Tag Archive | "texans"

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Rice absent from practice for second straight day

Posted on 19 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after six players missed practice, the Ravens didn’t receive much better news on Thursday as Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice was absent once again while continuing to recover from a hip flexor strain.

Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Rice would not need to practice to potentially play in Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, but his continued absence makes it apparent that backup Bernard Pierce will play a bigger role in the offense even if Rice is available. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell acknowledged this reality prior to Thursday’s practice after Pierce carried the ball 19 times for 57 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland last Sunday.

“He’s been a guy that’s run extremely hard,” Caldwell said. “In particular, when you look at our situation right now, he’s going to have to carry a little bit more of a load, but we fully expect him to be able to step up and do the job.”

Defensive end Chris Canty (groin), linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), and wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) all missed practice for a second straight day. Jones has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game as he continues to recover from an MCL sprain suffered in the season opener two weeks ago.

Expressing optimism that he’d be able to play on Sunday prior to missing Thursday’s practice, Canty acknowledged the possibility of still being able to play on Sunday without practicing all week. The ninth-year defensive lineman exited the Week 2 win against the Browns early in the second half and didn’t return, but magnetic resonance imaging returned no indication of structural damage earlier this week.

“It feels pretty good,” Canty said. “We’ll continue to go about the process and hopefully be able to participate on Sunday. As a veteran football player, you think you can be ready. I’ve been in this situation before. I’m just trying to get in the best physical condition I can, so I can have an opportunity to help my football team win.”

Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot) was not present during the portion of practice open to the media, which is concerning after the second-year wideout took part in Wednesday’s workout on a limited basis. He has not played in a game since injuring his foot in the preseason opener on Aug. 9.

The good news on the injury front came in the return of cornerback Chykie Brown to the practice field after an MRI earlier this week indicated there was no structural damage to the knee he strained against Cleveland. The third-year defensive back did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams (toe) was practicing for the second consecutive day after working on a limited basis on Wednesday.

For Houston, free safety Ed Reed (hip) and wide receiver Andre Johnson (concussion) were limited participants as both appear to be good candidates to play on Sunday. Left tackle Duane Brown continues to be sidelined with a turf toe injury, leaving his status in doubt for Week 3.

Here is Thursday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
OUT: WR Jacoby Jones (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Deonte Thompson (foot), LB Arthur Brown (chest), DE Chris Canty (thigh), C Ryan Jensen (foot), RB Ray Rice (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Chykie Brown (knee), DT Brandon Williams (toe)

HOUSTON
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LT Duane Brown (toe), TE Garrett Graham (hip/groin)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Andre Johnson (concussion), TE Owen Daniels (rest – NIR), FS Ed Reed (hip), LG Wade Smith (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Jonathan Joseph (rest – NIR), LB Brian Cushing (knee), RB Arian Foster (calf/chest), LB Joe Mays (quad), CB Brice McCain (knee), C Chris Meyers (back), RT Derek Newton (knee/calf), WR DeVier Posey (Achilles/foot), LB Darryl Sharpton (hip), RB Ben Tate (shoulder)

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“The Reality Check” Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week 32)

I assume the Jacksonville CBS affiliate is going to have to start running apologies too.

31. Cleveland Browns (31)

Bigger issue: missing a wide open throw to Chris Ogbonnaya or counting on major offensive contributions from Chris Ogbonnaya?

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28)

It’s certainly much more the whole “assh*le coach hates the quarterback” issue than the “lost on two last second field goals” issue.

29. New York Jets (27)

I scrambled to grab Bilal Powell in my fantasy league only to remember I had just grabbed Bilal Powell in my fantasy league.

28. Oakland Raiders (30)

Congratulations on your win*.

(*Obviously I don’t have to explain why a win over the Jags gets an asterisk.)

27. Carolina Panthers (24)

Gene Chizik is available and has prior experience with high paid athletes.

