Tag Archive | "steve mcnair"

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Bengals-Ravens Notebook: 100-yard streak snapped, Ed Reed strikes again

Posted on 11 October 2009 by Luke Jones

– The Baltimore rush defense hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in nearly three years before the Bengals’ Cedric Benson ended the streak at 39 games on Sunday.

Benson’s 28-yard touchdown run pushed him over the century mark while also giving the Bengals a 10-7 lead in the third quarter. The former Texas Longhorn rushed 27 times for 120 yards in the Bengals’ 17-14 victory over the Ravens.

“It sucks,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said about allowing a 100-yard rusher. “We definitely try to stop the run first, and basically, we didn’t do that today. We’ve got to go back and fix it, and hopefully do better this week.”

Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson was the last opponent to eclipse the 100-yard mark against the Baltimore defense before Benson on Sunday. Johnson’s 120-yard day took place in Kansas City on Dec. 10, 2006.

– Ed Reed continued to cultivate a Hall of Fame resume on Sunday, picking off Carson Palmer in the second quarter and returning it 52 yards for the first score of the game. It was Reed’s sixth career interception return for a touchdown, a franchise record.

It was the 45th interception of his eight-year career. His 45 interceptions and 1,213 interception return yards rank first among all active players in the NFL since 2002, Reed’s rookie season.

“It means nothing if you lose at the end of the day,” Reed said. “When you lose, everything else is out the window. Individual stuff doesn’t matter at the end of the day.”

Including the postseason, Reed has scored 13 touchdowns in his career. He is also the only player in NFL history to score touchdowns off of an interception, a blocked punt, a punt return, and a fumble recovery.

– Despite the offense scoring only seven points on the day, it was another sterling performance by second-year running back Ray Rice. The shifty back registered 143 yards from scrimmage against Cincinnati with 69 coming on the ground and 74 receiving yards (a new career high).

His 48-yard catch and run to the end zone looked to be the decisive blow for the Ravens before Palmer and the Bengals drove 80 yards in the final two minutes for the winning touchdown. Rice is averaging 114.4 net yards per game through the first five weeks of the season.

– Palmer was brilliant on Cincinnati’s final drive, but the Bengals were aided by three crucial Baltimore penalties.  Defensive back Chris Carr was flagged for illegal contact, linebacker Ray Lewis was called for unnecessary roughness on a violent helmet-to-helmet hit on Chad Ochocinco, and Frank Walker’s pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-16 gave the Bengals a fresh set of downs at the Baltimore 20-yard line.

Following the Walker flag, Palmer connected with Andre Caldwell for the game-winning 20-yard touchdown.

“I felt like I went around him and batted the ball down, but we haven’t watched the film yet, so I could be inaccurate,” Walker said about the questionable call.

– Quarterback Joe Flacco’s 186 passing yards moved him past Steve McNair into third place in team history with 4,260 career yards through the air.

– Wide receiver Mark Clayton passed Qadry Ismail into third place for all-time receiving yards in team history. The fifth-year wideout has 2,849 yards in his career.

– Derrick Mason did not record a catch for the Ravens offense, making it the first time since Oct. 15, 2006 that the veteran receiver did not have at least one reception for the Baltimore offense.

– Tight end and special teams player Edgar Jones left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return. His was the only reported injury for the Ravens.

– The Ravens’ inactives were John Beck (third quarterback), Jalen Parmele, Prescott Burgess, Oniel Cousins, Jared Gaither, Tony Curtis, Kelly Talavou, and Paul Kruger.

– The Ravens (3-2) will travel to Minnesota to take on the undefeated Vikings (5-0, first place in the NFC North) at the Metrodome next Sunday.

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Some Friday Thoughts  -  Rex Ryan, Kanye West, Vince Young & Ernie Harwell ....

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Some Friday Thoughts – Rex Ryan, Kanye West, Vince Young & Ernie Harwell ….

Posted on 18 September 2009 by WNST Interns

It’s Friday, and we’re a little more than 48 hours away from the Ravens second game of this young NFL Season. I’m certain you’re being provided with the best “up to the minute” Ravens 411, right here, at WNST.net …..

There is plenty to discuss and digest. The San Diego Chargers are by all means an “interesting” opponent for the Ravens. The issues and items for discussion are varied …..

Will the San Diego running attack – Tomlinson, Sproles & Bennett be effective against the Ravens defense? I’ll tell you on the SUNDAY MORNING BLITZ …..

Will Joe Flacco air it out 43 times? Heck I don’t have a clue – and anyone who says they do know, is full of sh!#. But, I’ll say this …. I’ll give you my thoughts on the SUNDAY MORNING BLITZ ….

And, will the Ravens “Front 4” get pressure on Philip Rivers, in this prelude to the matchup with Tom Brady and the Patriots, in two weeks? I’ll tell you on the SUNDAY MORNING BLITZ …..

Do you see a pattern here? That’s right, it’s FRIDAY !!!! Let’s lighten it up. And, in doing so, I’m gonna give you my reflections on this past week and the people who made it pretty interesting …..

Rex Ryan

The former Ravens Defensive Coordinator is enjoying some rockstar status with syndicated sports media, and the New York press. Heck, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, a devout Jets loyalist, is practically ready to rename his son “REX.” I fully endorse it 

Given this recent ride of popularity, I wouldn’t be surprised to catch Rex Ryan hosting Saturday Night Live. And, if they really have any intentions – he’d better record tomorrow night’s episode. Indeed, some of the luster will wear off on Sunday.

‘Ole Rex might not be ready to “Kiss The Ring,” but he’d better be prepared to see his team take a good ass-whipping. And, as we know, beatdowns at the “mercy” of Bill Belichick are anything but …..

I think Rex’s mouth will get him into hot water sooner, rather than later. Hmmm …. is this a look in the mirror moment ??? You get it ????

Bill Belichick is known for punishing those who disrespect him or the franchise – just ask Eric Mangini. And, while it took Tom Brady & Company a few quarters to shake off nearly TWO YEARS of rust, last week, they still shook it off.

