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Ravens great Ray Lewis reportedly out at ESPN

Posted on 09 May 2016 by Luke Jones

After serving as an NFL analyst for the last three seasons, former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is reportedly out at ESPN.

According to The Big Lead, ESPN is parting ways with Lewis, who was not part of the network’s NFL draft coverage last month. The future Hall of Fame linebacker was hired by ESPN immediatey after his retirement at the end of the 2012 season, but his work had been criticized during his tenure on more than one occasion with his trademark passion not always translating to cogent analysis.

Lewis isn’t the only ex-player leaving the network as Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter is also being let go while Randy Moss will join fellow newcomers Matt Hasselbeck and Charles Woodson this season.

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Ravens must hit home run in this year’s draft

Posted on 06 April 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — When you draft two future Hall of Fame players with the first two picks in franchise history, the standard is going to be impossible to live up to.

But that didn’t stop general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens from coming very close for the better part of the next decade. After Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis in that franchise-defining 1996 draft came Peter Boulware, Chris McAlister, Jamal Lewis, Todd Heap, Ed Reed (another future Hall of Famer), Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Ben Grubbs in first rounds over the next 11 years, all of them Pro Bowl selections.

Sure, there were a couple misses along the way, but you simply expected the Ravens to find a Pro Bowl player in the first round of the draft every year. Those emphatic early hits began to dissipate, however, and Baltimore has seen just one first-round pick — C.J. Mosley in 2014 — make the Pro Bowl since 2008.

The previous home runs and triples have been replaced by more singles and doubles — and a few more strikeouts — in recent years, which are still better than other teams in the NFL, but that decline came into focus this past year when a lack of playmakers and a rash of injuries led to a 5-11 season.

“If you look at [recent] drafts compared to ’96 to 2004, I would say that they didn’t measure up to those drafts,” Newsome said. “From ’96 to 2004, we drafted three Hall of Famers, but I will also say that during that time early on when you’re picking in the top 10 of the draft, you have a chance to be a lot more successful than it is when you’re picking anywhere from 20 to 32, which [are] the positions that we’ve been in.

“But I would say it was not up to my standards.”

Newsome’s point is fair as the Ravens have been a victim of their own success in that way after making the postseason 10 times in the last 16 years. They haven’t picked in even the first half of the first round in a decade and the sixth overall pick in this month’s draft will be the organization’s earliest since 2000.

As much as the Ravens were blessed to be able to land Hall of Fame talent when they took Ray Lewis 26th overall in 1996 and Reed 24th in 2002, the final 10 picks of the first round and the early second round typically aren’t littered with All-Pro talent everywhere you look. As if Lewis and Reed weren’t enough, the Ravens also found future Pro Bowl selections in Heap and Grubbs very late in the first round, but such success shouldn’t fool anyone into assuming you should find a Pro Bowl player that late every single year.

Yes, there have been some ugly first- and second-round picks in recent drafts as Sergio Kindle, Terrence Cody, Matt Elam, and Arthur Brown immediately come to mind, but other maligned choices such as Michael Oher and Courtney Upshaw were still more positive than not — even if they weren’t Pro Bowl players.

The drafts haven’t been all bad as Pernell McPhee, Brandon Williams, Crockett Gillmore, and Rick Wagner have been impressive middle-round finds over the last five years, but they just need to be better, especially in the early rounds. Recent drafts have been solid — for the most part — but rarely special.

“Have we drafted a ton of Pro Bowlers? No, we haven’t, but I’m proud of the players we’ve drafted,” said assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, who cited the big free-agent money other teams have spent on Ravens picks such as McPhee, Torrey Smith, Arthur Jones, and Kelechi Osemele in the last few offseasons. “I think we’ll get back to being a really good team soon. I’m not going to stress out about it.

“Can we do better in certain instances? Of course we can. You’re dealing with human emotion people, but I think our scouts and coaches have done a really good job. I think we’ll get back to prominence.”

If serious contention is in the cards for 2016, the Ravens need to hit a couple long balls and triples, not just with the sixth overall pick but with their six other selections in the top 134 spots. A successful draft isn’t only about the first round as Newsome has shown in finding Pro Bowl-caliber players and starters in the middle and late rounds over the years.