26. Buffalo Bills (29)

And we’re going to need a little more of you, CJ Spiller. (Signed, guys who have you in three different leagues.)

25. Minnesota Vikings (22)

Wins aren’t going to start getting easy any time soon.

24. Arizona Cardinals (26)

Should I bench Cam Newton for Carson Palmer in New Orleans?

23. Pittsburgh Steelers (20)

22. Washington Redskins (18)

Can Kirk Cousins play defense?

21. Detroit Lions (21)

The bad teams are so bad that a loss to the Cardinals doesn’t drop them.

20. Tennessee Titans (23)

Or for the Titans to lose but move up three spots anyway.

19. St. Louis Rams (19)

Or for the Rams to lose and stay put you get the picture.

18. San Diego Chargers (25)

For reals?

17. New York Giants (15)

Either Eli Manning or Cam Newton will get a win. Or they’ll both get ties. I could use a new tie.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 17 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer: MLS-DC United @ New England Revolution (Saturday 7:30pm from Foxborough, MA live on MLS Direct Kick); College Soccer: Navy @ UMBC (Tuesday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park), UMBC @ Loyola (Saturday 7pm Ridley Athletic Complex); WNBA Playoffs: Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream (Game 1 Thursday TBD from Atlanta live on ESPN2 Game 2 Saturday 7pm from Atlanta live on Monumental Network/NBA TV Game 3 if necessary Monday TBD from Atlanta live on TBD)

10. Willie Nelson & Family (Sunday 7pm Pier Six Pavilion); Imagine Dragons/The Neighbourhood (Friday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Virgin Mobile FreeFest feat. Robin Thicke/Vampire Weekend/MGMT/City & Colour/Avett Brothers (Saturday 12pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Michael Buble (Sunday 8pm Verizon Center); Steely Dan (Friday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Robert Randolph & The Family Band (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live), J. Roddy Walston & The Business (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live), Scotty McCreery (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live), Local Natives (Monday 8pm Rams Head Live); Pepper (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage), Mickey Hart Band (Friday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Hed PE (Sunday 6pm Baltimore Soundstage); Dan Deacon (Saturday 9pm Ottobar); Mint Condition (Thursday 7:30pm Rams Head Center Stage); Yellowcard (Wednesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Michael Franti & Spearhead (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Jamey Johnson (Sunday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Alt-J (Wednesday & Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Stereophonics (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Pet Shop Boys (Thursday 8pm Strathmore); Montgomery Gentry (Saturday postgame Nationals Park); MGMT “MGMT”, Elvis Costello & The Roots “Wise Up Ghost” and Jack Johnson “From Here To Now To You” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

You may recognize Imagine Dragons as the band that performs EVERY SONG YOU’VE HEARD IN 2013.

I’ve lost so many hairs on my arms to Robert Randolph shows over the years. I could share any number of his songs, but I just learned that he once did “Up On Cripple Creek” with Joe Walsh so that will be the play.

J. Roddy Walston and The Business are the Biz. Ness.

Wait. Elvis Costello and THE ROOTS? Elvis Costello and The Roots.

9. Maryland Wine Festival (Saturday & Sunday Carroll County Farm Museum); Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention (Thursday-Saturday Hunt Valley Wyndham); The Gathering: Food Truck Rally (Friday 5pm Penn Station); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday & Sunday RennFest Fairgrounds); Prisoners” out in theaters (Friday); Erik Griffin (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Dave Attell (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); World War Z” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Grand Theft Auto V” available for XBox360/PlayStation3 (Tuesday)

Is Erik Griffin not coming to you? Are you a Workaholics fan? If not, you should be.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Rice won’t need to practice to play against Texans on Sunday

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Rice won’t need to practice to play against Texans on Sunday

Posted on 16 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens continued to present a positive outlook for running back Ray Rice’s status following the left hip flexor strain he suffered in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over Cleveland.

