Tag Archive | "rex"

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Ch-ch-ch-changes at WNST for football season and Ravens coverage

Posted on 18 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s a momentous day here at WNST.net in many ways. Some great news will be divulged here today and other tidbits and updates will be best savored on another day. But make no mistake about it: today is a very proud day for me at WNST.net.

We’ve quietly made some changes in our format and I’m really blessed to loudly and proudly announce the addition of Luke Jones to our WNSTeam as Drew Forrester’s new co-host, producer and whipping boy on The Morning Reaction and the promotion of Glenn Clark to afternoon drive show host from 2-to-6 on weekdays replacing Rex Snider, who submitted his resignation last week.

I enjoyed Rex Snider’s passion and I really wish him well in the future. He was one of many folks who I was fortunate to meet and afford an opportunity to live the dream of doing a daily radio show at WNST and I hope this will launch him to greater things. He’s a man of integrity and I enjoyed watching his brand (and his hair) grow.

On a personal note, I can’t appropriately express my bursting pride in Glenn Clark’s progress as a host, writer, journalist and learner of all things Baltimore sports and he’s more than earned this “promotion” but he’s too humble to even show he’s really all that jazzed. It’s just his style – grinding and doing it more than talking about doing it.

Clark, strangely enough, was my son’s best pal growing up whom I never paid attention to in Perry Hall. If there’s some perverse justice in all of this for him, well, I’m stuck driving around town now listening to HIS show in MY former time slot. And now HE gets all the attention from the chicks…

Life is strange…

It’s always funny when folks in the community mention how many of my former “discoveries” have wound up on the air at my competitors (both still in business and out of business) and how I’ve been somehow forced to watch them take their brands elsewhere this is rich with irony. It was CBS Radio and their brain trust who chased Glenn to Arizona where he learned enough to come back and kick their asses every afternoon at WNST.net as our program director and media “bootcamp” coach. Those “experts” over at CBS Radio lost the best talent in the marketplace in Glenn Clark and they had him under their roof and instead hired the likes of Anita Marks and Jennifer Royle.

In our @Twitter parlance, I’d call that #winning for @WNST.

Glenn Clark has forgotten more about Baltimore sports than most anyone I know knows. And he’s not even 30! Beginning today, Glenn Clark will have Baltimore’s best afternoon drive radio show. Just watch it grow!

I’m so delighted to have Luke and Glenn in their new roles and I know you will be too if you’re a faithful WNST user, listener, lover or Baltimore sports fan.

Luke Jones will be a steadying force for Drew’s early-morning crankiness. Oh, and Luke has ALSO forgotten more about Baltimore sports than most anyone I know.

These guys are REAL experts, REAL sources within the locker rooms of the Ravens and Orioles and Terps. They are the best in the marketplace already and will only help WNST.net grow even more with their multi-talented skill set to write and create and contribute in cogent, historically relevant conversations about Baltimore sports.

I’ve forgotten more about Baltimore sports than almost anyone I know and I learn things from Luke and Glenn every day. They’re cool dudes!

So now please allow me to drone on and on about my sports media “man crush” on Luke Jones, who is by far the coolest discovery I’ve ever made in Baltimore sports media.

He went to Syracuse University wanting to do this with his life – become a sportswriter and journalist covering his favorite three teams (Ravens, Orioles, Terps – although I’m not really sure it’s in that order?).

Instead, Luke wound up becoming a school teacher in Shrewsbury, Pa. and recently made a difficult decision to give up a wonderful life and a career in education that he’s as equally passionate about to join our WNST Team.

I can say this: I’m TRULY honored to have Luke on our team.

I can say this for SURE: Luke Jones is as fine of a man as I’ve ever had knock on my door looking for a job. And he won a freaking contest two years ago!

Mark my words: Luke Jones will be the best journalist in Baltimore over the next 10 years and I’m going to hold us both accountable to hold up those words and watch them stick.

Luke will be our daily Ravens beat writer being assisted by Glenn Clark, Drew Forrester, Ryan Chell and Peter DiLutis. I will be providing live UStream video from the road on Saturdays and Sundays and we’ll be platforming plenty of roadtrip fun on our YouTube channel as well. If you own a local business, my rock star sales crew will be knocking on your door for sponsorship of our new programming.