Expecting the Ravens to find their next future Hall of Famer later this month would be unfair, but they do need to find the next pillar around which to build. If it isn’t a Ray Lewis, Ogden, or Reed, drafting the next Suggs, Ngata, or Jamal Lewis is a reasonable expectation when picking so early.

DeCosta acknowledged Tuesday that the money in Vegas would be on the Ravens taking a defensive player with the sixth pick as there are five or six “elite” ones in his mind, but the executive also said there are three or four offensive players who might be the best fit depending on how the first five picks play out in a few weeks.

Whether it’s a player like Jalen Ramsey of Florida State unexpectedly falling into their laps or a regular mock-draft target such as Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, UCLA’s Myles Jack, Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, or Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley or even another name being discussed less frequently such as running back Ezekiel Elliott of Ohio State, the Ravens must come away with a special talent.

They need to find the next player who will one day be in the Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium.

That would go a long way in not only helping them bounce back from a 5-11 season, but such a player would be a good step in preventing the Ravens from being back in this position for another 16 years.

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Ravens-related thoughts on Super Bowl 50

Posted on 08 February 2016 by Luke Jones

You couldn’t help but notice parallels between Peyton Manning’s improbable run to a win in Super Bowl 50 and Ray Lewis finishing his “last ride” with a championship in New Orleans three years ago.

The future Hall of Famers both missed substantial time with injuries in the regular season before returning in time for the playoffs. Each made important contributions on the playoff path to the Super Bowl as Lewis averaged just under 15 tackles per game in the first three rounds of the 2012 postseason and Manning threw for 222 yards against Pittsburgh — overcoming a number of dropped passes — and had two touchdown passes against New England in the AFC championship game.

But as much as we might have enjoyed seeing two of the greatest players in NFL history go out on top, it was apparent that each needed to retire after watching them play in the Super Bowl. While we remember Joe Flacco earning Super Bowl XLVII MVP honors, we try to forget Lewis looking slow and hopeless covering San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis or chasing after 49ers running back Frank Gore in that game.

Like the great Ravens linebacker against the 49ers, Manning had little to do with Denver winning its third Super Bowl title as the Broncos defense suffocated Carolina on Sunday night. Perhaps the 39-year-old Manning was owed one by the football gods after playing with some less-than-stellar defenses over the years in the same way that Lewis had some of his best years wasted by ineptitude on the other side of the ball.

If you’re a Ravens fan struggling to be happy for the quarterback who twice broke Baltimore’s heart in the playoffs — including the 2006 postseason defeat that was the most devastating home loss in franchise history — don’t forget his touching gesture in the playoffs three years ago. More than an hour after the Ravens had defeated the Broncos in an epic double-overtime contest in the divisional round, Manning and his family waited in the Baltimore locker room to congratulate Lewis personally.

Despite dealing with one of the most disappointing losses of his storied career, Manning still wanted to offer his respect to Lewis after the last of their many entertaining chess matches over the years.

It doesn’t matter if Manning — or Lewis — was no longer the same player when tasting championship glory for a final time. Seeing one of the all-time greats exit that way is special and rare.

Let’s just hope Manning actually retires now as most people expect.

Miller time

Four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Von Miller already had a résumé impressive enough to land a lucrative contract this offseason, but the Super Bowl 50 MVP took his performance to another level in the postseason.

Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March, the 26-year-old had a combined five sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception in the AFC championship game and Super Bowl. That’s the kind of timing that Flacco can appreciate after the Ravens quarterback threw for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the 2012 postseason to fetch a six-year, $120.6 million contract a few weeks later.

ESPN has already reported that Denver will use the franchise tag if a long-term deal isn’t reached, meaning Ravens fans should stop dreaming about Miller reuniting with Elvis Dumervil in Baltimore.

Kubiak turns to dark side

Former Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak did a masterful job of handling a difficult quarterback situation this season.

Leading 16-10 and facing a third-and-9 from his own 26 with less than six minutes remaining, the Broncos head coach didn’t allow Manning to even attempt a pass and ran the ball with C.J. Anderson before punting. It was both the right decision and a clear sign that Manning needs to retire.

Possessing a championship defense, the offensive-minded Kubiak turned to the “dark side” in a way reminiscent of how Brian Billick handled the 2000 Ravens by deferring to his defense and being conservative. The difference is that it was much easier to do such a thing with Trent Dilfer than with one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

Stewart shines

Darian Stewart was a nondescript performer in his lone year with the Ravens, but the Denver safety stood out in the Super Bowl.