Rice did not return to the game, but the sixth-year back did not undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test, a good sign that the injury isn’t considered a long-term concern. The Ravens were held 99 yards on 36 carries with Rice carrying 13 times for 36 yards before exiting the game, but coach John Harbaugh was optimistic once again about Rice’s prognosis moving forward.

“That’s the indication, that it’s not anything that’s really serious,” Harbaugh said. “They would be looking at it if they thought it was. We’ll just be day to day with him.”

With the Ravens struggling to run the ball in each of their first two games of the regular season, Rice’s availability will be crucial with the Houston Texans coming to Baltimore on Sunday. However, the injury reports for practices this week probably won’t provide a strong indication of Rice’s progress and you’d assume his hip ailment will lead to more opportunities than normal for backup Bernard Pierce on Sunday.

Pierce gained 57 yards on 19 carries, including a 5-yard touchdown to put the Ravens in front of Cleveland for the first time with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter. Through two weeks, the Ravens rank 22nd in the NFL with 78.5 rushing yards per game and their 2.8 yards per carry average is 28th in the league.

“Ray’s a guy I’d probably lean toward resting him this week [during practices] and then seeing how he looks this weekend,” Harbaugh said. “He’s not going to need the practice to play in the game, but if he feels great, we’ll put him out there. If he doesn’t, we’ll probably rest him and get him ready to go on Sunday if possible.”

Harbaugh did not have any significant updates on the Ravens’ other injuries from Sunday’s game aside from defensive end Chris Canty undergoing an MRI for his injured groin. Cornerback Chykie Brown (knee) and linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain) both underwent MRIs on Monday, but the latter took part in Monday’s walk-through, which could be an indication that his pectoral injury isn’t too serious.

Ready for Reed’s return

Former Ravens safety Ed Reed has yet to make his debut with the Houston Texans due to offseason hip surgery, but Harbaugh and the Ravens fully expect to see the future Hall of Famer lurking in the secondary in his return to Baltimore on Sunday.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was optimistic on Monday when asked about Reed’s status after the safety appeared to be close to playing in Houston’s Week 2 win over Tennessee before being ruled inactive. Reed has taken his time in rehabbing his surgically-repaired hip, but you know he had the Week 3 meeting with the Ravens circled on his calendar as a game in which he desperately wanted to play.

“We’ll have to assume that he is going to play,” Harbaugh said. “We’d be surprised if he didn’t play in this game, and we’ll have to assume he’s going to play the way he’s played in the past.”

The Ravens are clearly familiar with Reed’s skill set and mental prowess in the secondary, but there is some level of unknown in how he’ll fit in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ system. Harbaugh acknowledged the Texans’ 3-4 system has similar elements to what the Ravens run in Baltimore, but quarterback Joe Flacco will now face the 35-year-old defensive back for the first time in a non-practice setting.

Harbaugh acknowledged that it will be strange seeing No. 20 on the enemy sideline after his 11 years spent in Baltimore.

“It’s going to be like it was for other teams game planning against us in the past, I suppose,” Harbaugh said. “It will be a different feeling. I’ll let you know afterwards. It’s a little tougher because we haven’t seen him on tape, so we really don’t know how he fits in their defense.”

Lewis entering Ring of Honor

In addition to Reed, the Ravens will also induct future Hall of Fame linebacker into their Ring of Honor on Sunday, adding to what will already be a special day and a meaningful game against one of the best teams in the AFC.

Lewis will speak to the media through a national conference call on Tuesday afternoon before being honored during halftime of Sunday’s game.

The Ravens might even ask for an extra lift from the 38-year-old, who is now making a name for himself off the field as an NFL analyst on ESPN.

“We’ll be emotional about the game, and we’ll feel great about Ray being here for that,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a great honor. It’s something that we’ll all take pride in. Maybe Ray will be ready to give us a little [pep] talk? We’ll be looking for that as well.”

Flacco spends day with family

With his wife Dana giving birth to the couple’s second son on Sunday, Flacco left M&T Bank Stadium immediately after the 14-6 win over the Browns and was given the day off Monday to spend time with baby Daniel.

