Tag Archive | "Ravens"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Baltimore Sports Quiz — for real Baltimore sports fans

Posted on 24 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

You can fake a lot of things.

People can have thousands of Facebook friends and fake popularity.  Men can wear a power tie and fake success.  Women can fake orgasms.

It’s just the way of the world.

But you can’t fake sports.  In fact, it might be the one true thing you can’t fake.  And if you want to know what “faking” sounds like while it’s happening, tune in and listen to a Cast-off New York Cop and the Smartest Guy in an Empty Bathroom bumble through their idea of local sports talk every morning.

Last night, at Buffalo Wild Wings in Owings Mills, as part of the Baltimore Sports Media Superstar Competition, WNST proved why it’s the only sports media outlet who has the right to call itself “real” Baltimore sports talk.

The quiz that Nestor and the crew drummed up was the type of stuff that would make even the most seasoned historians, like Bob in Parkville, shutter before going into one of his classic historic tirades.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most of the sports media in this town wouldn’t come near any sort of respectable score on the WNST quiz.

I’ve taken a lot of local sports quizzes from outlets like The Sun–and I’ve aced them all without so much as breaking a sweat.  WNST’s was the toughest I’ve ever seen and I loved every minute of it.  It was exactly what you’d expect from real sports people.  The ones who don’t fake it.

In order to join in the festivities, I’m tossing out a quiz of my own quiz this evening.  If you can pass this with an “A,” you can call yourself a Baltimore Sports Fan.  If you struggle, well, I suggest you rectify your sins by taking a deep-dive into the past works of Steadman, Rosenthal, Eisenberg, McMullen, Aparicio, and Vecsey.  Ok–just kidding on the Vecsey thing; those of you who lived through and endured that horror will understand the sarcasm.

 

Here’s the Wiz Quiz–straight off the top of my head…

#1  In what year did the St. Louis Browns move to Baltimore?

#2  What was Rex Barney’s famous tag-line?

#3  What is the significance of Cubs GM Theo Epstein to Baltimore?

#4  Who was the first player to enter the Ravens’ Ring of Honor?

#5  Baltimore had three minor league hockey teams, what were their names?

#6  Baltimore’s USFL team’s nickname was?

#7  Which player won a Grey Cup with the Stallions and a Super Bowl with the Ravens?

#8  Who was the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Stallions during their Grey Cup victory?

#9  Who owned the Baltimore Stallions?

#10  Former Maryland Terps Basketball Coach, Bob Wade, has what significance to Baltimore?

#11  Which former Orioles’ pitching prospect had vanity license plates that read “24KTARM”?

#12  Which Orioles’ third baseman won Sporting News’ AL Rookie of the Year Honors in 1989?

#13  Cal Ripken Sr. wore which jersey number as a coach for the Orioles?

#14  Which two former Orioles make up two of only four members in MLB history to record more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs?

#15  Which movie was filmed at Camden Yards?

#16  Which movie was filmed at Ravens Stadium?

#17  Which owner played a major role in Baltimore not being awarded an expansion team over Jacksonville and Carolina?

#18  Who was the owner of the fashion store Merry-Go-Round, who also played a key role in the  ”Give Baltimore the Ball” campaign?

#19  Which receiver holds the Ravens’ single-season record of 14 touchdown receptions?

#20  Who was “Zeus”?

#21  Who was “Full Pack”?

#22  Which Orioles’ favorite was known for eating Froot Loops before games?

#23  In the 1989 season, in the fateful series in Toronto to finish the season, what strange injury caused Pete Harnish to miss his scheduled start?

#24  Which former Oklahoma Sooners basketball star was once thought to be the heir apparent to Cal Ripken?

#25  Who was “Iron Hands”?

#26  Who returned the blocked Al Del Greco field goal for a touchdown in Tennessee, paving the way for the Ravens to move on to the AFC Championship in January 2001?

#27  Which Ravens’ defensive back fueled much of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry by stepping on Plaxico Burress’ head during a scuffle?