He collected three tackles, a sack, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble when he put his helmet right on the ball to knock it away from Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert. It wasn’t just a one-game aberration, either, after Pro Football Focus graded Stewart 14th among NFL safeties during the 2015 season.

It really makes you wonder where that player was in Baltimore a year ago.

False start

After Panthers left tackle Michael Oher committed a false start late in the second quarter, you couldn’t help but be amused by the social-media reaction of Ravens fans who had seen that act often in Baltimore.

The 2009 first-round pick deserves much credit for working hard to get his career back on track in Carolina, but Super Bowl 50 was a forgettable performance for him and the rest of the Panthers offensive line.

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Super Bowl XXXV provided happy end to long wait for Baltimore

Posted on 28 January 2016 by Luke Jones

“They don’t know how fast we are. They don’t know.”

Those words were uttered by Ravens coach Brian Billick in the opening moments of Super Bowl XXXV 15 years ago, a game for which Baltimore had waited a very long time.

It had been 30 years since a team representing Charm City had played in the Super Bowl, a period of time that included the final gloomy seasons with the Colts before they left for Indianapolis in 1984 and the 12 years that followed without an NFL franchise. In their first four seasons, the Ravens were only known to the rest of the league as Art Modell’s renamed franchise that had broken hearts in Cleveland by moving to Baltimore in 1996.

Even as the team rose to prominence in 2000, the dark cloud of Ray Lewis standing trial for murder earlier in the year was all the rest of the country saw as the Ravens advanced to their first Super Bowl by winning the AFC championship in Oakland. The two weeks that followed consisted of media predictably rehashing the trial and then crushing Billick for lashing out at reporters for doing so. And despite the Ravens being the favorite in Las Vegas, many continued singing the praises of the New York Giants after their 41-0 demolition of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game.

But, finally, the day had come in Tampa.

The game on Jan. 28, 2001 wasn’t as much a challenge as it was validation for the Ravens and their fans. What the rest of the country saw as arrogance from the hated Lewis and his teammates was merely knowledge of the inevitable after the Ravens had beaten Tennessee in the divisional round, the game that proved to be the unofficial Super Bowl of the 2000 season.

The Ravens knew they were going to beat the Giants. Now was the time to show everyone else — whether they liked it or not — just how fast and how great they were.

The three-plus hours that followed showcased how special the Ravens defense was, holding New York without an offensive score and forcing five turnovers in a 34-7 blowout. Baltimore was back on top of the football world before Indianapolis had ever reached the pinnacle and after Paul Tagliabue had callously suggested the city build a museum when an expansion bid was unsuccessful seven years earlier.

The NFL commissioner was now forced to hand over the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

For Baltimoreans who remembered the Colts, the success of the Ravens had helped make their football history whole again. And younger fans now understood what they’d been missing all those years as their parents and grandparents shared memories of Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore and Bert Jones on lonely Sundays in the fall.

Those hugs and embraces with loved ones in the closing moments of Super Bowl XXXV were so special as was the celebratory parade in the pouring rainy just a couple days later.

It was a long wait, but the Ravens had finally shown the rest of the football world that Baltimore was good enough after all.

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Ted Talk: My chats with Marchibroda – a Baltimore football icon

Posted on 16 January 2016 by Nestor Aparicio

So many memories of Ted Marchibroda. They started with me on Bank Street in Dundalk taking the No. 22 bus to Memorial Stadium to see his Colts teams play in 1975-76-77. Then, watching as our team was gone as he led the K-Gun offense in Buffalo.

Then, of course, I got to know Ted Marchibroda when he was named the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and had a press conference on February 15, 1996.

Marchibroda called my show that day and the audio is here and in the Buy A Toyota Audio Vault.

He also spent an entire evening with a group of fans at The Barn in May 1997. That chat is also here and will be presented on WNST.net & AM 1570 radio this week.

We join everyone associated with both the Colts and Ravens organizations in wishing Ted Marchibroda an eternity of peace and happiness in football heaven.

Ted Marchibroda passed away on January 16th, 2015, at the age of 84.

