal performance.
How much uglier might it have been had Baltimore not practiced against the Eagles the previous three days?
Head coach John Harbaugh said his team had “plenty to learn” from one of the worst preseason performances in franchise history and cited the lack of game-planning against Chip Kelly’s unique offensive attack as a factor, but when Bryn Renner, Terrence Magee, Fitz Toussaint, and Tom Nelson figure prominently into your first scoring drive after you’ve already given up 30 points, it isn’t difficult to conclude how the night went.
What was reinforced on Saturday is that you’ll get your butts kicked in the NFL if you’re banged up and play poorly.
As frustrating as it was to watch, it was only a preseason game, making the performance ugly but inconsequential to the big picture as the Ravens will go back to work on Monday. Joe Flacco threw interceptions on the first two offensive possessions, the defense couldn’t stop the run, and the Ravens committed nine penalties for 82 yards in the first half — four others were declined by the Eagles over the first 30 minutes — but none of those factors should have anyone rethinking Baltimore’s expectations for the 2015 season just yet.
The injuries are concerning, however, as the absence of rookie Breshad Perriman was felt on Flacco’s first interception that came on a deep throw intended for Kamar Aiken, who is hardly a burner in terms of speed. Flacco isn’t free of blame as the pass was underthrown, but you couldn’t help but assume a play like that is designed for the speedy Perriman, who was taken in the first round of this year’s draft to replace Torrey Smith.
Perriman still hasn’t practiced since injuring his knee on July 30 and the Ravens are without a wideout who can stretch the field until the 6-foot-2 Central Florida product finally returns to action. Three weeks still remain before the season opener in Denver, but it’s fair to wonder how ready he’ll be to make a significant impact early in the season after missing so much valuable practice time this month.
The current state of the offensive line is also a mess as the night began with starters Kelechi Osemele and Rick Wagner sidelined and only got worse from there. James Hurst drew the start at right tackle in place of Wagner since backup right tackle Jah Reid was also out with back spasms, but Hurst exited the game with a concussion in the first quarter and was replaced by rookie De’Ondre Wesley, who promptly injured his knee.
It was unthinkable to see Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda move out to right tackle in a preseason game when the Ravens have a 90-man roster, but that’s what it came to late in the first quarter. Fortunately, Flacco’s health remained intact as the Ravens had to wonder if director of player development and Super Bowl XXXV right tackle Harry Swayne might need to suit up before the night was over.
How concerning are the injuries with nine offensive linemen — left tackle Eugene Monroe was also seen icing his arm on the sideline — currently less than 100 percent?
“Those guys are all slated to come back, to my knowledge,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see about Wesley. I don’t think there’s anybody else off the top of my head that wouldn’t be slated to come back. At one point, we had three guys playing out of position who had never practiced [at their new spots] before. I thought they did a pretty good job with that.
“That’s the preseason. That’s how it works.”
Thankfully, it was only the preseason.
Because the impact of the injuries and the overall sloppiness weren’t indicative of a team with high aspirations for 2015.
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Posted on 22 August 2015 by Luke Jones
PHILADELPHIA — The Ravens enter their second preseason game of the summer against the Philadelphia Eagles with injury concerns along the offensive line.
Left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles) and right tackle Rick Wagner (leg) were not suited up to play during pre-game warmups, meaning Ryan Jensen and James Hurst were in line to start at their respective positions. Four reserve linemen were also out with injuries including John Urschel (concussion), Jah Reid (back), Darryl Baldwin, and Blaine Clausell.
Baltimore was also missing two starters on the opposite side of the ball as cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring) and defensive end Chris Canty were not suited up to play. Webb has been sidelined since before the first preseason game while Canty has been participated in practices, making one speculate that the 32-year-old’s absence is based more on his veteran status.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot) and safety Terrence Brooks (knee) went through pre-game warmups and appear set to make their preseason debuts. Smith was held out of the first preseason game for precautionary reasons while Brooks was activated from the physically unable to perform list earlier this week.
As expected, rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman will not play against the Eagles as he remains sidelined with a knee injury suffered on July 30. Joining him on the sideline is second-year wideout Michael Campanaro, who did not take part in Friday’s walk-through practice in Philadelphia.
The referee for Saturday’s game is Jerome Boger.
The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Philadelphia dons its white tops with white pants.
Baltimore is 47-29 in all-time preseason play and 20-9 under Harbaugh. The Ravens and the Eagles are meeting in the preseason for the 12th time with Baltimore owning a 7-4 record.