Glenn Clark and I will re-institute “The Friday Football Frenzy” and we’ll have a bevy of rock star guests every Friday afternoon as we go deep into the purple fall and beyond. Thyrl Nelson will continue in his role as the ruler of the Mobtown Sports Beat from 10 a.m til 2 p.m. when Glenn takes over. Ryan Chell will remain in his role as producer of both shows while keeping his eye out on the news of the day.

WNST also has big plans ahead for a powerful mobile app for Droid and we already have heavy traffic to our IPhone site, where traffic is up over 300% this year.

And as much as we are saddened to see another talented WNST personality leave our nest, it’s also a wonderful thing to be able to give more new people with a dream a chance to make a living doing this in Baltimore radio and media. I love my role as a leader of people these days and I’m surrounded by youthful energy and exuberance that really gets my juices going as an entrepreneur and lover of great sports media.

Many of my former employees have moved into different spots in the industry and I’m very proud of having a reputation for being a “star maker” in Baltimore sports media. And these are the two brightest, young stars we’ve ever had at WNST.net.

Even Drew Forrester thinks these kids are good!

;)

If you read or listen to their work, you’ll agree. And no one is a tougher critic of WNST or holds our brand to a higher standard than I do.

WNST.net will be bringing you Baltimore’s best football coverage all fall and Baltimore’s best radio, blogs, news and information all day, every.

We Never Stop Talking Baltimore sports.

Now, more than ever!

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It needs to be said: Good riddance, Derrick Mason!

Posted on 08 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

Over the past two weeks I’ve read and heard and watched a myriad of different reactions to the swath of cuts the Baltimore Ravens have made to veteran players and unlike the overwhelming majority of the fan base here, I understand the salary cap and how it works.

(If you have any questions, feel free to forward them along: nasty@wnst.net. That’s why WNST.net exists – to educate you and answer your questions about Baltimore sports.)

Bottom line: the Ravens played about $14 million over the cap last year in a “wild, wild west” uncapped NFL season. In the new post-lockout 2011 season, everyone will need to align franchise expenditures with the reality of the league. For the Ravens, that means playing with less veteran (re: well-paid) talent.

This brings us to wide receiver Derrick Mason, who has somehow at 37 years of age  managed to stir up the fans of Baltimore using his Twitter account and his ever-present voice to make a case for himself as a returning veteran to the Ravens.

He was texting with John Harbaugh. He was talking about other opportunities and greener pastures. He was “shocked” by the Ravens’ cut, which had almost happened two other times over the last two years.

Here’s the truth: the Ravens didn’t want Derrick Mason anymore. And his “pick” of the New York Jets and all of the bluster that Rex Ryan blew around at the press conference about Mason electing to take “less money to play in New York” was just typical Ryanspeak.

Fact: Rex Ryan hates the Ravens more than any NFL team. He barely even speaks to me anymore because he knows I’m a Ravens fan. He stews about not getting the head coaching job every time he looks at me.

Fact: Derrick Mason wasn’t welcomed in Baltimore any more. The Ravens don’t have any cap room and felt that overspending on the clearly devalued stock of an almost-40 wide receiver wasn’t good business for them.

This was a good marriage for Mason and Ryan. It fits both of their needs to get even with the Ravens and to take the “Play Like A Jet” braggadocio to The Big Apple and potentially make another run at a Super Bowl appearance.

Oh, and the parting shot? Mason and Ryan both let it be known that they believe they have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than the Ravens do.

Fair enough.

And when these teams lock horns here in Baltimore eight weeks, it’s going to look like the NFL’s newest Holy War and if I could wave my magic wand and have it all work out right the Ravens would host the AFC Championship Game and play the mighty titans of New York for all the marbles here in late January.

Baltimore vs. New York? As long as it’s not baseball, I really like our chances!