“We did give Joe some time today to stay up [in New Jersey], because of getting up there so late last night,” Harbaugh said. “I just talked to him through texts, and he seems pretty happy.”

Players will have their regular day off on Tuesday before returning to their Owings Mills facility on Wednesday to continue preparations for Houston.

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Ravens to add retired linebacker Lewis to Ring of Honor

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Ravens to add retired linebacker Lewis to Ring of Honor

Posted on 15 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The last time we saw Ray Lewis at M&T Bank Stadium, he was dancing a final time while holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy just two days after the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII victory.

The retired inside linebacker won’t have to wait long to enter the team’s Ring of Honor as the Ravens announced Monday that Lewis will be inducted on Sept. 22 during a Week 3 contest with the Houston Texans. Of course, that means former Ravens safety and Lewis’ longtime teammate Ed Reed will be on the opposing sideline in his first visit to Baltimore since departing via free agency this offseason.

Owner Steve Bisciotti has already said the organization plans to build a statue in honor of the 17-year linebacker, who retired after helping lead the Ravens to their second Super Bowl championship. The statue will not be ready for Lewis’ Week 3 ceremony.

Lewis becomes the seventh Ravens player to receive the honor, joining 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Jamal Lewis, Michael McCrary, Matt Stover, and Earnest Byner. Late owner Art Modell and eight Baltimore Colts are also members of the Ring of Honor.

A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 13-time Pro Bowl selection, Lewis is eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

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New safety Huff willingly taking torch in replacing Ravens legend

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New safety Huff willingly taking torch in replacing Ravens legend

Posted on 28 March 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Replacing a legend isn’t easy, but new Ravens safety Michael Huff is looking to carve out his own niche in the tradition of great Baltimore defense.

The 30-year-old met with the local media for the first time Thursday after passing his physical and officially signing a three-year, $6 million contract and didn’t shy away from recognizing the crater left behind by future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal to join the Houston Texans last week. In fact, Huff has kept in contact with Reed via text messages in a symbolic passing of the torch.

Huff knows he can’t truly replace the nine-time Pro Bowl safety, but the 2005 Jim Thorpe Award winner and seventh overall pick of the 2006 draft is eager to maintain the level of strong play found in the Ravens secondary for over a decade. And it may provide the opportunity for Huff to break free from the black cloud of the Raiders organization after never experience a winning season in seven campaigns in the AFC West.

“It means a lot,” Huff said. “He’s one of the greatest — if not the greatest — free safety to ever play the game. I talked to him last night. I told him I’d carry on his legacy and carry on the tradition of great safeties in Baltimore. I’m definitely going to go out there and hold up my end.”

He may not have fulfilled the great promised he once showed as a star for the Longhorns, but Huff is happy to be in Baltimore seven years after general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens showed interest in him leading up to the 2006 draft.

Huff is expected to start at free safety, but the University of Texas product views himself as a Swiss army knife in the secondary, evident last season when he made 14 starts at cornerback due to a high number of injuries in the Oakland secondary. It’s a valuable asset to have on game day when a team is limited to just 46 active players and is only an injury or two away from having a major predicament at any given position on the field.

“I’m going to go out there and play free safety, play strong safety, play corner if they need me to, to play nickel if they need me to,” Huff said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to help the defense and help us win.”

Joining a group of safeties with only one other veteran — 29-year-old James Ihedigbo — Huff said Thursday that he won’t shy away from mentoring younger players such as Christian Thompson, Omar Brown, Emanuel Cook, and Anthony Levine. Linked by their respective collegiate careers at Texas, Huff and cornerback Chykie Brown train together during the offseason.

It follows a predictable offseason script as Huff joins defensive ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears and linebacker Elvis Dumervil as free-agent additions who will also bring positive veteran presences to a Ravens locker room that lost several leaders following the Super Bowl XLVII win.