He’s back and the Jets are in real freakin’ trouble ……

Tila Tequila

It’s fairly apparent, Tila’s 15 minutes PLUS another half-hour of FAME ….. are over. Beyond, wishing her self-spiraling “antics and turmoil” on a few former colleagues, I really hope we never, ever hear her name, again.

Vince Young

Yes, THAT Vince Young.

While he might be serving as the backup quarterback, with the Titans, Young committed a “first string” gesture of love and humanity, on Wednesday. In a total surprise moment, Young showed up at the late Steve McNair’s Nashville home and escorted his two youngest sons to their school’s annual “Father & Son Breakfast.”

Vince Young simply did a selfless thing. I’m impressed. But, I hope we hear the same story next year, and the year after. Get my drift …..

Kanye West

Well, he’s the week’s most searched name on internet engines. And, we all know the reason. I won’t give Kanye West much attention. I’ll just concede the truth …..

He’s lived a life with patterned behavior of a RACIST. He is a racist. I think celebrity is coupled with a responsibility to accountability. While celebrities are NOT role models, they are expected to live a life of good citizenry. And, the world is watching.

Kanye West is not a good person – period.

Ernie Harwell

Perhaps, this is the only fitting way of mentioning Ernie Harwell and Kanye West in the same article. Ernie Harwell embodies responsible citizenry and CLASS. At 92, the Hall Of Fame announcer is battling incurable cancer, and he has no regrets.

Ernie Harwell is loved throughout the baseball and sports world. You know how that happens? It’s easy ….. BE GOOD TO PEOPLE.

On Wednesday, the Detroit Tigers and fans took time for Ernie – and he took time for them. It’s been a wonderful marriage, and the ceremony was as authentic as they come. He’s at home ….. with the “Great People of Michigan.” Well, said ……


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NBC's Dateline focuses on Steve McNair's Death - Tonite

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NBC’s Dateline focuses on Steve McNair’s Death – Tonite

Posted on 31 August 2009 by WNST Interns

Yes, I realize the Ravens season opener is just 13 days away AND Matt Cassel might not be taking any snaps, at M&T Bank Stadium …..

And, the New York Yankees are in town. Which means the Orioles will be getting demolished, at the hands of Derek Jeter, A’Rod and Mark Teixeira, as they enjoy their “home away from home,” for three nights.

The overwhelming, sad truth is Yankees fans have held a death-grip on this city, during their team’s visits, for close to a decade. Tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday will be no different.

However, if you are looking for something different to occupy your Monday evening …..

NBC’s Dateline will take an in-depth look into the murder of Steve McNair. The program will focus on the circumstances of McNair’s death, as well as his personal life. NBC’s Lester Holt teases the piece, by saying “investigators reveal what led McNair to a life where he faced far more dangers off the field, than he ever faced on it.”

The trailer for Monday’s Dateline is found below …..


I’m not a big believer in conspiracy theories. Nor, do I believe the very best criminal investigators known to law enforcement simply fail to uncover the so-called facts found by tabloid journalists. It’s mostly propaganda.

But, I’ll watch it.

After all, it’s better than watching the Bronx Bombers take batting practice, at Yankee Stadium – South.

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Live from Westminster: The swan song from McDaniel College

Posted on 22 August 2009 by Luke Jones

4:05 p.m. – I chatted with Frank Walker as he walked off the field, and he was definitely glad to be breaking camp, though he emphasized it was a great experience in Westminster.

Even though the players were eager to leave summer camp behind, they continued to sign autographs for the fans out here in Westminster this afternoon.  You can tell these guys genuinely enjoy interacting with the fans.  The organization does things the right way, and it’s why the Ravens are king in this town.

4:00 p.m. – The special teams practice has concluded, as has the Ravens’ 2009 training camp here in Westminster.  The team will hold a walk-through tomorrow morning (closed to the media and public) before breaking camp.

The hour-long afternoon practice was uneventful, but tackle Oniel Cousins did not practice with the other young offensive linemen.  There was no word on any injury, but I did overhear offensive line coach John Matsko asking Cousins if he’d be able to play Monday as they were leaving the field toward the end of practice.

Cousins is the team’s top reserve tackle, so this will definitely be a situation to monitor leading up to Monday night’s game with the Jets.  The Ravens are thin at the position with veteran tackle Adam Terry already on injured reserve.

1:33 p.m. – I’m getting ready to head out to the field for the last public workout of the summer.  If the hotel lobby is any indication, I may be the only member of the local media out there this afternoon.

The ESPN Monday Night Football crew is here, as they prepare to broadcast Monday night’s game.  I saw Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden chatting with Harbaugh and Joe Flacco during lunch.

12:03 p.m. – As previously mentioned below, Suggs and Clayton were again absent from practice.

Harbaugh once again described Suggs’ Achilles strain as a “nagging injury” but admitted he thought the star linebacker would have returned by this point.  Suggs has been riding the exercise bike to maintain his conditioning.

Suggs injured the heel on Aug. 2 and has missed the last 20 days of training camp.

Clayton was working out after practice, catching passes from quarterback John Beck.  He appears to be making progress, but it’s doubtful we’ll see the receiver before the last preseason game, if not the regular season opener.

12:00 p.m. – When asked how long the first team would play against the Jets on Monday night, Harbaugh suggested we’ll see the starting units into the second quarter if not the entire half.  It will all depend on the number of plays they receive in the first quarter or so.

Of course, Harbaugh did say the amount of time will vary from player to player, so one would think veterans like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will not play as long as younger starters such as Tavares Gooden or Michael Oher.

11:56 a.m. – The last Ravens practice open to the public and media will take place at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.  It will only be a special teams practice, so many of the big names will not be present.

The team will hold a walk-through tomorrow (closed to the media and general public) before breaking camp and returning to the Owings Mills facility.  It’s obvious to see how eager the players are to break camp and get back to their normal lives and routines without the two-a-days in the August heat.

11:47 a.m. – I spoke to Kevin Byrne after practice, and while there is no official number yet, the Ravens expect to set a new record for a camp that did not include a scrimmage.  The overall record of 111,492 fans was set in 2001—the year following the Super Bowl XXXV victory.

If you ever wondered how the team comes up with those training camp attendance figures, no, it’s not the job of a new intern or long snapper Matt Katula, as it was suggested by one reporter.