#28  What is significant about the Esskay sign in right field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards?

#29  Who is Len Burrier?

#30  Which long-time NFL punter went to Towson University?

#31  Which Dunbar standout played alongside of Joe Smith, Exree Hipp, Johnny Rhodes and Duane Simpkins?

#32  What number did Deion Sanders wear as a member of the Ravens, and why?

#33  What is it customary to hold up as visiting opponents’ lineups are being announced at the University of Maryland basketball games?

#34  Which former O’s pitcher lost 21 games in 1954, and went on to throw the only perfect game in World Series history two years later as a member of the New York Yankees?

#35  Why would a true Baltimore fan despise the number that precedes this question?

 

Do you know this stuff without Googling?  Have a trivia question for me?  Shoot a message or leave a comment on how you did.

Check back on Friday for the answers.

 

 

Comments (0)

Wide receiver LaQuan Williams returning to Ravens

Tags: , , , ,

Wide receiver LaQuan Williams returning to Ravens

Posted on 24 April 2014 by Luke Jones

Former Ravens wide receiver LaQuan Williams announced on Twitter that he was coming home on Thursday afternoon.

The former University of Maryland product and Poly grad has rejoined the Ravens after being waived at the end of the 2013 preseason, agent Chad Wiestling confirmed to WNST.net. Williams spent a brief time with the New England Patriots last November but did not appear in a game during the 2013 season.

“Feels good to be back home #RavensNation,” Williams wrote on his official Twitter account.

Williams was one of the feel-good stories of the 2011 season as the Baltimore native made the 53-man roster as a rookie free agent and caught four passes for 46 yards while appearing in 12 games primarily as a special-teams contributor. The 25-year-old played in 11 games in 2012 but did not catch a pass and finished the season on injured reserve.

With the Ravens deciding last year that Williams was no longer in their plans, the former Terp faces an uphill battle to make the roster, but his special-teams ability always makes him someone to watch during the preseason.

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ravens among top ten “smartest spenders” in all of sports according to Bloomberg

Posted on 24 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Bruins, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Rays Lead Bloomberg Businessweek’s “Smartest Spenders in Sports” 2014 Ranking

 

“Efficiency Index” ranks how well all 122 franchises in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB turned wages into wins over last five seasons

 

NEW YORK (April 24, 2014) – Today Bloomberg Businessweek released its Smartest Spenders in Sports 2014 ranking of all 122 franchises in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, rating them based on how much they spent in player payroll for every win during the last five seasons. The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks come in #1 thanks to their five playoff trips, two Stanley Cups, and placing 13th in spending. The Blackhawks are followed by MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals at #2, NHL’s Boston Bruins at #3, NFL’s New England Patriots at #4, and MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays at #5. Coming in last on the ranking at #122 is MLB’s Chicago Cubs, with an average five-year payroll of nearly $120 million and no post-season victories during that time. The Smartest Spenders in Sports is online now at businessweek.com at http://buswk.co/SmartSports2014, and will be in the new issue of the magazine on newsstands tomorrow, Friday, April 25, 2014.

 

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ira Boudway and Evan Applegate compared each team against the average price per win in its league to produce a score called the “efficiency index”: The less a team spends compared to its peers, the lower its score. Playoff victories and championships get extra weight. Boudway is available for interviews as well.

 

Payroll data come from the best available published sources. Season records included for the NHL and NBA were from 2008-9 to 2012-13; records included for the NFL and MLB were from 2009-13. Playoff wins count for 10 percent of a season (e.g., 16.2 wins in baseball); Wild Card wins get half credit; Championships count for 50 percent of a season (81 wins in baseball).