“He fits us really well, both football-wise and technique-wise, the type of person he is, the type of family man he is,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s going to enable us to keep doing the things on defense that we have been doing and even build on those things.”

Moving beyond the iconic status of Reed after 11 years of the ball-hawking safety roaming the secondary for the Ravens, Huff might prove to be an upgrade over Reed as the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year turns 35 at the beginning of the 2013 season. Reed’s tackling issues aren’t a secret after a nerve impingement has taken its toll on his neck and shoulder and the 2002 first-round pick admitted himself that his range had declined in recent years.

The cheaper price tag for a younger player also didn’t hurt in easing the pain of Reed’s decision to join the Texans.

“I think the thing that stands out is you look at a guy in the back end who has a lot of range,” secondary coach Teryl Austin said. “He is a good tackler coming out of the back end, and he’s durable. He has played a lot.”

Having missed only four games in his professional career, Huff adds a dependable piece to the back end of a defense that lost Reed and strong safety Bernard Pollard earlier this month.

Huff won’t be confused with having the big-play ability that Reed displayed in his time with the Ravens, but his steady and safe style might just be what the defense needs after the pass rush was boosted with the signing of the three-time Pro Bowl selection Dumervil. The new safety is far more interested in continuing a winning tradition — one he never experienced in the abyss of Oakland — than personal stats or another big contract.

“It’s defense and just winning,” Huff said. “At this point in my career, it’s not chasing money. It’s not chasing things like that. It’s chasing that Super Bowl ring. I don’t think there’s any better place than to come here. Baltimore is that place. If you want to come here and win a Super Bowl, then this is where you want to be.”

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Reed proud to play final game with Ravens in Super Bowl

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Reed proud to play final game with Ravens in Super Bowl

Posted on 22 March 2013 by Luke Jones

It looked strange watching one of the greatest Ravens of all time with another organization, but the inevitable became official on Friday as Ed Reed officially signed a three-year deal with the Houston Texans.

Flanked by owner Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith, Reed wore a Texans hat and a blue button-up shirt as he was introduced to the media at Reliant Stadium. He officially signed a three-year, $15 million contract that includes $5 million guaranteed before the Friday morning press conference.

“This is awesome,” said Reed, who cited being closer to his native Louisiana as a major selling point for joining the Texans. “From the first day of free agency, Rick called me and I think we both knew just from the conversation –  how things were going and how this could work — it just was a matter of time of getting it done.”

Reed said he spoke to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and coach John Harbaugh prior to the press conference. The 34-year-old took the high road in what was perceived by many as a halfhearted effort to keep the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Baltimore.

The nine-time Pro Bowl safety said the Ravens needed to make decisions and cited changes the roster has already undergone and implied his departure was part of that process.

“That’s 11 years that’s just storybook,” Reed said. “I’m proud to say that the last game was the Super Bowl [with] Baltimore. That will never be taken back. I’ll always be in that community and always be forever grateful to my fans, to that city, to that neighborhood, my neighbors, so many people.”

The 2002 first-round pick became the sixth key defensive player to exit the Ravens’ Super Bowl defense, joining linebackers Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, and Paul Kruger and fellow defensive backs Cary Williams and Bernard Pollard.

Reed complimented the Texans for “laying out the red carpet” for his free-agent visit last week and stated the first objective was bringing a championship to his new city. Houston’s reputation for already having a stout defense also helped in his decision-making process.

Experiencing free agency for the first time in his career, Reed acknowledged there were some business details to work out in explaining why he left Houston without a contract last week.

“I still love football; I know I can play football,” Reed said. “It just was a matter of being somewhere that fits — for me and the team. I think that the team knew what they wanted and understood that my fit into their organization was perfect timing. I prayed on it very hard and left it in [God's] hands, and He showed me well before it even happened that this was the home that I would be in next. It was just awesome to go from a great franchise to another great franchise and knowing that we had some classic battles when I was in Baltimore.”