The team uses the number of parked cars and multiplies it by 3 to get their estimated figures.

11:42 a.m. – Derrick Mason was once again wearing No. 85 in practice.  There was no word on whether the NFL has squashed his plan to honor the late Steve McNair by wearing No. 9 during practices.

11:37 a.m. – Harbaugh speculated with reporters about having the longest camp in the NFL.  When Philadelphia was mentioned as having a longer camp, the Ravens head coach jokingly suggested they’ll try to have the longest one next year.

He was pleased with the work his players have completed this summer and described the defense’s transition from Ryan to Mattison as “seamless.”

11:27 a.m. – Willis McGahee is expecting the second preseason game to be more intense than usual when considering who will be coaching on the other sideline.

With Rex Ryan returning to Baltimore as the head coach of the New York Jets, McGahee expects both sides to really go after each other compared to what you would normally see in the preseason.

When asked about his former teammate Bart Scott and his propensity for trash talk, McGahee playfully replied, “Bart’s going to be Bart.”

Monday night clearly won’t resemble a postseason game, but it’s definitely  more compelling than what you’ll typically find during an August football game.  As Glenn Clark has said all week, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ryan mix in more blitzing than normal in a preseason game.

11:22 a.m. – When asked about the differences between Rex Ryan and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Pryce noted that Mattison gives the defense more time to meet with positional coaches.  The defensive schemes are very similar with just a few minor tweaks.

The veteran defensive lineman also noted that both men clearly have a passion for football, but everyone’s personality is different.

11:18 a.m. – Pryce spoke to reporters after practice and said this is the deepest defensive line on which he has ever played, an impressive statement considering Pryce played on two Super Bowl-winning defenses in Denver.

He emphasized how big the return of Dwan Edwards to the rotation will be for the defense.  Edwards missed the entire 2008 season with a back injury.

11:16 a.m. – The defensive play of the morning came from cornerback Domonique Foxworth when he picked off a Cleo Lemon pass.

The former Terp has had a very solid training camp and looks very comfortable playing in the Ravens defense.

11:13 a.m. – Rookie Eron Riley had the catch of the morning, grabbing a jump ball in a crowd on a pass thrown by John Beck.

The former Duke receiver has good size at 6-3 but hasn’t really done enough to warrant serious consideration for a roster spot.

11:08 a.m. – It will be interesting to see where Jayson Foster fits into the plans on Monday night.  Though mostly working with the second offense, he continues to receive a few reps with the first unit.

His shining play of the morning was a 33-yard touchdown reception from Troy Smith.

While he still may be on the outside looking in when the team trims the roster to 53, Foster is certainly one of the biggest surprises of training camp, even earning comparisons to Wes Welker from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron earlier this week.

11:04 a.m. – The Ravens worked on fake field goals at the beginning of practice before focusing on various third-down packages on defense.

The scout team offense showed a few Wildcat looks to the defense, but they were not very impressive.  Cedric Peerman will never be confused with Ronnie Brown as he threw a wounded duck that was easily picked off by Ed Reed (sporting the red jersey today).

On the next play, Yamon Figurs tried to take the shotgun snap but fumbled.  Needless to say, it was a comedy of errors from the Wildcat scout team.

11:02 a.m. – Terrell Suggs (Achilles heel), Mark Clayton (hamstring), and Dannell Ellerbe (knee) did not practice today, and Trevor Pryce did not participate in any team drills.

Pryce spoke to the media after practice and basically equated it to a morning off with no significant injury.

10:58 a.m. – The Ravens held their last full-squad workout this morning, a brief hour and a half practice in shorts and shells.

John Harbaugh eliminated the individual portions of practice, leaving only the team drills to execute.  The team practiced on the lower field due to the torrential rains that swept through the area last night, leaving the upper grass fields very slick.

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Training Camp Preview: Five Burning Questions

Posted on 26 July 2009 by Luke Jones

With the eve of training camp upon us, the Baltimore Ravens—and their fans—have extremely high expectations entering 2009 after coming ever so close to the Super Bowl last season, falling to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship.

As with any offseason, the Ravens have undergone a number of changes to the roster and coaching staff.  These changes leave behind questions that must be addressed if the Ravens are to build upon last season’s 11-5 record.

Here are five burning questions to ponder as rookies, quarterbacks, and select veterans report to McDaniel College on Monday with the rest of the roster arriving on Wednesday.

1.  Will Derrick Mason show up in Westminster?

It’s been almost two weeks since Mason announced his retirement, and the Ravens are still trying to figure it all out.  Most believe the “retirement” is driven by money, as Mason made it clear he was seeking a new deal earlier in the offseason.  His contract will expire following the season.

The tragic murder of former teammate Steve McNair has also impacted the 35-year-old receiver and further complicates what would otherwise be viewed as a disguised holdout.

Mason is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and may not have been physically ready for the start of training camp anyway.  He wore a red jersey (non-contact) throughout OTAs.  If he does change his mind about retirement, his delayed return could actually be a positive for the health of his shoulder.

If Mason follows through with the retirement, the Ravens will have a difficult time replacing the 80 catches and 1,037 yards he supplied to the passing game.  Mark Clayton would figure to step into Mason’s role as the primary possession receiver with Demetrius Williams stepping into the other starting spot.

To bolster the receiving group, the Ravens signed veteran Drew Bennett on Friday.  The 6-5 wideout will compete with second-year player Marcus Smith and Kelley Washington for the third and fourth spots.

Regardless of how the rest of the receivers play, the coaching staff will not rest easy unless Mason jogs onto the field at McDaniel.

2.  Who will be the successor to Matt Stover?

The Ravens enter uncharted waters this summer with the prospect of not knowing who their kicker will be in Week 1 for the first time in the history of the franchise.

Stover is undoubtedly one of the better kickers in the history of the NFL (462 career field goals), but his declining range and inability to get distance on his kickoffs forced the Ravens to look elsewhere this offseason.

The battle between last season’s kickoff specialist Steve Hauschka and rookie Graham Gano will be one of the most competitive—and important—of the summer.  Hauschka shows more consistency, but the organization loves Gano’s leg strength.  Gano, the 2008 Lou Groza Award winner in college football, made a 60-yard field goal during OTAs.