Marchibroda coached the Baltimore Colts from 1975 through 1979, the Indianapolis Colts from 1992 through 1995, and was hired to coach the newly relocated Baltimore Ravens in 1996. He coached in Baltimore for three years, and was considered by many Baltimore football fans as the perfect head coach to serve as a bridge as the team transitioned from Indianapolis to Baltimore. Known as an offensive innovator, Marchibroda is a highly respected figure in the game.

My first chat with Ted Marchibroda in February of 1996 before the Ravens had ever played a game in Baltimore – before they even had a name!

Hear us discuss Vinny Testaverde, Art Modell, expectations for the Ravens in year 1, and look ahead to the draft which ultimately produced Ray Lewis and Jon Ogden.

Listen here:

In May of 1997, Ted sat down with me once again after having coached the Ravens to a 4-12 record in their inaugural season in Baltimore.

Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of their conversation here:

 

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Five numbers behind Ravens’ 19-13 loss in Denver

Posted on 15 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Every week, we’ll ponder five numbers stemming from the Ravens’ latest game, this one being the ugly 19-13 loss to Denver to begin the 2015 season …

3.66 — Joe Flacco’s yards per attempt
Skinny: The pass protection was awful and his pass-catching targets were unable to create separation, making it no surprise that the eighth-year quarterback couldn’t throw the ball down the field. This was Flacco’s worst yards per attempt average since a loss in Houston on Oct. 21, 2012 (3.42) and the third-worst mark of his NFL regular-season career. His worst overall came in the 2009 playoff win over New England when a banged-up Flacco went 4-for-10 for 34 yards, a 3.40 average.

9 — Total catches made by Ravens receivers and tight ends
Skinny: Many expressed concerns over Flacco’s group of young receivers and tight ends, and Sunday proved to be a nightmare as even Steve Smith managed just two catches for 13 yards and couldn’t bring in the potential game-winning touchdown on the Ravens’ penultimate play of the game. Fellow starter Kamar Aiken was even worse as he lost a yard on his only reception. With or without rookie Breshad Perriman, this group needs to be markedly better for Baltimore to make any real noise this year.

27 — Consecutive games in which the Ravens defense hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher
Skinny: It was an impressive effort on the other side of the ball as the Ravens continued the longest active streak in the NFL of not allowing an opposing player to eclipse the century mark on the ground. With Brandon Williams dominating the line of scrimmage and C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith at the inside linebacker spots, the Ravens have to like their chances to keep this streak going. Meanwhile, the Broncos will need to average much better than 2.8 yards per carry to help Peyton Manning’s deteriorating arm.

56 — Yards of offense from Justin Forsett
Skinny: The 2014 Pro Bowl running back didn’t have much of a chance behind a less-than-stellar performance from the offensive line, but his output was lower than all but two of his regular-season games a year ago. Forsett’s numbers would have been even worse if not for his 20-yard run on the final drive of the game. With Buck Allen showing some promise in limited opportunities and Lorenzo Taliaferro possibly returning this Sunday, it will be interesting to see how the carries are distributed.

291 — Consecutive games (counting the postseason) in which Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, or Terrell Suggs has been on the field for Baltimore
Skinny: The 2015 opener brought the unfortunate end of a remarkable run in franchise history with Suggs suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in the fourth quarter. This Sunday will mark the first time that the Ravens will play a game without any of the three best defensive players in their history since Oct. 11, 1998 when Eric Zeier was the quarterback and they lost 12-8 to the Tennessee Oilers as Lewis sat out with a dislocated elbow. Nothing lasts forever, but it’s strange thinking about the old guard of Baltimore defense that also included Haloti Ngata being no more — at least until next year.

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Ravens bring food, support to west Baltimore

Posted on 30 April 2015 by Luke Jones

(Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)

After many players spoke out against the violence in Baltimore earlier this week, the Ravens brought support and supplies to the west Baltimore area on Thursday morning.

Head coach John Harbaugh, former Ravens linebackers Ray Lewis and O.J. Brigance, and quarterback Joe Flacco were part of a group of 55 players and 30 organization volunteers. The group visited two elementary schools as well as Frederick Douglass High School, where Lewis gave an impassioned speech to students.

“We have an opportunity to change Baltimore,” said Lewis as CNN brought live coverage of his words. “If you want to make real change, be the example of change.”