Teams are not required to release a list of inactive for preseason games, but below is an unofficial list of Ravens players on the 90-man roster who are not expected to play on Saturday night:
WR Michael Campanaro
WR Breshad Perriman
CB Lardarius Webb
LB Steven Means
OT Darryl Baldwin
OT Blaine Clausell
G John Urschel
OT Rick Wagner
G Kelechi Osemele
OT Jah Reid
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore
DE Chris Canty
TE Dennis Pitta
TE Allen Reisner
S Matt Elam
DE Brent Urban
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Posted on 22 August 2015 by Luke Jones
A four-day trip to Philadelphia culminates with the Ravens’ second preseason game of the summer with the Eagles on Saturday night.
Unlike last year’s three-day practice session with San Francisco that followed a preseason game, the Ravens should be very familiar with Chip Kelly’s team after two days of full workouts and Friday’s walk-through leading into their preseason contest. By most accounts, the trip was productive with only a few skirmishes that paled in comparison to fights that have taken place elsewhere between teams practicing together.
“They treated us very well, and we had three really good practices with a good football team,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We felt like we’ve improved. You see schemes you don’t normally see, the way routes are run or different types of plays on both sides of the ball that you don’t normally see. It’s great to get a chance to expose yourself to some different schemes.”
After the starting offense put together a 16-play touchdown drive in its only action in the preseason opener, Harbaugh could push his starters to play the entire first quarter in the second game of the summer. As always, that will depend on the number of plays each drive consumes and the plan will be individualized with some starters being removed early and younger first-teamers playing a little bit more.
Saturday marks the first time that Baltimore will play the Eagles in the preseason since 2011. The teams played in 10 out of the first 12 years of the Ravens’ existence, making the recent lull somewhat surprising given the geographic proximity between the teams.
The Ravens are 7-4 against Philadephia in the all-time preseason series and 1-2-1 against them in their regular-season history. They are set to meet in the 2016 regular season, which will push back a joint-practice reunion until at least the following year.
Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report
The Ravens are not required to release an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released ahead of Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia.
Most of the players ruled to be out will come as no surprise, but the status of a few will be in question. This list, of course, will not include any veterans who may be held out of the preseason opener due to the coaching staff’s preference.
Again, this is not an official injury report released by the Ravens:
OUT: WR Breshad Perriman (knee), CB Lardarius Webb (hamstring), TE Dennis Pitta (hip), S Matt Elam (biceps), DE Brent Urban (biceps), TE Allen Reisner (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: G Kelechi Osemele (Achilles), OT Jah Reid (back), LB Steven Means (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: OT Rick Wagner (foot), S Terrence Brooks (knee), G John Urschel (concussion), G Robert Myers (concussion), DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (undisclosed), OT Darryl Baldwin (undisclosed), OL Blaine Clausell (undisclosed)
PROBABLE: DT Timmy Jernigan (foot), WR Marlon Brown (back), DE DeAngelo Tyson (elbow), CB Asa Jackson (knee)
Five players to watch Saturday night
CB Rashaan Melvin
The absence of Lardarius Webb continues to create more opportunities for Melvin, who did a respectable job down the stretch last year until major struggles in the playoff loss to New England. Overall, the 6-foot-2 corner has practiced well this summer, impressing against the Eagles this week. With veteran Kyle Arrington better suited to play inside in the nickel package, the 25-year-old Melvin is an intriguing option for the future with Webb approaching 30 and not the player he was a few years ago. A strong performance by Melvin in the second preseason game could put some heat on the veteran once his hamstring is finally healthy.
WR Darren Waller
Few players have improved as much from the spring until now as the sixth-round pick from Georgia Tech, who is developing rapidly for a 6-foot-6 receiver with few opportunities in Paul Johnson’s triple-option attack. Despite being 245 pounds, Waller runs better routes than you’d expect and is sinking his hips better when trying to change directions. At the start of the summer, the practice squad appeared to be a realistic option for the tall wideout, but Waller looks more and more like a player who could help the Ravens inside the red zone while continuing to learn the finer points of the position. Baltimore has had plenty of tall receivers in the past, but he shows signs of a better skill set to go along with his height.
OL Ryan Jensen
With Osemele, Urschel, and Myers all recently dealing with health concerns, Jensen could draw a start at left guard against the Eagles after playing well this summer. A favorite of offensive line coach Juan Castillo, the Colorado State-Pueblo product is moving into position to earn a roster spot with the ability to play all three interior line positions, the kind of versatility that is valuable on game days. At 6-foor-4 and 310 pounds, Jensen will have his hands full with a very talented Philadelphia defensive line, but Saturday will be a good litmus test if he indeed plays in place of the hobbled Osemele.