Ravens fans have been spoiled with the consistency of Stover over the last 13 seasons.  An ineffective kicker can quickly ruin a team’s season, so the organization could turn back to Stover if Hauschka and Gano can’t do the job.

3.  Can Tavares Gooden fill the shoes of former Pro Bowl linebacker Bart Scott?

With Scott now playing for Rex Ryan in New York, the Ravens turn to Gooden to take his spot next to Ray Lewis at inside linebacker.  The third-round pick from last season spent most of 2008 on injured reserve with a hip injury.

Gooden looked good in OTAs, showing great speed and strength and is excited to play next to fellow Hurricane and idol Lewis.  Lewis will count on Gooden to take on blockers with the same ability as Scott, allowing the 34-year-old linebacker to pursue the ball carrier without being blocked.

The biggest concern with Gooden is his health.  In addition to last season’s hip injury, he battled concussion and shoulder issues at the University of Miami.  If Gooden gets hurt, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will look to Jameel McClain, veteran Brendon Ayanbadejo, or rookie Jason Phillips to fill the other inside linebacker spot.

4.  How will Willis McGahee respond to being demoted behind Ray Rice at the start of training camp?

McGahee has said all of the right things regarding the running back situation, but it will be interesting to see what kind of shape he’s in when reporting to camp this week.  After admitting he didn’t show up to training camp in optimum condition last season, McGahee battled knee, eye, and ankle injuries in his most disappointing season as a pro.

Despite the surprising story of Le’Ron McClain and the play of Rice in 2008, this offense would benefit immensely from a McGahee closely resembling the one that rushed for 1,207 yards in 2007.  Knowing he would likely be cut following another disappointing season, McGahee will need to show an urgency in playing for a job next season, whether it’s with Baltimore or another NFL team.

With the coaching staff insisting that McClain will primarily play fullback this season, the opportunities will be there for both Rice and McGahee to receive plenty of carries.

It’s no secret that the coaching staff would like to see Rice emerge as the every-down back, but McGahee’s combination of size and speed—when healthy—will make it impossible to keep him off the field.

5.  Will Joe Flacco take the next step after a successful rookie campaign?

Though everyone is focusing on the wide receiver position, the biggest factor in determining how far the Baltimore offense to go is Flacco.

The young quarterback surprised everyone after being thrown into the starting spot last season, leading the Ravens to their second conference championship appearance.

Despite getting off to a tough start,—one touchdown and seven interceptions in his first five games—Flacco rebounded to post an 80.3 quarterback rating.  In his final 11 games, Flacco threw for 13 touchdowns and only five interceptions as he became more comfortable in Cam Cameron’s offense.

With an entire offseason and training camp to prepare as the starting quarterback, Flacco should have the confidence to offset the adjustments opposing defenses will make in 2009.  With the coaching staff planning to use the tight ends more frequently in the passing game, Flacco will need to improve his ability to throw to the middle of the field.

There’s no question that the wide receiver position will affect Flacco’s development, but the young quarterback can also reciprocate in the development of young receivers such as Clayton and Smith.  Though many will continue to beg for a big-play receiver such as Brandon Marshall or Anquan Boldin, Flacco will have more influence over the passing game than any outside receiver could bring.

If Flacco takes a leap toward becoming an elite quarterback in the NFL, the Ravens become a dangerous Super Bowl contender.


Don’t forget that WNST.net is your source for Ravens training camp coverage.  We’ll be bringing live reports, audio, video, blogs, and Twitter updates throughout the summer at McDaniel College.

You can find me on Facebook or drop me an email at luke@wnst.net.

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Just Some Thoughts On Brett Favre, Brandon Marshall, Derrick Mason, Cal Ripken, Ray Lewis and Anita Marks ….

Posted on 24 July 2009 by WNST Interns

I’m gearing up for vacation, which means I need to vent. Such expressions are always a mixture of positive and negative reactions. However, I honestly try to express my feelings in a productively-spirited way.

Over the next few minutes, I’m gonna do my best not to bore you, while dishing on Brett Favre, Brandon Marshall, Cal Ripken, Derrick Mason, Ray Lewis and Anita Marks. Be prepared, it’s probably my longest blog, ever. But, the intent is to feel “ready for vacation” when I’m done writing.

You ready ??? Here we go …..

Are you tired of the Brett Favre saga? When will it end? Seriously, I’ve always liked Favre and thought he was the kinda guy to build a team around. But, I’m not so certain, any longer. At this point, Brett Favre’s motives and maneuvers have become an annual event of distraction.

The sportsworld (especially the folks at ESPN) waits with baited breath, like a giddy teenage girl during prom season, simply hoping Brett graces us with another season of lazered touchdown passes and record breaking interception totals.

The problem?

Well, these moods and conflicted feelings affect other people. God knows Ted Thompson, Aaron Rogers and numerous cheeseheads have gulped their share of Pepto-Bismol, over the past few years. It’s not fair and it’s even cruel.

You’re gonna hear the following statement A LOT, during the entirety of this blog. Brett Favre’s situation is evidence of just how powerful “comfort” can be. Brett is able to change course more times than the Andrea Gail, because he has the luxury of comfort, if he makes the wrong decision.

But, other people don’t have this luxury …..

The same applies to Brandon Marshall. He’s a guy who hasn’t experienced discomfort – or enough of it to change his ways. We know the deal – Brandon fights with women. Whether he’s routinely the aggressor or not, he has the propensity to find conflict when his personal life collides with the opposite sex, in his domicile.

This is a problem. And, it’s a serious problem, in my backyard, if Brandon Marshall makes the permanent 1693-mile journey to Baltimore. Hey, it’s America and he can live where he wants – but, I’m not obligated to root for him – regardless of affiliation.

The truth is Brandon Marshall is a guy who gets in trouble WAY TOO MUCH for my liking. And, I’m not a guy who calls athletes role models. But, I do expect them to be good citizens. This includes keeping your nosepickers off girls.

For those who are about to allege “women can be crazy” or “women are just as capable of assault,” you’re absolutely right. And, if a guy doesn’t get away from a girl with whom he fights, he’s too comfortable with the situation. Uh huh, there’s that word, again.