 
Rounding out the top 10 teams on Bloomberg Businessweek’s Smartest Spenders in Sports 2014 ranking after the #1 Chicago Blackhawks (efficiency index: -1.59), St. #2 Louis Cardinals (ei: -1.55), #3 Boston Bruins (ei: -1.50), #4 New England Patriots (ei: -1.46) and #5 Tampa Bay Rays (ei: -1.43) are: #6 NBA’s Miami Heat (ei: -1.39), #7 NFL’s Baltimore Ravens (ei: -1.38), #8 NFL’s Green Bay Packers (ei: -1.38), #9 MLB’s San Francisco Giants, and #10 MLB’s Texas Rangers. Joining the Chicago Cubs (efficiency index: 2.61) in the bottom 10 least efficient spenders are #121 NHL’s Edmonton Oilers (ei: 2.21), #120 NBA’s Washington Wizards (ei: 2.17), #119 NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves (ei: 2.14), #118 MLB’s New York Mets (ei: 2.03), #117 NFL’s St. Louis Rams (ei: 2.02), #116 NFL’s Cleveland Browns (ei: 1.97), #115 NFL’s Washington Redskins (ei: 1.85), #114 NBA’s Sacramento Kings (ei: 1.60), #113 NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets (ei: 1.56) and #112 MLB’s Chicago White Sox (ei: 1.53).

 

An interactive version of the Smartest Spenders in Sports 2014 index is available on businessweek.com. Readers can sort the rankings by league and adjust the weights with their own values to see how the rankings change.

 

NOTABLE FINDINGS FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK’S Smartest Spenders in Sports 2014:
By League:

 

MLB: Top team is the St. Louis Cardinals (#2); least efficient is the Chicago Cubs (#122)

NFL: Top team is the New England Patriots (#4); least efficient is the St. Louis Rams (#117)

NBA: Top team is the Miami Heat (#6); least efficient is the Washington Wizards (#120)

NHL: Top team is the Chicago Blackhawks (#1); least efficient is the Edmonton Oilers (#121)
By Market:
Boston: Three Boston area teams make the top 25 – The Bruins at #3, Patriots at #4, and Celtics at #23 – while the Red Sox come in at #86, due to their lost 2012 season.
ChicagoChicago teams claim the first and last spots on this year’s ranking – the Blackhawks are #1 and the Cubs are #122. The Bulls are #27, Bears are #57, and the White Sox are #112.
Los Angeles: The City of Angels sees the LA Kings at #13, Lakers at #18, Anaheim Ducks at #56, Clippers at #68, Dodgers at #80, and Angels at #102.

New York AreaNo New York area teams rank in the top 30, and five of the area’s nine teams rank in the bottom half of the list. The New York Giants are #32, New Jersey Devils are #43, New York Rangers are #47, New York Jets are #50, Knicks are #77, Islanders are #91, Yankees are #92, Brooklyn Nets are #98, and the Mets are #118.
Washington DC/ Baltimore: Washington is the only market to have two teams in the bottom 10 slots: The Redskins are #115 – and one of the three worst franchises in the NFL – and the Washington Wizards are #120. The Baltimore Ravens are #7, Washington Capitals are #30, Washington Nationals are #58, and the Baltimore Orioles are #70.

# # #

Comments (0)

Ravens release 2014 schedule featuring three primetime games

Tags: , , , ,

Ravens release 2014 schedule featuring three primetime games

Posted on 23 April 2014 by Luke Jones

For the first time in franchise history, the Baltimore Ravens are scheduled to meet AFC North rival Pittsburgh in primetime for both regular-season meetings.

After opening the season at M&T Bank Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept 7., the Ravens will welcome the Steelers to Baltimore four days later in their lone Thursday night game of the season. Baltimore is then slated to travel to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night game on Nov. 2, which would mark the third time in four years that the division rivals have played at Heinz Field on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

The Ravens’ third primetime appearance will fall on Nov. 24 when they travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints, which will be Baltimore’s lone Monday night game of the 2014 season.

Other highlights of the 2014 schedule include a Sept. 28 meeting with the Carolina Panthers in which new wide receiver Steve Smtih will welcome his former team to Baltimore. New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and the Ravens travel to Houston to take on the Texans on Dec. 21.