Lewis elected to forgo his normal ESPN duties covering the NFL draft in Chicago in order to remain in Baltimore to offer support in such a trying time. Due to the citywide curfew, the Ravens were forced to cancel their Thursday night draft party at M&T Bank Stadium earlier this week.

It was hardly surprising, but the Ravens’ arrival in the community hit hardest by Monday’s rioting was the latest example to help justify the overwhelming support they’ve received from Baltimore and its fans for the last two decades.

 

 

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Ray Lewis forgoes ESPN draft coverage to remain in Baltimore

Posted on 28 April 2015 by Luke Jones

On the morning following one of the darkest days in Baltimore’s history that included over 200 arrests, 144 vehicle fires, 19 structure fires, and 15 police officers injured, one of the city’s iconic sports figures broke his silence.

After clamoring for the end of rioting on Tuesday morning via social media, future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis revealed he would forgo his role with ESPN covering Thursday’s NFL draft in Chicago to remain in Baltimore, the network announced.

“I felt that it was more important for me to stay in Baltimore and try to help the city I love,” Lewis said in a statement. “I greatly appreciate ESPN’s understanding and flexibility at this late date. I did not feel right leaving the city at this time.”

It remains unclear what Lewis intends to do in the coming days, but you likely won’t find a more influential figure to speak to the city’s youth after he became one of the most revered figures in Baltimore sports history over his 17-year career. Anyone taking issue with that sentiment because of Lewis’ history likely wouldn’t be part of the target audience anyway.

Lewis posted the following thoughts on his official Twitter account as well as a video to his official Facebook page:

I've got a message for the rioters in Baltimore.

Posted by Ray Lewis on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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Ray Lewis signs up for SpikeTV show to help coaches with anger issues

Posted on 04 August 2014 by WNST Staff

Spike TV Teams up with Ray Lewis to Help Coaches with Anger Issues in “Coaching Bad”

 

SPIKE TV TEAMS UP WITH RAY LEWIS TO HELP COACHES WITH ANGER ISSUES IN “COACHING BAD”

New Series Showcases Lewis And Anger Management Specialist Dr. Christian Conte As They Put 9 Coaches Through An Intense Program To Change Their Combative Ways

IRWIN ENTERTAINMENT (“Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew,” “Couples Therapy”) Will Executive Produce

Series Shoots In Los Angeles This Summer and Debuts in 1st Qtr 2015

New York, NY, August 4, 2014 – Good coaches motivate us, inspire us, and teach us the skills to win.  However, there is a growing epidemic of coaches with uncontrollable anger issues spreading across today’s sports landscape. From Bobby Knight to Mike Rice, too many men and women coaching American athletes, of all ages, often cross the line in what is acceptable behavior on the sidelines or in the dugout.

Spike TV has brought together NFL legend Ray Lewis and acclaimed anger management specialist and author Dr. Christian Conte to tackle bad coaching and anger management head on in the new original series, “Coaching Bad.”

The show features nine coaches who have recognized that they need to change their combative and often bombastic ways if they want to continue in the profession they love. The coaches, who come from a variety of different sports from all around the country, move into a Coaching Center in Los Angeles for intense retraining and reconditioning.

This impactful and intensive program, designed personally by Dr. Conte and Lewis, will include three phases of transformation; assessing the coaches’ baseline anger issues; working to create real change; and putting that change to the test.

For many of the coaches, their anger issues have also seriously damaged their relationship with family members and their current employers. For some, the retraining program might be their last chance to save their marriage or keep their jobs.

During the course of the retraining program, various sports figures will lend their perspective on the negative effects of caustic coaching. The list of guest speakers includes Chuck Pagano, Bill Romanowski, and Glen “Big Baby” Davis.

John Irwin, Damian Sullivan and Richard Hall are executive producers for Irwin Entertainment.

Spike TV has ordered eight one-hour episodes of “Coaching Bad.”  The series is shooting in Los Angeles this summer and will debut in the 1st qtr of 2015. Hayley Lozitsky, Vice President, Development, Spike TV will serve as the Executive in Charge of Production. Sharon Levy is Executive Vice President, Original Series, Spike TV and Chris Rantamaki is Spike TV’s Senior Vice President, Original Series.

“Spike TV is thrilled to partner with one of the greatest players in NFL history in a compelling new series that will shine a light on the ever-growing issue of coaches and their anger issues,” said Levy. “Who better than Ray to bestow insight and wisdom to these coaches after his storied career as a leader on and off the field during his playing days with the University of Miami and Baltimore Ravens.”