And, I don’t wanna hear “the heart wants what it wants.” This is what psycho-stalkers use as a moral compass. Brandon Marshall has a history of domestic violence. OJ Simpson and Steve McNair are painful reminders of the seriousness of this issue.

I don’t care about touchdowns. I’m just saying NO to Brandon Marshall, in a Baltimore Ravens uniform.

This leads me directly into Cal Ripken. Why? It’s simple, he does things the right way. He always has …..

A few weeks ago, I contacted John Maroon (Cal’s PR Rep) and inquired about Cal’s availability for the WNST/Harbor Hospital Fundraiser. To my disappointment, John advised Cal would not participate during the weekend event. The initial reaction left me stunned.

This is Cal Ripken. He’s the definition of a good guy, right?

Well, John elaborated and explained that Cal reserves his weekends for family. This is an unconditional commitment. After all, he spent 20 years of weekends away from his family.

Rex Snider – the WNST guy, was very disappointed.

However, Rex Snider – the husband and father, was pretty impressed, and reminded of how to do IT. In fact, I keep a similar routine. I survived a career of shift-work, which consisted of oddball hours and sacrificed weekends and evenings, shagging calls and investigations.

Since retiring, I always reserve Saturday nights for my wife. And, I don’t partake in anything that requires a commitment of evenings or weekends away from family. They’ve paid enough. And, as John Maroon reminded me, you can’t get that time back.

Indeed, Cal and I are comfortable …..

Thanks, Cal. I was reminded of a promise to my girls and never even spoke with you about it. Then, again, maybe I should be thanking John Maroon.

Family is paramount. And, for this reason, I’m obliged to think Derrick Mason might want the same things desired by Cal Ripken, and myself. Who could blame him? He’s certainly been a good steward and amassed impressive career credentials.

Yet, amid Derrick’s success, there is the legitimacy of a sudden retirement announcement, nearly two weeks ago. There have been some assertions Derrick Mason’s announced retirement is tied to financial strife. I hope not.

There have also been suggestions indicating the abrupt ending might be related to Steve McNair’s death. If so, it’s simply another example of the relentless power of comfort.

Yeah, I said it.

The sad truth is many grieving people don’t have the luxury of walking away from their career, because a loved one dies. In fact, many widowed family and friends are forced to pick up the pace and produce more – in the absence of the departed.

Far be it from me to point out Derrick Mason’s obligations. That’s between him and his wife. However, if his retirement really is tied to the McNair tragedy, I think the Ravens and their stakeholders are entitled to hear it, and not through some obscure website.

As I’ve already indicated, there are spouses who’ve lost each other and parents who’ve lost children, in the same time span revolving around the death of Steve McNair. Many of those people are back at work. I’m not suggesting they’re OVER IT. You never get OVER IT.

But, we pick ourselves up and go back to work, while providing for a household. It’s the sobering reality of life and it doesn’t really slow down when the bills are due. The grieving live with the pain and typically work through it, as well.

In truth, if Derrick Mason no longer plays football, because of an aspect regarding Steve McNair’s death, I truly hope the decision brings him solace. But, I’ll contend he’s reached that point of comfort, which allows him to do it.

Rewind the calendar a decade. I don’t know that Derrick Mason would have the financial security (or power of comfort) to walk away, as a result of his friend’s death. I think it’s a fair consideration. And I truly hope he finds peace.

I’m a pretty devout guy and Derrick, along with anyone who has suffered loss, is in my thoughts.

Speaking of spirituality, I’ll admit I’m intrigued by Ray Lewis and a few others who’ve described their reliance on faith and prayer. I’ve researched Ray’s past, as it relates to a fateful night, in Atlanta. In fact, I’ve done a good bit of reading.

What I’ve concluded may surprise some people. Yet, I think many others will share my views.

For all the rumors and innuendo, I honestly believe Ray was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m not excusing his dishonesty with investigators or initial reluctance to cooperate with law enforcement. But, some truly reckless allegations have superceded the facts.

Ray Lewis is not a murderer. In fact, I think he’s nothing more than a guy, who at 25 years old, got scared and made some poor personal decisions, in the wake of a very tragic incident. He’s human.

There is no need to recount the Ray Lewis trial. But, a striking factor for me has been Ray’s squeaky clean criminal record in the wake of Atlanta, 2000. My experience has taught me bad guys usually find their way back on the wrong side of the legal system.

They are what they are …..

I think Ray Lewis has paid an awfully high price for being a bystander and witness to a horrendous incident. His character and reputation are forever tarnished. I hope he finds that comfort many of us enjoy.

I’m pulling for him. And, I understand he’s changed quite a bit. Money is supposedly a driving force behind his intentions. He seems honest about it – even if his ambitions sometimes whiff of selfish. At least he’s not pretending.

I don’t know if Ray is comfortable. But, when he speaks, he sounds at peace. And that’s half the battle.

Wouldn’t you know it, my blog has transcended into speaking !!!! You know this is where we’ll find Ms. Anita Marks. And, no, I’m not about to be sexist or abrasive, in any way.

Let me start this part by saying one of the things I really respect about Nestor is his direct approach when it comes to discussing people who work for competitors. I’ve never really understood the charades and roundabout way of referencing other media personalities.

I think Nestor and those like him are doing it right. And, I think Tom Davis and others who won’t go further than saying “those down the dial” are irresponsible. Now, I’m not saying it’s fun or prudent to disparage someone. That’s not my intent.

I’m simply trying to be honest, and if I feel a media personality is being less than forthright or shepherding a degree of integrity, I’m usually inspired to challenge them.

That said, I’ll admit that my time is occasionally spent listening to the competition. Believe me, if you want, or don’t. But, I think a guy in my shoes, with such cache’ of inexperience, can learn from everyone. I can absorb what to do, as well as what not to do.

I have an opinion of every on-air sports personality in this town. In fact, if a talk show host doesn’t listen to the competition, how will they know their respective strengths and weaknesses? So, I listen.