Their Week 11 bye is the latest the Ravens have had in the regular season since 2001, which will likely please head coach John Harbaugh in trying to get back to the playoffs after last season’s 8-8 finish. Baltimore will finish the regular season with four contests against non-playoff teams who went a combined 18-46 a year ago.

The Ravens will play six games against playoff teams from last season: Carolina, Cincinnati (twice), Indianapolis, New Orleans, and San Diego.

For the first time since the 2009 season, the Ravens will not conclude the regular season against the Bengals, instead hosting the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 28. Five of Baltimore’s six divisional games fall in the first nine weeks of the 2014 season with the season finale against Cleveland wrapping up the Ravens’ slate of AFC North games.

The Ravens open the year with three straight division games for the third time ever after previously doing it in 2004 and 2008. This makes a good start imperative if a third AFC North title in four years is in Baltimore’s plans.

This year marks only the third time in franchise history that the Ravens will open the season with consecutive home games after previously enjoying that luxury in 1997 and 2008.

2014 SCHEDULE

Sunday, Sept. 7 vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: This year is certainly big for quarterback Andy Dalton, but the Bengals are the only team in the AFC North to have made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.

Thursday, Sept. 11 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:25 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: The rivalry has lost some of its shine with so many big-name players exiting in the last couple years, but Mike Tomlin’s sideline trick last Thanksgiving has created new animosity for Ravens fans.

Sunday, Sept. 21 at Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens lost in Cleveland last year for the first time since 2007 and will be coming off extra rest following their Week 2 contest, which spells trouble for Mike Pettine’s Browns.

Sunday, Sept. 28 vs. Carolina Panthers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The NFL has to wish this game were scheduled to be played in Charlotte instead, but wide receiver Steve Smith will provide plenty of material in the buildup to playing his former team.

Sunday, Oct. 5 at Indianapolis Colts – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens will find plenty of familiar faces in Arthur Jones, Cory Redding, and Chuck Pagano, but a trip to play the defending AFC South champions won’t be easy.

Sunday, Oct. 12 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: New center Jeremy Zuttah doesn’t have to wait long to play his former team, but it will be interesting to see what head coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Josh McCown can do for that franchise.

Sunday, Oct. 19 vs. Atlanta Falcons – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: In a meeting of first-round quarterbacks from the 2008 draft, Matt Ryan has been better statistically, but Joe Flacco and the Ravens will gladly take the superior postseason resume.

Sunday, Oct. 26 at Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: Contrary to what we saw in the last three seasons, there is no NFL mandate that the Ravens conclude the regular season in Cincinnati, but this one figures to be pivotal in the AFC North race.

Sunday, Nov. 2 at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Skinny: This meeting will mark the third time in the last four years that the Ravens and Steelers will meet in a Sunday night game at Heinz Field.

Sunday, Nov. 9 vs. Tennessee Titans – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The memory of what was once the Ravens’ best rivalry continues to fade over the years, but the return of hard-hitting safety Bernard Pollard should be an interesting story.

Sunday, Nov. 16 – BYE

Monday, Nov. 24 at New Orleans Saints – 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Skinny: Baltimore won its only regular-season trip to the Superdome in 2006, but dealing with Drew Brees and that offense indoors is a tall order for Dean Pees’ defense.

Sunday, Nov. 30 vs. San Diego Chargers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: These teams haven’t met at M&T Bank Stadium since 2006, but San Diego’s late-season run to the postseason gives them plenty of momentum going into 2014.

Sunday, Dec. 7 at Miami Dolphins – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens travel to Sun Life Stadium for the second straight year in a meeting between two teams who collapsed down the stretch to miss the playoffs last year.

Sunday, Dec. 14 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Jaguars appeared on their way to the No. 1 pick before winning four of their last eight games in 2013, but head coach Gus Bradley needs a quarterback for this team to become a threat.

Sunday, Dec. 21 at Houston Texans – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: Meeting for the fifth straight season, the Ravens and Texans now share a new link with former Houston head coach Gary Kubiak now roaming the Baltimore sideline as offensive coordinator.