The Texans are scheduled to visit Baltimore in the regular season in what will surely be a bittersweet day for both Reed and a fan base that adored him for the last 11 years. The date of that game will become official by late April, but it figures to be a game that earns consideration for national television.

Watching Reed hold a Texans jersey was strange enough, but imagining him running through the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium in another uniform is another story entirely. But it’s a reality that won’t change Reed’s adoration for the city that adopted him as one of its own in 2002.

“Football is what we do,” Reed said. “It’s our job and it’s a business, but the relationships that I have with people in Baltimore will never change.”

 

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Newsome, Harbaugh respond to Reed departure

Posted on 22 March 2013 by WNST Staff

Ravens General Manager & Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome:

“Our hope is that the Hall of Fame players we drafted could play their entire careers with us, but we understand why Ed is moving on to the Texans.

 

“He’s not the first Hall of Famer to move to another team. Tony Gonzalez is playing with the Falcons. Joe Montana played with the Chiefs. Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson played for the Ravens.

 

“How fortunate we were to have Ed with us for 11 seasons. He is one of the Ravens’ and NFL’s all-time greats. Words cannot measure what he did for us, including helping us win a second Super Bowl. We thank him for all he did for Baltimore. Ed will always be a part of the Ravens family.”

 

 

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh:

“Ed has had a major impact on our organization and our community. He is a great player and a great friend. We will always be thankful for what we accomplished together.”

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Former Ravens safety Pollard joining Titans

Posted on 21 March 2013 by Luke Jones

The morning after it was learned that longtime Ravens safety Ed Reed would be joining the Houston Texans, it appears his former partner in the defensive backfield will be moving into the AFC South as well.

Former Baltimore strong safety Bernard Pollard will join the Tennessee Titans on a one-year deal, as first reported by ESPN’s Josina Anderson. The reporter tweeted that Pollard informed her of the move Thursday morning, and Pollard’s agent Tory Dandy confirmed the news via Twitter.

The 28-year-old was released and designated as a post-June 1st release last week, meaning his $2 million base salary remains on the salary cap until that date. This allows general manager Ozzie Newsome to push $1.5 million in dead money to next year’s cap that otherwise would have been applied to the 2013 cap. Only this year’s prorated signing bonus amount of $750,000 will count against the cap.

In other words, the Ravens will receive an additional $2 million in cap space in June, which could provide flexibility in signing a veteran to address a need such as how they added guard Bobbie Williams last summer.

Pollard will join his fourth team in eight NFL seasons, leaving some to believe his strong-willed personality and outspoken nature led to his release, but coach John Harbaugh said in Phoenix that his release was solely a cap-related move. Veteran safety James Ihedigbo is projected to fill one of the two safety spots vacated by Pollard and Reed, but the Ravens are expected to address the position in April’s draft.

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Ed Reed leaving Ravens after 11 seasons

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Ed Reed leaving Ravens after 11 seasons

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Luke Jones

After a brilliant 11-year run that finally culminated with his first Super Bowl title in February, future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed is leaving the Baltimore Ravens to join the Houston Texans.

One of the best players in franchise history, Reed has agreed to a three-year contract to join Houston, leaving behind a legacy in Baltimore that included nine Pro Bowl selections and the 2004 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. The decision comes almost a week after Reed was courted by the Texans in a full-court press of wining and dining.

Reed traveled to Houston after being picked up from his Atlanta home in Texas owner Bob McNair’s private jet, an unprecedented move in that organization’s history of courting free agents. The veteran safety met with team officials and coaches before leaving Houston without a contract despite numerous reports that a deal would be finalized last Friday.

After the temporary hiccup in the Texans’ bid to bring Reed to Houston, general manager Rick Smith continued to negotiate with agent David Dunn at the league meetings in Phoenix this week. Meanwhile, the Ravens continued to wait out the process as reports came out about Houston’s offer. Owner Steve Bisciotti and coach John Harbaugh both expressed optimism earlier this week that Reed would remain with the Ravens.