And because I’ve said this before when Derrick Mason was wearing purple every week, I’ll say it again out of fairness and full disclosure. In my 16 years of chasing the Ravens all across the continent and working every locker room of every game, Mason was one of my least favorite Ravens.

It’s almost blasphemous because for most he was a media dream. He would always set up in front of his locker and welcome the lights and the cameras and the questions and would always fire off long, winding diatribes about his feelings and his insights filling notebooks and video storage devices. And I’m all for a loquacious athlete. It’s good for business all the way around.

Except in Mason’s case, I always thought it was personal and it was overkill. And he was always speaking down to the media, which in my opinion is speaking down to the fans.

Look there’s no getting around it, Derrick Mason was a helluva football player – a classic overachiever in every sense of the word and my respect for his abilities as an athlete is unquestioned. And I’m pretty sure he’s a good family man and an all-around decent human being. He did charitable things here and in Nashville and I know he really wanted to win.

But as a guy who plays on a team with 53 other guys?

You can have a 37-year old Derrick Mason, New York. He’s perfect for you!

He’s all about himself.

Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve talked to enough of his teammates and coaches over the years to know how they feel about him. Helluva player, but he’s gonna bitch loudly and unrepentantly about not getting the ball – win or lose. Many would say he’s a “typical me-first wide receiver” and that’s fine, too.

Last I checked that class full of brats — Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Chad Johnson — all have one thing in common: nude ring fingers!

I saw Mason stew after victories – many times – because he wasn’t the biggest part of the offense that day. I’ve seen him pop off and say all sorts of things that had a very “anti-team” edge to them as I heard them. And I also remember his retirement proceedings on his agent’s website two summers ago.

Apparently, so did Joe Flacco, who amidst the Ravens’ mystery “negotiations” with Mason threw him under the bus by calling him a diva in front of the world 48 hours ago.

I think that says it all.

Sure, there will be days this fall when Flacco would’ve loved having him on 3rd and 6, but the other six days and 21 hours of the week sure sounded like an issue for some folks at The Bellagio in Owings Mills.

And I get it.

But all of this green bluster coming out of New York is just that – another chance for Mason and Ryan to take a few verbal jabs at the Ravens and Baltimore, where they weren’t welcomed anymore.

We’ll see them on Sunday night, Oct. 2 here in Baltimore.

To be continued…

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Mining everything but “The Bird”…

Posted on 03 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

No doubt, by now you know that Mine The Bird, a 51-to-1 shot, won the Kentucky Derby in the mud with the most emotional athlete I’ve ever seen in Calvin Borel aboard. You surely know that the Caps now have a 1-0 series lead over the Penguins after yesterday’s 3-2 win in D.C. You’re keenly aware of the Orioles continued ineptitude in Toronto (which I’ve thankfully avoided with various other sports obligations) and the fact that Johns Hopkins squeaked by Loyola in lacrosse yesterday. You might’ve even stayed up with the Celtics and Bulls last night in a game that even “non-believing” NBA fans couldn’t help but catch a glimpse. We even took a busload of NASCAR fans down to Richmond last night with Rex Snider to catch the race where Kyle Busch held off Jeff Gordon.

And, if you’re on the WNST Text Service, you got the note that former Dolphins (and Cam Cameron) quarterback John Beck is expected to sign with the Ravens tomorrow to compete for the No. 2 job. (So much for the Troy Smith experiment.)

I went to the Caps game yesterday and had an awesome time. No press pass. Just went and sat in a club seat with my wife and waved red towels and rocked the red. Great crowd. Pretty girls. A sea of red. A pretty good, close game where every pass, hit and shot mattered. It was old-school Caps fandom and the vibe in the whole area was outstanding. The Capitals have the best game-day presentation I’ve ever seen. And Simeon Varlamov was outrageously good. The Caps can really win the Stanley Cup. I’m looking forward to Monday night already. And, we’re throwing a big party at Silver Spring Mining Company in Perry Hall on Wednesday with $2 Michelob Ultras. The Caps have made April and May a LOT of fun for me.

In what felt like a perfect sports day, I rushed home in time to get caught up on my Comcast DVR to watch the Kentucky Derby live and once again, horse racing and the stories and the connections sucked me in. If you didn’t tear up when Borel reached to the sky you’re just not human. He’s one of the most amazing stories in sports!