One of the greatest linebackers in NFL history, Ray Lewis played 17 years with the Baltimore Ravens and was named to 13 Pro Bowls and awarded NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003. Lewis won two Super Bowls with the Ravens (named MVP in Super Bowl XXXV) and is currently an NFL broadcaster with ESPN.

Dr. Christian Conte was an award-winning, tenured professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, before he left the West Coast to return to his home state of Pennsylvania. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Psychologist, author, and professional speaker who specializes in Anger Management and Communication. Dr. Conte co-founded a center in South Lake Tahoe, California, to work with people who have been convicted of violent crimes, and he is the creator of Yield theory – a powerful approach to combining radical compassion with conscious education.

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Concern growing over Ravens cornerback Webb’s lingering back injury

Posted on 29 July 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — What initially appeared to be a minor back issue continues to linger for cornerback Lardarius Webb, who missed his third straight practice Monday as the Ravens shifted training camp to M&T Bank Stadium for a public workout.

Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged the back spasms he deemed as “nothing serious” on Friday have caused concern as the sixth-year cornerback remained sidelined, leaving third-year defensive back Asa Jackson to take the reps opposite Jimmy Smith in the starting defense. Webb left the field midway through the second full-squad workout of training camp and hasn’t practiced since.

“We’re going to see about Lardarius,” Harbaugh said. “He has some back things that we’re looking at right now, and backs are a little weird. At first it was no big deal. It’s lingering a little bit, so we’ll find out what’s going on with him.”

Fellow cornerback Chykie Brown returned to practice after missing Sunday’s workout due to a tweaked hamstring. He worked with the second-team base defense and played outside in the first-string nickel package with Jackson sliding inside when the Ravens used three cornerbacks.

Defensive end Chris Canty missed his second straight practice on Monday and was excused to deal with a family matter, according to Harbaugh. With Canty absent, second-year defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore filled in at the 5-technique spot with the starting unit.

Other players remaining absent from practice included offensive linemen Will Rackley (concussion-related symptoms) and Parker Graham (groin) and defensive tackle Terrence Cody (hip), who remains on the active physically unable to perform list as he recovers from offseason surgery.

Lewis pays surprise visit

With a statue of Ray Lewis expected to be unveiled before the start of the regular season, the future Hall of Fame linebacker paid a surprise visit to the public training camp practice, easily drawing the loudest ovation on Monday night.

Lewis’ statue will stand next to the one of Johnny Unitas that was completed outside M&T Bank Stadium in 2002. Fans have customarily rubbed the high-top shoe of the Unitas statue for good luck on game days, but it remains to be seen if a new tradition will emerge when the second statue makes its debut next to the image of the Baltimore Colts legend and Hall of Fame quarterback.

“Most of the time, I’m never lost for words, but that’s a very humbling thing,” said Lewis, who implied his statue will be an image of his famed pre-game dance routine. “”For me to share that [honor with the late Unitas], that’s awesome.”

Rice greeted warmly by Ravens fans

As has been the case for with the select few selected for the opportunity to attend training camp practices in Owings Mills, fans greeted running back Ray Rice warmly whenever he was shown on the video board at the stadium.

Upon receiving his first loud ovation of the evening, Rice tapped his chest to acknowledge an announced crowd of 28,323.

The three-day window for Rice to appeal the two-game suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell passed on Monday with the 27-year-old electing not to try to have the discipline reduced.

Monday highlights

Wide receiver Torrey Smith made the play of the night with a leaping, one-handed catch inside the red zone with Jackson trying to stick with him in coverage.

Matt Elam turned in the most bizarre play of the evening when he picked off a Joe Flacco pass before nearly being run down by the golf cart of owner Steve Bisciotti, who claimed the second-year safety had seen him all the way and nearly tipped the vehicle over.

Defensive end Pernell McPhee was the defensive standout of the evening, collecting two quarterback sacks and making another tackle for a loss during team drills.

First-round inside linebacker C.J. Mosley got his first taste of M&T Bank Stadium and responded by knocking away a Flacco pass in the end zone during 11-on-11 red-zone work. Mosley lined up next to veteran Daryl Smith in the starting defense.

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