Sunday, Dec. 28 vs. Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Browns haven’t won a game in Baltimore since George W. Bush was president and will remain the doormat of the division until they can find a franchise quarterback.

Notes: For the first time, flexible scheduling can be applied in Weeks 5 through 10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by moving a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to the afternoon.

Another new wrinkle will be a select number of games being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring some games to wider audiences.

Flexible scheduling will still be used in Weeks 11 through 17 as it has been in past year years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling cannot be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday, or Monday nights.

A scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game is announced no later than six days prior to December 28.

Comments (3)

Tags: , ,

Orioles minor league recap – 4/22

Posted on 23 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Tuesday…

* Anthony Vasquez struggled through four innings as Triple-A Norfolk lost 6-3 to Lehigh Valley

* Tim Berry continued his red-hot start by earning the win in Double-A Bowie’s 11-1 victory over Erie

* Single-A Frederick was off on Tuesday

* 2013 first-round pick Hunter Harvey struck out five and allowed an unearned run as Single-A Delmarva won 4-1 over Savannah

Comments (0)

Ravens pleased with early turnout for offseason program

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ravens pleased with early turnout for offseason program

Posted on 22 April 2014 by Luke Jones

(Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With players returning to Owings Mills this week to officially begin preparations for the 2014 season, the Ravens are pleased with the early turnout for the first phase of the offseason training program.

Strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki said attendance was “high” for the first two days of voluntary workouts with quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, wide receivers Steve Smith, Torrey Smith, and Jacoby Jones, tight end Owen Daniels, inside linebackers Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown, cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith, and safety Matt Elam among the many players who were present. The first two weeks of the program focus solely on strength training and conditioning four days a week, but there is less time to ease players back into the routine under the current collective bargaining agreement that pushed back the starting date for the offseason training program.

Players were given the task of completing six 300-yard runs as a baseline for their conditioning and are focusing on strengthening their necks in the early stages of the program in addition to traditional weight training.

“Anybody that comes into this program, our expectations are always going to be high for them,” said Rogucki, now in his seventh year with the organization. “If we don’t start pressing that button today then three weeks from now, they aren’t going to be ready. Our expectations are always high and, right now, we’re pleased with what they’re doing.”

Despite a tumultuous offseason that included an indictment for aggravated assault, Rice has been present for workouts and received a positive review from the Ravens training staff. Reports indicated earlier this offseason that Rice had lost weight after head coach John Harbaugh said the seventh-year running back was too heavy in a career-worst season that included a Week 2 hip injury that hampered him for much of the year.

Rice’s pending legal case may still compromise his availability for the 2014 season, but his commitment to improve on the field hasn’t gone unnoticed. The 27-year-old rushed for a career-low 660 yards and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry while weighing in the neighborhood of 225 pounds last year.

The Ravens would like him to be at least 15 pounds lighter this season.

“He’s doing some things differently as far as his diet and so forth,” Rogucki said. “He told me he has a handle on it. He looks good. Whatever he did from the end of the season until now, he’s in a good position right now.”

Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele continues to make excellent progress after undergoing back surgery last fall and is expected to participate in organized team activities and minicamp practices.

Though workouts are officially voluntary, Rogucki and the rest of the coaching staff conveyed a clear message from the point players returned to the building.

“Every time they come in, they’re going to do more weight or more reps without bells and whistles,” Rogucki said. “There’s a lot of programs out there that have bells and whistles. In order to survive in this league, you’ve got to lift and you’ve got to lift heavy. That’s the bottom line. You’ve got to run and you’ve got to run fast. You’ve got to condition and you’ve got to condition long.

“There are no other answers but that to survive. It’s a collision out there. It’s a car crash every time they hit.”

 

Comments (0)

tony-wisniewski

Tags: , , , , , ,

The tale of a pseudo superstar

Posted on 22 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

I used to be the next great Baltimore media superstar.