And, so I must seize the final part of this blog to take serious issue with Anita Marks. Hey, I’m just being honest ……

Some folks think it’s beyond the scope of sports to talk about sex appeal, while ridiculing or admonishing the physical characteristics of others. And, I’m not wading into the sordid humor of the Howard Stern-types.

But, Anita has been promoted from a sexual perspective, by her employers at CBS Radio. They have peddled the product, based on beauty. I think she’s an extremely attractive lady and I like her courage to say what she feels.

But, she has a responsibility to fairness and objectivity.

Shortly after the NBA Championship, I heard Anita Marks criticize Tiger Woods, regarding his off-the-course demeanor. Specifically, she lambasted Tiger’s failure (in her mind) to champion the cause of African Americans.

In her words, Tiger has done little to support and further the social standing of his race. Perhaps, Anita feels this disconnect is calculated. I’d like to ask her about it. In essence, she’s referenced Tiger’s reluctance to promote issues regarding the cultural influences and advancement of African Americans.

Fair enough.

But, I think Anita Marks has the same responsibility.

She is a personality. When she walks into a crowded stadium, people know who she is. I’ve seen it. She has an impact on people.

And, she has a voice.

So, where am I going with this?

Well, Anita has become the ambassador of “All Things Brandon Marshall.” She loves herself some Brandon Marshall !!!! And, she’s very vocal in her personal endorsement and plea for the embattled receiver to join the Ravens. According to her, he REALLY wants to be here.

Good for him. And, as I indicated earlier in this blog, the answer should be NO. While I’m sure Anita knows her sports, I dread the thought of what her decision would’ve been when faced with the choice of Jonathon Ogden and Lawrence Phillips, in the 1996 NFL Draft.
Yet, I’m looking for something deeper from Anita Marks.

In fact, I’m hoping she’ll seize this invitation to champion the cause of women, in Baltimore. For every victim of domestic violence, which includes physical and emotional trauma, I’m looking to Anita to represent her gender and those who’ve been victimized in this town.

Record numbers of abused women are being admitted into hospitals, daily. The reality of domestic violence, is indeed, more important than catching touchdowns. The cases of OJ Simpson and Robert Blake are not limited to Hollywood. It’s very real – just ask Nicole Brown’s family.

I’ve witnessed the hell of domestic violence. And, I’ve arrested my share of offenders, including men and women. Issues regarding domestic violence will be front and center for police officers, in Baltimore, tonight and every other night.

So, why is Anita Marks vehemently lobbying to bring a man which such known problems to this city? Brandon Marshall has a propensity to having police called to his home. In fact, police officers were dispatched to Marshall’s residence ELEVEN TIMES, during a two year stretch, from 2006 – 2008.

I’m sure the Baltimore County and/or Baltimore City Police Departments are tingling with joy at the prospect of possibly policing Brandon Marshall’s neighborhood. Maybe, they can erect a sub-station in his driveway.

But, seriously, doesn’t Anita Marks owe the women of Baltimore a little more representation? She has a voice. Yet, her attraction seems to be to the “player.” Who’s gonna babysit him off the field?

Would Anita date someone who fights with women? Does Anita think repeated incidents of such conduct simply amount to mistakes? I’d like to know her position, socially …..

We all know Anita Marks is from Florida. I’m always glad to welcome new neighbors. But, many of us have invested a LIFETIME in this city, and we have daughters. For all I know, Anita will be back in Florida, someday. But, Baltimore, is my home and I’ll choose to lobby for better citizens on our sports teams.

This is Anita’s chance to be the “Tiger Woods” of women’s rights. Not a very comfortable spot, huh? It is what it is …..

And, I’m ready for vacation.

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Complete recap of the Terrell Suggs/John Harbaugh Press Conference

Posted on 15 July 2009 by Luke Jones

Terrell Suggs downplayed the importance of signing one of the richest contracts in NFL history, but there was no mistaking how seriously the Ravens wanted to keep the Pro Bowl linebacker in Baltimore.

Facing a 4 p.m. deadline, Suggs and the Ravens agreed to a six-year, $63 million contract Wednesday morning, eliminating the possibility of Suggs playing under the franchise tag for a second straight season.  The 26-year-old linebacker is relieved to continue his career in Baltimore.

I consider myself a player of the fans,” Suggs said.  “I play for them.  I love the cheers that I get when I’m running out of the tunnel, and I’m just glad that we finally got back to football, and that they wanted me [in Baltimore] and I wanted to be there.  Ozzie [Newsome] and everybody, we all wanted the same thing, and we just had to agree on the little stuff.  Both sides compromised a lot, and now we came to an agreement”

The deal includes $33.1 million in bonus money, second only to Peyton Manning’s bonus from a deal signed in 2004.  Suggs now becomes the highest-paid linebacker in the history of the NFL, though he was quick to downplay the significance of that moniker.

That was never a focal point,” he said. “That was never brought up once in the negotiation.  I never wanted to be the highest-paid anything. I’m not that guy.  I don’t care what the next man is getting.  I just wanted it to be fair. This is a business, and everything is structured and branded a certain way.”

Suggs will now report to camp on time after missing nearly the entire preseason last year after being designated the franchise player. The Ravens will now have all four starting linebackers present for the start of training camp in less than two weeks.

Coupled with the loss of Bart Scott to the New York Jets, the absence of Suggs may have slowed the transition from Rex Ryan’s scheme to new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, though the system is expected to undergo only minor changes.

Suggs has been in contact with Mattison during the offseason to keep up with the mental side of the defense.

“We’re looking forward to seeing all four linebackers out there together now for the first time in any offseason program since we’ve been here,” Harbaugh said.  “There’s nothing like getting those guys out there together and practicing together and competing together.  Plus, the other thing I’m excited about is his personality being out there from early on in training camp.  He’s a guy that perks up the whole practice field, so it will be fun to have him out there.”

Suggs is happy to be reporting to training camp on time, but he downplayed the significance of missing training camp, citing his play last season that earned him a trip to his third Pro Bowl.

His 53 career sacks are the second-highest total in Ravens history, behind only Peter Boulware’s 70.

“The only thing about training camp is it brings you back closer with your teammates,” Suggs said.  “You all get close again; you all become a team.  You all go in there and run.  Last year I missed that, and it didn’t hurt me too bad—I don’t think—but it’s going to be good to finally get back in training camp in the hot summer days with all the fans looking.  It’s going to be interesting.”