LB Albert McClellan
The veteran linebacker has been a mainstay on the roster, but the younger Zach Orr has emerged as not only a special-teams standout but a viable backup linebacker and it’s clear the Ravens would still like to salvage some value out of disappointing 2013 second-round pick Arthur Brown. These factors make you wonder if there will be room for all three on the 53-man roster. McClellan struggled at inside linebacker in the preseason opener, but he does have the ability to play all four linebacker spots in the Baltimore base defense, something that shouldn’t be overlooked when only a few reserve linebackers are active on game days. He’ll need to have a better showing against the Eagles to improve his roster standing.
TE Nick Boyle
Second-round pick Maxx Williams clearly possesses more upside for the future, but Boyle is showing more ability as a receiver than many anticipated and had a strong showing practicing against the Eagles this week. He has had some issues with drops at times, but the Ravens liked his hands at Delaware and believe he can be a solid all-around player at the position. Crockett Gillmore is the clear No. 1 tight end at this point, but Boyle’s ability to block and catch a few passes might earn him a few more chances in certain formations than Williams. He could be a surprising contributor inside the red zone if he can show consistent ability to block as a rookie, which the Ravens will need behind Gillmore’s expanded role.
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Posted on 15 June 2015 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — Mulling ways to improve their corner outfield situation, the Orioles are preparing to select the contract of Chris Parmelee from Triple-A Norfolk as early as Tuesday.
The 2006 first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins joined the Orioles in Baltimore prior to the series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies, but manager Buck Showalter confirmed he would not be activated for Monday’s game. Parmelee had a June 15 opt-out clause in the minor-league contract he signed with the club in the offseason and had already extended it once earlier this season.
Seeing time at both corner outfield spots as well as at first base with the Tides, the 27-year-old was hitting .316 with six home runs, 32 RBIs, 13 doubles, and an .826 on-base plus slugging percentage in 265 plate appearances this season. Parmelee was a career .249 hitter with 24 homers, 85 RBIs, and a .709 OPS in 901 plate appearances for the Twins over four major league seasons.
“We like him. He’s having as good of a year as anybody in Triple A for our team and for the other teams,” Showalter said. “He’s played the outfield well and first base. He can do a lot of things.”
Parmelee was in the clubhouse and took batting practice, but he was not permitted to be in the dugout during Monday’s game.
The Orioles hope he can offer some offensive production from the left side of the plate that they haven’t received from lefty outfielders Travis Snider and David Lough so far this season. It will be interesting to see how the club makes room for him on the 25-man roster since Snider, Lough, and Steve Pearce are all out of minor-league options.
Parmelee hopes the success he had in the International League will translate to helping the Orioles continue their recent winning ways.
“I’m just trying to stay as consistent as possible,” Parmelee said. “It goes from the routine in the cage and coming out and running every day and having a routine and staying with it. Staying positive is one of the most important things. The decision was made, and I’m happy to be here.”
Schoop back in Baltimore
Returning from a lengthy stint at extended spring training in Sarasota, second baseman Jonathan Schoop was back on the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Monday afternoon, fielding grounders and taking batting practice.
Schoop has been sidelined with a right knee injury for the last two months, but he is currently scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie on Friday.
“That was encouraging. That was fun to watch,” said Showalter of Schoop’s on-field workout. “He looks good. He should. He was pretty excited to get out of [Florida].”
Schoop has received plenty of at-bats in extended spring games, but the last hurdle to clear for the 23-year-old was decelerating when running, according to Showalter. The infielder hadn’t been playing the field in those extended spring games, but vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson traveled to Sarasota last week to work out Schoop to gauge where he was from a physical standpoint.
Simply rejoining his teammates in Baltimore and knowing he’ll be traveling with them to Philadelphia later this week has Schoop excited about his pending return. Showalter has stressed that the Orioles will be cautious in making sure the young infielder is completely ready before activating him from the disabled list.
“I want to play. I feel strong and I’m not thinking about [the knee],” Schoop said. “I feel stronger than before.”
Machado named AL Player of the Week
Third baseman Manny Machado was named American League Player of the Week from June 8-14 while helping the Orioles to a season-high six-game winning streak.
The 22-year-old collected four multi-hit games and batted .458 (11-for-24) with two homers, five RBIs, and a 1.269 OPS. Machado entered Monday’s game sporting an eight-game hitting streak.