It was the mid-2000s, I was working in the sports department at The Baltimore Sun.  I was young, handsome, brilliant, and knowledgeable.  I was the type of sport-laden “mind that would come along once, maybe twice in a generation”—a self-describing line from The Big Bang Theory’s Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

Alas, Sheldon Cooper and I have a lot in common—as our stories are mere fiction, derived from the type of creative make-believe that convinced someone like Anita Marks into promoting herself as a former “professional quarterback.”

I was never the next superstar at The Baltimore Sun, or anywhere else in Baltimore.  In fact, I’m fortunate to even be able to call myself a former media member—it’s an accomplishment that many yearn for, but rarely obtain.

Nearly a decade after I sat in The Sun’s news room answering the rapid-fire high school sports score-reporting line , I finally have come to terms with the fact that I have nothing to show for my efforts other than a shared byline on a small story about Baltimore’s Jessica Long.

Now, at 30, I’m no longer young.  Married, with budding specks of gray invading my mop, and more than several extra pounds protruding over my belt, it’s up for debate whether I’m still handsome.  And years removed from any sort of blog writing or sports reporting for websites like Examiner, Bugs and Cranks, and a dozen or so self-created failures, I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone—other than close friends and family—who believe I know jack about Baltimore sports.

But here I am, back at it, thanks to the kick-in-the-pants from my buddy, Will, a fella has forgotten more about local sports than I could ever hope to know.

Will and I remember a time when Baltimore media boasted legendary media members like John Steadman, John Eisenberg, Ken Rosenthal, Vince Bagli, and Chuck Thompson.  These days, most Baltimore media outlets—with the exception of a few (WNST being the frontrunner) have forgotten the idea of what “local” means—lack the local passion and historical firepower to opine about anything other than less-than-stellar and dimwitted attempts to discern the “here and now,” with little recollection of what it was like “then and when.”

Don’t get me wrong, here and now is king when it comes to media—but there’s a thing called context, and it means a heck of a lot when generating conversation with a fan-base as knowledgeable, excitable, and pleasantly irrational as the one here Charm City.

A guy like me remembers the “when,” and lives the “now.”  And it’s this, and this alone, that has thrust me into coming back and being a member of local sports media.

If I have to do it on my own, so be it—which is why I’ll be writing at BaltimoreSportsWiz.com.  But, truth be told, left up to me, I’ll choose to bring whatever  talent I have left from my days a delusional up-and-comer in the Baltimore sports world to WNST.net and WNST 1570AM, where I’m a member of the “Baltimore Sports Media Superstar” competition.

I’ve heard some of the other contestants who are up for the gig on the WNST Audio Vault.  Some are really good, others are really passionate, and I have no idea if I’ll be lucky enough to even be in contention.  And that’s OK because I’ve come to realize that I’ve missed being immersed in the local sports conversation, and it’s time to jump back in.

With an opportunity like WNST’s contest, and a little bit of remaining God-given ability, there’s no reason I can’t fulfill what I once thought I was—a Baltimore sports media superstar.

But for real this time, not just make-believe.

Comments (0)

Rolando McClain retiring from football — again

Tags: , , ,

Rolando McClain retiring from football — again

Posted on 21 April 2014 by Luke Jones

It appears the Rolando McClain story has finally come to an end in Baltimore.

Less than a week after completing a disappointing workout with the Ravens and being reinstated from the reserve-retired list, the 24-year-old linebacker told ESPN’s Seth Wickersham that he’s walking away from the NFL for good.

“I gotta follow my heart. It ain’t football,” McClain told ESPN in a text message. “If football made me complete I would play. But whenever I think of it my heart pulls me away from whatever reason. … This means I’m done.”

McClain reportedly arrived late for last week’s workout and was unable to pass a conditioning test, but the Ravens appeared willing to allow the former Oakland Raiders linebacker to attend workouts in Owings Mills as they began their offseason conditioning program on Monday. Instead, the day marked the latest bizarre chapter for McClain, who signed a one-year contract with the Ravens last April before subsequently being arrested days later and abruptly retiring from the NFL.