Suggs’ new contract trumps the record-setting deal signed by his teammate and mentor Ray Lewis in 2002.  Lewis’ deal included a $19 million signing bonus.  Suggs emphasized his vast respect for Lewis and insisted the 34-year-old is still the heart and soul of the defense.

“Ray [Lewis] is hands down a Hall of Famer, and you know he’s probably the greatest ever to play the position,” Suggs said.  “Like I said, that [record bonus] happened merely on accident. I’m not sure if I’m a Hall of Famer yet, but I’m sure going to play to try to achieve that status. But until then, Ray is arguably the greatest linebacker ever to play the game.”

– Mason update

The news of Derrick Mason’s retirement was a popular topic during Wednesday’s conference call.

Harbaugh is currently on vacation but has informally communicated through text messages with the veteran wide receiver.  He plans to talk at greater length with Mason next week.

“It’ll be interesting to see where he’s at with everything,” Harbaugh said.  “I know he’s gone through a lot in the last couple weeks with [Steve McNair’s death] and those kinds of things. But I’m looking forward to talking to him.”

Suggs expressed hope that Mason would come back this season but respected the possibility that he’s done with football.

“At 35 years old you really start to put things into perspective,” Suggs said.  “Either way [he decides], I love ‘Mase.’ He’s a great teammate.  You can’t say that about a lot of guys.  He’s not selfish, not even in the least, and he’ll always look out for you.  A guy like that is always great to have in the locker room.”

Mason is well respected among teammates and team officials for his professionalism and work ethic since coming to Baltimore in 2005.  His absence would leave Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams as the team’s current starting receivers.

“Derrick Mason is the kind of guy that if he is going to be on board, he’s going to be on board 100-percent-plus,” Harbaugh said.  “He’s going to be doing all the things that great players do, because you don’t become a great player—and I think one of the premiere receivers in the game by far—without being committed to excellence.”

If Mason decides to go through with his retirement, the options on the free agent market are limited, though Harbaugh said the team would explore other options in addition to the players currently on the roster.

“You can only do so much,” Harbaugh said.  “There are only so many guys out there available, and a lot of what we do is developing the players that we have.  We think we have good players here, too.”


Here is the transcript from the live blog I wrote during the conference call:

2:31 – The conference call for Terrell Suggs and John Harbaugh has now concluded. Check back later for a full recap including more direct quotes from Suggs and Harbaugh.

2:28 – Harbaugh is very excited to get going at training camp and thinks the Ravens have a great football team ready to go this season.

2:27 – Harbaugh says the Ravens will look to improve the wide receiver situation, but he’s confident with the group of players they currently have. He mentioned there’s only so much you can do at this point.

He downplayed the reports of Mason practicing at the facility on Monday before the retirement announcement came. He reiterated how dedicated Mason has been throughout his time with the Ravens.

“If he is going to be on board, he is going to be on board 100 percent plus…Getting mentally ready is part of that…If he decides to come back, he will be completely ready to go.”

2:24 – Regarding Derrick Mason, Harbaugh has had informal communication with Mason and plans to meet with him sometime next week.  He says Mason’s obviously had a lot on his mind in regards to the death of Steve McNair.

2:22 – Harbaugh says Suggs wants to work on football and understands the importance of being with Mattison and his teammates for the entire duration of training camp.

The coach is excited about the type of player that Suggs will be over the next six years. He thinks Mattison will help Suggs take his play to “another level.” Harbaugh also mentioned how Suggs is an underrated run-stopper.

2:21 – Harbaugh cited how great of a guy Suggs is. His dedication and attention to detail is right there with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. He’s a great player.

2:20 – John Harbaugh is now joining the conference call.

Talking about the success of keeping new players:
“It goes back to Ozzie [Newsome], and of course, Steve [Bisciotti] and Dick [Cass]. It’s just a tremendous organization. Players want to be here.”

He also discussed how many players who have been disappointed to leave because of the financial side of the game.

“You can’t just sign them all. When you draft the way Ozzie drafts, you’re going to lose some guys over time…You can sign one guy, but maybe the next guy you can’t sign.”

2:18 – Suggs has finished up, and we now await John Harbaugh to join us to talk about the new contract for his star linebacker.

2:17 – When asked about the details that needed to be worked out in order to reach an agreement, he didn’t really want to get into specifics. He’s just relieved to have it finished.

He talked about the young Ravens fans that might ask why he wasn’t practicing at training camp. Now, that’s not an issue.

2:16 – Suggs is downplaying the importance of being at training camp from the very beginning, citing his strong play last season.

He’s relieved to finally have the contract resolved after two years. The business side of football is difficult.

2:14 – In regards to Derrick Mason, Suggs was very complimentary and was “shocked” at his retirement. He would love to play with him for another year, but he understands with Mason being 35-years old.

He isn’t sure whether Mason will decide to return. He respects the fact that Mason may not have the passion to play anymore.

2:12 – I asked Suggs on his thoughts about being the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history and playing with Ray Lewis:

“Ray is hands down a Hall of Famer, and he’s probably the greatest to ever play the position. The fact that I’m the highest paid linebacker is really by accident.”

2:10 – Suggs credits the Ravens for going the extra mile to get a long-term deal done, considering the salary cap.

He says his role won’t change. He’ll lead on the field, as always.

On the contract:
“I’m going to continue to be the dominant player I’ve always been…I’m looking forward to showing them that they didn’t make a mistake, and they got the right guy.”

2:08 – Suggs is talking about the process last year and the dispute over whether he was a defensive end or a linebacker. He considered himself a defensive end and had bulked up because of that.

Suggs admitted to having his doubts about reaching a long-term deal.

“We were all on the phone all-day yesterday…It was little minor things here and there. Would we really let something minor stop me from signing a long-term deal?”

2:06 – Talking about Bart Scott: “It was going to be hard to bring all three [linebackers] back.”

Suggs believes Scott would have stayed if the money had been there and believes he’s lucky to be in New York with Rex Ryan. He considers it a win-win situation for Scott.