I’m just up having a Sunday morning cup of coffee, reading what everyone else has to say about yesterday on WNST.net and enjoying Baltimore’s No. 1 blogosphere this morning with all sorts of fact, opinions and observations.

I realize I haven’t missed too much with the Orioles but today is my day to “re-mine” with the Birds. I have some DVRing to catch up on. But maybe they’ll actually win today?

Jeremy Guthrie vs. Scott Richmond at 1:07 p.m. Maybe it’ll be a “defining” moment?

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Breakfast with Jim Schwartz and the NFC coaches

Posted on 25 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The NFL Owners Meetings are about to wrap up out here in Dana Point, Calif. later this afternoon and the final day brings the opportunity to dine and schmooze and interview the NFC coaches, which of course took me to the table of new Detroit Lions coach and longtime WNST.net contributor, Jim Schwartz. As an Arbutus native and Mt. St. Joe grad, I feel I owe it to Baltimore (as well as to Schwartz’s many friends and relatives) to get as much of the video up as possible.

I’m running to grab a plane but I have about an hour’s worth of great stuff — ranging from draft perspective to the 0-16 Lions to Schwartz’s view on Mark Teixeira and his new time management techniques. It might take me two days to get all of the videos up on the site but they’ll be coming soon and I’ll be releasing a few a day for the next week.

I’ve literally shot 2 1/2 hours worth of notable interviews, including more stuff with Rex Ryan, Marvin Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Mike Smith and tons more footage of yesterday’s sitdown with John Harbaugh, who had his brother Jim and dad Jack here for the last few days as well. It was my first chance to meet Jack Harbaugh, who might be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Just wonderful family, the Harbaughs!

The main focus of the last few days from the NFL’s perspective has been the impending start to negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. I could sum it all up, but Don Banks of SI.com did a very nice job in yesterday’s column. In short, the word “Armageddon” has been thrown around here in regard to a potential work stoppage in 2011 with the uncapped year looming large in 2010.

It’s been three great days here in Southern California and, as always, I learned a lot, listened a lot and asked a lot of questions. I’ll be bringing it all back and onto the air at AM 1570 and here at WNST.net over the next few weeks as we prepare for the April 25 draft.

It’s really amazing at an event like to see the Ravens alumni of coaches fare so well in the NFL.

Even with Brian Billick and Mike Nolan no longer in the fraternity the list is extraordinary and makes me proud to be a Ravens fan.

From Ted Marchibroda’s staff: Jim Schwartz, Ken Whisenhunt, Marvin Lewis and Eric Mangini are head coaches.

From Billick’s staff: Lewis, Rex Ryan, Jack Del Rio, Mike Smith all had tables and held court the last two days.

And of course, there’s John Harbaugh who is always upbeat, positive and genial in dealing with folks.

It’s almost like a purple reunion, especially when you consider David Modell has been here with his usual comedy routine, insights and his awesome 3D company, 3eality. I’m a big fan of David and I miss his presence with the team. Of course the last place I ever thought I’d run into him was at an NFL event but he was here and in fine spirits.

I’ll be checking in over the next few days and it was nice to see the Terps ladies advance in the NCAA Tournament. Anything to keep my mind off of the Orioles pitching at this point!

Off to the airport…

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Exclusive John Harbaugh breakfast footage here at WNST!

Posted on 24 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It was an early morning here in Dana Point, Calif., but very much worth the early wakeup call. Every year at the NFL Owners Meetings all 32 NFL coaches are made available during breakfast for “sitdown” interviews and a general rap session and B.S. conversation with the media. Due to the newspaper economy being on the rapid decline, the number of pure journalists is down making access almost unprecedented.

Today, it was the AFC so we’ve spent the morning with Marvin Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Rex Ryan and, of course, our own John Harbaugh. I’m working hard to platform and post the videos from the morning “rap” session and hope you enjoy all of the information, which is fresh and exclusive to WNST. There will be at least a dozen separate videos coming throughout the afternoon here in the wnsTV video vault.