The former University of Alabama product had remained in contact with general manager Ozzie Newsome, who appeared willing to give McClain a chance to reboot his once-promising NFL career. Head coach John Harbaugh maintained a guarded stance on the troubled linebacker when he was asked about his potential return at last month’s league meetings in Orlando.

“It all depends on a couple things,” Harbaugh said. “Who [is he] as a person right now? Has he grown up? He had a lot of growing up to do obviously. And how hard he’s working, how hard he’s working at Alabama right now. If he’s working his rear end off, then I’m kind of excited about him. If he’s not, then I’ve got no interest in him being on our team.”

Baltimore retained McClain’s rights after his retirement last May that came weeks after he signed a one-year, $700,000 contract that featured no guaranteed money.

The eighth overall selection of the 2010 draft, McClain played three inconsistent seasons with the Oakland Raiders while accumulating 246 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, one interception, and 20 pass breakups in 38 starts.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , ,

Ravens begin voluntary conditioning program on Monday

Posted on 21 April 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens officially returned to work Monday to begin preparations for the 2014 season.

Harbaugh and his staff, which includes new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and several other newcomers, began the first phase of the workout program on April 21. This portion is limited to two weeks of conditioning and strength training as well as physical rehabilitation. Many notable players and young players alike have been present on the first day in past offseasons.

“Good morning y’all!” wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote on his official Twitter account. “Thankful for another day of life and the opportunity to be back with the team.”

The second phase of the offseason schedule covers the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts that include individual player instruction and drills as well as a practice conducted on a “separate” basis are permitted, but no live contact or team offense against defense drills are permitted.

The final phase of the offseason program consists of the next four weeks. During this period, teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

Besides the obvious physical preparations for the 2014 season as the Ravens try to make it back to the playoffs after a disappointing 8-8 season, this spring will be critical from a learning standpoint as players try to adopt Kubiak’s West Coast offensive scheme. Of course, the offseason training program will allow new free-agent additions such as wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Owen Daniels to get to know their new surroundings and teammates.

Nearly all workouts are considered “voluntary” by definition, but it’s privately expected that players attend regularly. In recent years, Harbaugh has praised his players for their attendance for offseason workouts.

The league’s collective bargaining agreement permits one mandatory minicamp for veteran players, which may occur during the third phase of the offseason. New head coaches are allowed to hold an additional voluntary minicamp for veterans.

Each club may also conduct a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which may begin on May 12. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends except one post-draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft.

The date of the post-draft rookie minicamp will be released at a later date.

Here is the Ravens’ 2014 offseason training program schedule that was released earlier this month by the NFL:

First Day: April 21
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 28-30, June 3-5, June 9-10, June 12-13
Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ravens, 49ers to hold joint practices in preseason

Posted on 19 April 2014 by Luke Jones

As if a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII in the Ravens’ preseason opener wasn’t enough, head coach John Harbaugh will welcome brother Jim and the San Francisco 49ers for a series of training camp practices in Baltimore.

The Ravens and 49ers will meet at M&T Bank Stadium on Aug. 7 to kick off the preseason schedule before the teams meet for four days of practices in Baltimore. The teams will hold a light practice at the stadium the day after the game followed by three days of joint practices at the Ravens’ training facility in Owings Mills.

“I called Jim about a month ago and asked him if he wanted to do it, and I wasn’t really sure if he’d want to,” Harbaugh told the team’s official website on Friday. “And he was like, ‘Absolutely. Let’s do it.’”

One of the annual themes of training camp is players growing weary of going up against their own teammates, so the decision to invite the 49ers to practice with the Ravens figures to break up the monotony of the summer. Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin will certainly be familiar returning to the training facility at which he spent three seasons.

It will be interesting to see how the brothers interact with one another while their teams prepare for the 2014 season, and their father, Jack Harbaugh, is expected to be present for the practice sessions.

“He’s going to be the unofficial, official,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to be in charge of breaking up all fights – different brotherly scuffles. If we start rolling around on the field my dad is going to have to jump in I guess. It’s going to be fantastic. We just can’t wait to do it.”

Comments (0)