The Ravens’ first-round pick in the 2002 draft expressed his desire to finish his career where it started, but the sides did not agree on fair compensation for the 34-year-old’s services as Baltimore gave no indication of matching the $4 million per year the Texans were offering. Aside from remaining in touch with Reed throughout the process, the Ravens never jumped into a bidding war for the longtime safety’s services as it became increasingly clear Reed would need to take less money to remain in Baltimore.

Reed cited Houston’s proximity to his home state of Louisiana has a plus in making a potential decision to leave the only franchise he’s known as a professional. The Ravens and Texans are scheduled to play in Baltimore during the 2013 regular season.

The free-agent loss of the ball-hawking safety is especially difficult for Baltimore fans with the retirement of inside linebacker Ray Lewis after the Ravens’ 34-31 win in Super Bowl XLVII. Many hoped Reed might follow Lewis into retirement after tasting championship glory for the first time in his brilliant career, but the former University of Miami star made it known he had more football to play in his career.

“I always said when I came into the league and got drafted that I didn’t want to be one of those guys jumping from team to team,” Reed said in New Orleans prior to the Super Bowl. “If it was up to me, I would be right in Baltimore. If it happens to be somewhere else, I can play football on the moon.”

Instead, he’ll play in a city famous for facilitating lunar missions as Reed will attempt to push Houston over the divisional-round mountain they’ve been unable to climb in the last two seasons. Those postseason failures included a 20-13 loss in Baltimore to end the Texans’ 2011 season.

General manager Ozzie Newsome addressed Reed’s future at the Ravens’ end-of-season press conference by acknowledging there would likely be opportunities on the open market as his six-year, $44.5 million. Further complicating matters at the time was Reed’s lack of an agent, but Dunn was hired to represent him before the start of free agency, a surefire sign that the longtime Ravens was poised to depart for the right deal.

“I think he realizes there may be some other options out there, but I think if you watched him and watched his body language over the course of the last eight to 10 days, that he loves being here in Baltimore,” Newsome said on Feb. 7. “I think we can use that to help make that relationship last a little bit longer.”

In recent years, Reed’s performance has declined due to a nerve impingement in his shoulder and neck suffered at the end of the 2007 season as well as various other ailments, but opposing quarterbacks continued to account for the free safety on every play. Reed’s tackling ability appeared to decline rapidly over the last couple seasons to the point of some wondering how much longer he can stand to be an every-down player, but his ability in pass coverage remains steady.

Reed has hinted at retirement on a few occasions over the last few offseasons while also dropping cryptic hints that he was dissatisfied with his current. However, Newsome and the Ravens would simply bite their tongue, knowing the mercurial safety would report to training camp. In his final season with the Ravens, Reed skipped a mandatory minicamp in the spring before ultimately reporting on time for camp in late July.

Despite the appearance of that rift, Harbaugh expressed Tuesday how much his relationship had grown with Reed in what would prove to be their last season together.

“He was a great leader. Our relationship has just blossomed,” said Harbaugh, who has exchanged text messages with Reed during the offseason. “It’s been good, but this year with Ed especially, we really just got close. The leadership he brought to the team through [the Ray Lewis injury] was really fantastic.”

Through his various physical challenges, Reed played in all 16 regular-season games in each of the last two seasons.

In 11 seasons in Baltimore, Reed tallied 61 interceptions, a franchise record and the most in the NFL since his 2002 rookie season. In addition to being the NFL’s active leader in interceptions – ranked 10th all-time — Reed has an NFL-record 1,541 interception return yards in his career.

In his younger days, Reed was the most dangerous punt blocker in the league and considered the Ravens’ biggest playmaker when his hands touched the football. He is the only player in NFL history to return scores off a blocked punt, interception, punt return, and fumble recovery. Counting the postseason, Reed has scored a remarkable 14 touchdowns in his career.

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