They’re not tightly edited and some of the questions were a little hard for our microphones to pick up, but I think you’ll enjoy having “breakfast with John Harbaugh” in a very informal, cool setting here in Southern California.

I’ll be writing more in a little while…lots going on here including a fun visit with David Modell, who is pimping his amazing 3D video company with footage from the NFL and the U2 movie from two years ago.

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Live from Southern California…

Posted on 23 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been a chilly trip all the way around. It’s cold in California this week. It was freezing at Dodger Stadium last night and Laguna Beach is no better.

I’m spending the next three days here in Dana Point at the NFL Owners Meetings, chatting with coaches, executives and owners from around the league. Most of the media has commented that it’s “quiet” here this week, with no major rules changes or negotiations to be held. The only potential “landmark” concept is the notion of making the regular season a 17 or 18-game affair, with the elimination of those dreadful preseason games. It appears that changes to overtime possession aren’t coming right now. There’s too much support to keep the current (yet flawed) system.

But it’s truly the calm before the potential financial storm as the NFL Players Association has named its new leader in DeMaurice Smith last week.

Commisioner Roger Goodell is addressing the entire contingent this morning with a “State of The NFL” speech, which no doubt will be addressing the sagging economy and the paramount issue of a new collective bargaining agreement with the players, which could be a dog fight over the next 18 months as both sides are preparing for a tremendous battle that could go either way.

Lockouts, strikes, posturing – it’s all on the table as both sides look to divvy up the riches and spoils of a league that has basically had 25 years of labor peace and prosperity. Right now, the players get 59.5% of the total revenue pool. The owners want to make it less; the players, of course, want more. We’ll be following this story for the next two years but this is the beginning of a long race that will decide the fate of the league for the next decade.

I spent the evening last night up in Los Angeles (about an hour north of here) at Dodger Stadium at the World Baseball Classic semifinal between Team USA and Japan. Obviously, it wasn’t the greatest night for Brian Roberts in field but he did begin the game with a grand home run off of Dice K. I caught up with Brian Roberts, Davey Johnson and Jeremy Guthrie prior to the game and saw more celebrities than I can name. The videos are just to the right of here in the wnsTV video vault.

Because of the “Angelos ban” I never had the chance to meet of chat with Guthrie. He was a super good guy and was truly excited about wearing a USA jersey. My five minutes with him made it very easy to pull for him when he takes the ball at Camden Yards in two weeks.

(And for the record, I had no idea Kelsey Grammar was such a nice guy. I did, however, fully confirm that Alyssa Milano is smoking hot!)

Dodger Stadium is still a religious experience for any baseball fan and it’s nights like last night that really make me love my job and my career in sports. As I’ve been posting my baseball book about my Pop and his love of the game, it’s nights like last night that remind me about why I chose to do this for a living 25 years ago.

I also ran into some very old and dear friends from the “early days” with the Orioles. Dr. Charles Steinberg and Evelyn Ehlers – both “lifer” Orioles fans and Baltimoreans are working in the Dodgers’ front office. Former Ravens V.P. Dennis Mannion is now the president of the Dodgers. And Baltimorean Jamie McCourt (nee Luskin, as in Jack Luskin, the “cheapest guy in the town”) is the C.E.O. of the team, owner by her and husband Frank McCourt.

It’s almost like the Dodgers are Baltimore’s West Coast connection.

I’ll be shooting videos here on WNST.net, blogging and potentially grabbing some guests for Drew Forrester, Bob Haynie and Ray Bachman, who will be filling in for me all week from 2 til 6 p.m.

I’ve already chatted with virtually every NFL coach that has a Baltimore connection and John Harbaugh told me that his brother – former Ravens QB and current Stanford head coach Jim – and his dad will be here this afternoon. We’ll be doing a little wnsTV of that in the next 24 hours.

It’s also the first NFL Owners Meetings for longtime WNST supporters, Rex Ryan and Jim Schwartz, who will both make some time for Baltimore.

Stay tuned…I’ll be working hard here in California.

Did I mention the weather kinda sucks?