“It feels good. It was a good week for the team and it was mostly a team thing,” said Machado of the award. “The team was playing well and we were all hitting well. If it wasn’t for my teammates and my guys being on base, I wouldn’t have been here.”
W. Wright to begin rehab assignment
Left-handed relief pitcher Wesley Wright will begin a minor-league rehab assignment on Tuesday and is scheduled to pitch one inning for Triple-A Norfolk.
The 30-year-old has been on the disabled list with a left trapezius strain since the first week of the regular season.
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Posted on 09 June 2015 by Luke Jones
The Ravens have finalized their 2015 training camp schedule, which will again include an open practice at M&T Bank Stadium for fans to attend.
In what’s become a yearly tradition, fans are invited attend the stadium practice on Monday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. for an early look at this year’s Ravens. Admission is free.
The first full-squad camp practice takes place on July 30, a day after all veterans must report to the team’s Owings Mills training complex for the first team meeting of the summer.
Rookies report on July 22 with injured veterans arriving on July 24 and quarterbacks on July 26. Players must report for physicals, conditioning tests, and football school before they are allowed to practice.
Training camp breaks on Aug. 18 when the team travels to Philadelphia for three days of practices with the Eagles before their nationally-televised preseason game on Aug. 22.
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Posted on 09 May 2015 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — For the second straight year, the Ravens will participate in joint practices with one of their preseason opponents during this summer’s training camp.
After hosting the San Francisco 49ers for three practices following the preseason opener last summer, head coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens will travel to the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia to work out for three days with the Eagles prior to their preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 22. Harbaugh will finalize the practice schedule with Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in the near future.
Unlike last year when he was welcoming his brother to Owings Mills, Harbaugh says he isn’t very familiar with Kelly, but Jim Harbaugh — the former head coach at Stanford — coached against Kelly’s Oregon Ducks for several years in what is now known as the Pacific-12 Conference.
“We’re excited about that. We’re looking forward to it,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know Chip very well, but Jim’s always spoken real highly of him, and I obviously have great respect for him.”
The Ravens had never held practices with another team prior to last year, but they previously scrimmaged with the Washington Redskins a few times prior to the Harbaugh era. Baltimore hasn’t played the Eagles since 2012 and will host Philadelphia in the regular season next year, which would likely rule out a potential trip by the Eagles to Owings Mills next summer.
This summer will mark the first preseason game between the Ravens and the Eagles since 2011. The Interstate 95 neighbors have met 11 times in the preseason with Baltimore holding a 7-4 edge.
“We were just talking at the owners’ meetings,” said Harbaugh about his interactions with Kelly. “We were kind of wondering why we don’t play each other more in the preseason and to see if we can work something out. It looks like we’re going to be able to do that.”
Ravens studying logistics for trips out west
With two occurrences of back-to-back road games against teams out west, the Ravens continue to weigh their options over whether to stay out there to limit the number of cross-country trips in the regular season.
Nothing is set in stone, but the Ravens may remain out west after their season opener against Denver to then play at Oakland in Week 2. Baltimore also plays in San Francisco in Week 6 before traveling to Arizona for a Monday night game the following week.
“We have not made a final decision on staying out there. We’re leaning in that direction, especially the first week,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see about the second week; it’s a little bit of a longer trip. We have a couple of sleep-study doctors and time-zone doctors and things like that who we’re talking to.
“We just want to do the smartest thing, whatever it is. We’ll probably have a decision on that within two weeks, I’d say.”
After the Ravens’ well-documented injuries at cornerback during the 2014 season, the first injury of 2015 was suffered by another playing that same position.
Participating in this weekend’s rookie minicamp, free-agent cornerback Julian Wilson suffered a fractured lower leg on Friday and will miss the 2015 season. The 6-foot-2 Oklahoma product was considered an undrafted rookie to watch this summer, but he will instead spend his rookie season on injured reserve.
“He’ll be out for the year, and he’ll move on from that,” Harbaugh said. “He’ll still be with us and be a part of us. He has a lot of potential as a player, so it was disappointing in that sense.”
Harbaugh mum on Wells report
Asked to comment about the Ted Wells report released on the New England Patriots’ deflated footballs scandal, Harbaugh wasn’t about to take the bait.
“Our business is right here,” said Harbaugh, who declined comment and quipped that he’s been too busy to read the entire report. “This is our business right here in Baltimore. We’ll take care of our business. Thanks.”
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