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A trip to the mall and Bart Scott was sold on the Jets

Posted on 28 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

There will be no statues built for Bart Scott or streets named after him in Baltimore. But he was a really cool, good Raven during the time he spent here. Scott was underappreciated on draft day, worked his way through development, special teams and finally onto the roster for good and now has gotten a bigger contract than his Hall of Fame counterpart Ray Lewis, who was left at the alter by Rex Ryan yesterday when the big contracts were being handed out.

Apparently, Rex Ryan, Mike Pettine and Bart Scott all went out for a trip to the local mall near the Jets facility while the agents and financial folks were working out the terms. As a fan, it might not sound like a big deal. But those are three, special dudes there who will no longer be working every day to make the Ravens better in Owings Mills.

It’s hard to replace good people…

Scott was a kid from Detroit who always had to work a little harder and a little smarter to make his way. He was polite, sharp, loquacious and charming. He was frequently spotted at the team facility in the offseason pushing his kids through the halls in a stroller. He was great on the radio. He was great with people. He was a stalwart in the community here and has a long track record of helping people. He’ll have a good time in New York and will be hard for the Ravens to replace.

And, privately, most scouts would tell you he’s absolutely a better player than Ray Lewis circa Sept. 2009. Well, Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine basically told the whole world that yesterday. That’s gotta sting Ray Lewis even more than waiting by the phone or the “insulting” offer the Ravens have put on the table.

Here’s a solid piece from the Jets official website on the pursuit of Bart Scott.

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Strange daze for Ray Lewis and the Ravens

Posted on 28 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve had the rare good fortune that most of you haven’t had over the past six weeks. Sometimes it kinda gets lost on me that as a media member for 25 years here in Baltimore, I get to do what every PSL owner and fan would love to do: actually sit with Steve Bisciotti and Ray Lewis and ask them questions.

In one eight day span last month, I got to sit with Bisciotti in Owings Mills (on video here) and with Ray Lewis in Tampa (one of four videos here) and ask them the exact same question: “Do you think this contract thing could get awkward for you?”

Both of them sort of skirted the question. You can see their exact answers for yourself with a click so there’s no need for me to transcribe here. The bottom line is this: I think six weeks later it’s a pretty fair question and I give myself bonus journalism points for asking the question of both men. I really don’t know if anyone had mentally taken the “free agency” train into the reality of yesterday’s situation and lo and behold, yesterday, the day of reckoning arrived and it wasn’t pretty and still stands to potentially get uglier.

It is the strangest of strange days for the organization, for Ray Lewis and most certainly for the fans who just want to know what’s going on. From WNST.net to AM 1570 to all of our Facebook accounts, Baltimore was abuzz with “Raymania” all day Friday.

Is he staying? Is he going? Will it be the Cowboys? Or the Broncos? Or the Jets? Or some darkhorse team we didn’t know was in the mix? Plenty of other players were on private lear jets and commercial flights and the NFL free agency media web mania began in earnest just after midnight. Hell, I got a text message from Peter King about Bart Scott at 2:15 AM! (No, I’m not kidding!) For the record, Peter King gave me the Namath guarantee at 8:15 a.m. this morning that Bart Scott would be a New York Jet by the end of the day. (I have no idea when the man sleeps but I love him!)

But as Jason Brown was running off to sign a $37.5 million deal with the lowly St. Louis Rams (so long JB…we’ll miss ya, man!) and Bart Scott was trying on a green cap and bringing Hot Sauce to the Big Apple, Ray Lewis was sitting at home in Florida trying to do damage control. And as we all know, public relations isn’t No. 52′s strong suit.

Let’s count the stories, tales and tacky details of this messy – and yes ‘AWKWARD’ – negotiation.

It started right after the Steelers beat the Ravens in Pittsburgh. Ray Lewis ducked the media and all questions about his future. Fair enough. Ten days later he sat on our set at Radio Row in Tampa for 15 minutes (his first interview with me since 1999) and talked a LOT about God deciding his fate. He told Anita Marks even less than that and she asked softballs as usual so nothing came from that “public appearance.”

About five days later in preparation for the Pro Bowl, he was canoodling with Jamie Dukes in a “shoot” interview on the sands of Hawaii. He openly and happily broached the possibilities of becoming a New York Jet and/or a Dallas Cowboy. Fans here in Baltimore bristled more than a little. Word is strong that Steve Bisciotti bristled as well (I have no confirmation on that one, just the same rumors you’ve heard!) He decided to pass on an in-game field interview with Andrea Kramer of NBC during the Pro Bowl, eliminating the possibility of putting his foot in his mouth.

And so for nearly a month, we’ve fielded call after call, read words upon words about what the outcome of “Ray-Gate” would be in 2009. Would No. 52 be a “Raven for life” or would he take the autumn of his Hall of Fame career elsewhere for a larger payday?

Many observations exist:

Ray has closed his Canton BBQ restaurant and is ready to move on…

Ray is perturbed that the Ravens have only offered him $12 million in guaranteed money…

Ray told Demarcus Ware he wants to be a Dallas Cowboy…

Ray (heart) Rex Ryan…

Blah, blah, blah. It was all “talk is cheap” kinda stuff in anticipation of Black Friday, the day Ray Lewis would head for greener pastures (and maybe not even the Jets?)

And when yesterday finally came, when the time came for the owners to open their pocketbooks via their GM’s and personnel folks and everyone from Albert Haynesworth to Bart Scott to Jason Brown to Ryan Fitzpatrick was jetting off somewhere to have a press conference and some free appetizers, future Hall of Famer and Baltimore legend Ray Lewis was sitting at home in Florida waiting for the phone call from the second wife that never came. Like Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn in the greenroom in New York on the third Saturday of April, he paced the cage waiting for someone other than Ozzie Newsome to show up with a Brink’s truck.

And, worst of all, NFL.com’s very respected Adam Schefter reported a source close to Ray Lewis (clearly believed to be Rod Woodson or Deion Sanders, since they are co-workers of Schefter and co-friends on No. 52’s speed dial) as saying Ray was “done” with the Ravens and offended beyond repair. That report surfaced around 9 a.m. By 4 p.m. and with seven solid hours of silence and a major disturbance from the fan base here in Baltimore, apparently Lewis had heard enough and called Woodson in Los Angeles to retract, run away from or disassociate himself with anything regarding purple potty talk and Jerry Jones. Of course, we’d love to know who or what entity is giving Ray Lewis this “advice” on public relations and skilled negotiation since his real agent David Dunn is in the NFL’s pokey for being a lousy agent.

Which brings us to today, Day Two of free agency: what does this mean for Ray Lewis and Ravens?

Well, if Ozzie Newsome were being honest – really honest – he’d probably tell you that he would’ve predicted this all along. That Ray Lewis would be sitting by the phone and it wouldn’t be ringing because his offer was always going to be the best offer. He’d probably come completely clean and say in his Southern drawl, “I had it all sized up from the beginning. I gave him what he’s worth, maybe even more than he’s worth to any other team. He’ll be a Raven because we want him the most and we’ll pay him the most. But he might have to sit at home by the phone and find that out on his own.”

I had several league insiders tell me that Ray Lewis was going to get his feelings hurt yesterday and they were right.

Of course, Newsome will never say that. But I will. Newsome has said publicly that it would only take one team, one major offer to Ray Lewis to change the game and the course. It was never even intimated that Newsome would move off of his “number” for Ray Lewis. You know the Newsome credo: right player, right price. And everyone from Steve Bisciotti down said that the owner would stay out of this negotiation.

The Ravens are reportedly offering Ray Lewis – a 34-year old aging superstar on a team that was four minutes away from the Super Bowl – about $17 million in guaranteed fresh money for the autumn of his career and some sort of “implied” final contract to make him a “Raven for life.” He’ll be lauded and feted into perpetuity here in Baltimore as a legend. Bob Haynie, Drew Forrester and I had the debate last week at Sullivan’s Steakhouse about whether No. 52 is on the Baltimore “Mount Rushmore.”

Now, the question remains: Will he take the Ravens deal?

Or are his feelings really hurt? Did he really want the Cowboys to call? Was all of this about getting leverage to push the negotiation with the Ravens, who’ve never wavered from the fact that they want Ray Lewis forever? Or was his “mystery” NFL Network friend telling the truth, that Ray Lewis is less than thrilled about continuing his career in Baltimore?

Who knows if we’ll ever know?

But you have to believe that we’re now past the point where his phone will be ringing with a higher offer later in the weekend from Jerry Jones or Pat Bowlen. If a team was serious about Ray Lewis, wouldn’t they have called already? And wouldn’t he be gone already?

We know one thing: Daniel Snyder didn’t want him to be a Redskin!

Strange daze indeed.

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An alternative look at Ray to the Jets

Posted on 06 February 2009 by Chris Bonetti

Ray Lewis to the Jets?  On the surface it seems to make the sufficient amount of sense to think could it actually happen.  Undoubtedly, we all know Rex Ryan, the new coach, is his boy.  One would think, the bright spotlight in New York City might appeal very much to Ray.  And most of all, the reason it would seem to make sense two weeks before he even becomes a free agent is because… he said it could.

If we go by what Ray said, figure the Ravens, the Cowboys, and the Jets are his preferred teams.  But, let me tell you, scratch the surface just a little bit and you’ll discover there is no way #52 will be donning Jets’ Green next season.

This Ray Lewis to the Jets thing, is a non-story.  Simply put the Jets do not have the cash to spend on bringing Ray Lewis to The Meadowlands, or The Meadowlands II, or whatever company spends money to have naming rights to the new Jets/Giants mega-stadium in 2010.

Jets owner Robert Woods Johnson, the guy whose family sells lots of band-aids and baby powder, loves a big splash free agent signing more than anyone.  That said last off-season the Jets and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum ran up a  $142 million, $74 million guaranteed tab on new contracts for FA’s Alan Faneca, Calvin Pace, and Damien Woody, and Kris Jenkins, whom they acquired via trade with Carolina.  So clearly money is a little tied up.  Oh yeah, then they traded for and signed BRETT FAVRE.  Boom there’s another $12M for last year, and $13M for this season if he comes back.

Hmmm, that raises an interesting question; the answer would surely effect Ray’s decision.  Will Brett Favre come back?  Either way keeps Lewis away from coming to New York.  If Favre chooses to come back for another ‘last go around’ the cap hit would leave no room for Ray.  If he retires to hunting and tractor riding in Mississippi or gets released or traded, why would Ray want to come to a team with a Kellen Clemens/Brett Ratliff quarterback ‘battle.’  I’m not sure he’s going down that road again; I think he knows it all too well.

I share in a common belief that Ray is going where the most money is.  I realize I’m not breaking news, I can clearly remember him telling Nestor and Drew on Radio Row that when all is said and done the decision will be made in 5 minutes.  Translation to me, Ray’s waiting to see who going to show him the money.

I make no promises that Ray is staying or going.

But if indeed Ray has played his last down in purple, I’m telling you, his next will not be in the ‘Swamps of Jersey’ with the Jets.

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Ray – will he stay or will he go?

Posted on 23 January 2009 by raybachman

It’s hard to believe that Ray Lewis may have played his last game as a Raven. I know that the Ravens are gonna do everything they can to keep him but, Ray Lewis has to look out for himself. People throw the word loyalty around. I am a strong believer in loyalty but, this is Ray’s last big contract and loyalty doesn’t pay the bills.

It was good to see the Orioles lock up Markakis for the next 6 years. Now you can finally buy an Orioles jersey and keep it for a few years. I saw a Tejada jersey for 10 bucks. That’s pretty funny. Nothing worse than wearing a jersey of player that’s not on the team anymore.

Mark McGwire is in the news again. This time his brother is saying that Mark used HGH and steroids. No shocker there but, it’s good to see McGwire’s image continue to take a hit. Ever since he told me to go the F—  home and go to bed when I was 13 and asked him for his autograph.

Jets owner Woody Johnson said he wants Brett Favre back. Have fun Rex!

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