2:05 – Suggs says being the highest-paid defensive player was never a focal point. He just wanted it to be “fair.” The reason the numbers were so high is because of him being consider a hybrid defensive end-linebacker.

He considers being the second-highest paid (in terms of bonus money) as just a coincidence. He felt it was what he had earned.

2:02 – Suggs: “I’m always trying to do better. I’m just happy it got done…I consider myself a player for the fans. I play for them. I’m just glad that we finally got back to football.”

“Both sides compromised a lot. We came to a great agreement. Now, we can get back to football.”

1:55 – We’re just a few minutes away from hearing from Terrell Suggs. John Harbaugh will answer questions right after the star linebacker.

1:45 – Having lost Bart Scott to the New York Jets, Harbaugh and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison have to feel good knowing they’ll have their entire starting linebacking unit present at the beginning of training camp in Westminster.

Suggs’ presence will certainly ease the transition from Rex Ryan to Mattison and allow the Ravens to get an authentic look at how Tavares Gooden—or Jameel McClain—fits into the entire defensive scheme during the preseason.

1:26 – Ozzie Newsome will not be present for the press conference, but he offered his thoughts earlier on reaching a long-term agreement with the Ravens linebacker.

“Getting a deal done with Terrell is consistent with our history of retaining our best Pro Bowl players, like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jonathan Ogden, Todd Heap, and Jamal Lewis. Securing Terrell for six seasons gives us a premier pass-rusher whose ability to stop the run does not get enough credit.

“This is a good day for the Ravens franchise.”

1:18 – You’ve heard the news by now that Terrell Suggs has signed a six-year, $63 million contract, avoiding playing under the franchise tag for a second straight season.

The deal includes $33.1 million in bonuses, making it the second-highest amount in NFL history—behind only Peyton Manning. The long-term deal now places Suggs as the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

We’ll hear from Terrell Suggs in about 40 minutes with coach John Harbaugh to follow.

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Let the wide receiver speculation begin

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Luke Jones

The surprising news of Derrick Mason’s retirement—even if it’s a negotiating ploy—has sent shockwaves through the city of Baltimore, especially for the large portion of Ravens fans that had already been clamoring for an impact receiver during the offseason.

While many are making the comparison to Steve McNair’s abrupt retirement in April 2008, the Ravens had more time to prepare in that situation.  If Mason goes through with his intentions to retire, the Ravens will have to treat it similarly to how they dealt with Jamal Lewis’ season-ending knee injury in the early stages of training camp in 2001.

Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall and Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin will undoubtedly come up as potential replacements for Mason, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll see either player reining in passes from Joe Flacco.

Neither the Broncos or Cardinals are in the business of doing the Ravens any favors, so unless you’re willing to surrender multiple first-day picks, forget either one.  With Mason’s retirement, these teams will view the Ravens as being backed into a corner, so the asking price would be even higher.

The other obstacle continues to be the salary cap.  Mason’s retirement would save $3 million in space, but this still only leaves around $5 million in cap room.  Given the fact that both Marshall and Boldin would demand a new contract with any trade, the cap space is not there.

The Ravens have until 4 p.m. on Wednesday to reach a new deal with linebacker Terrell Suggs before he would be forced to play under the $10.2 million franchise tender.  With general manager Ozzie Newsome reportedly on vacation, it’s doubtful a deal is completed.  Without a new contract for Suggs, the Ravens’ options at the wide receiver position will not include Boldin or Marshall.

If the Ravens really want to take a gamble, there’s always Plaxico Burress, but with his pending legal issues, he could easily be suspended for a large portion of the season. Much like Marshall, he doesn’t fit the Ravens’ profile and emphasis on character.

The other options are limited.  If any current free agent receivers were thought to be impact players in 2009, they wouldn’t still be looking for a team in mid-July.

Here is a list of potential candidates.  Each player’s 2008 team and stats are included.

1.  Marty Booker (age 32) – 14 catches, 211 yards, 2 TD in Chicago
**Booker has over 500 career receptions, but a return to the Bears last season did not revitalize his game.

2.  D.J. Hackett (age 28) – 13 catches, 181 yards in Carolina
**Hackett was invited to work out with the Ravens during OTAs but tried out with Houston instead.

3.  Marvin Harrison (age 37) – 60 catches, 636 yards, 5 TD in Indianapolis
**Harrison would figure to bring similar tools to the table as Mason, but does the future Hall of Famer have anything in the tank?

4.  Matt Jones (age 26) – 65 catches, 761 yards, 2 TD in Jacksonville
**Very questionable character issues with the former first-round pick would probably kill any interest on the Ravens’ part.

5.  Ashley Lelie (age 29) – 11 catches, 197 yards, 2 TD in Oakland
**The promise he displayed in Denver seems like a long time ago.

6.  Jerry Porter (age 31) – 11 catches, 181 yards in Jacksonville
**Porter tried out during OTAs and showed inconsistent hands and was sluggish.

7.  Amani Toomer (age 35 at the beginning of the season) – 48 catches, 580 yards, 4 TD with the New York Giants
**Given the Giants’ issues at the wide receiver position, wouldn’t Toomer be back in New York if he had anything left?

8.  Reggie Williams (age 26) – 37 catches, 364 yards, 3 TD in Jacksonville
**The 2004 first-round pick never lived up to his vast potential in Jacksonville.

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The Ones Left Behind

Posted on 06 July 2009 by WNST Staff

I promised my wife I would leave my job and sports alone while on vacation. For the most part I’ve stuck to people watching on the beach & boardwalk.  I’ve only watched a few innings of Orioles baseball and don’t think I’ve missed much.  I know I’m echoing the sentiments of the other bloggers on WNST but I wanted to comment on the big news of the weekend also.

Steve McNair

Like every other Ravens fan I was shocked when I got my WNST text about McNair’s death.  We had just come back from the beach and I was taking the kids up to the pool so my 2 year old could get some swimming in. The dad in me came out right away. My first reaction was wondering how his kids would take it. I can’t imagine how you tell your kids that dad or mom was shot to death. As the story unfolded the details got worse for them.

No one can help McNair now. He has gone onto a better place. My concern is for the family that McNair left behind. His sons and wife will have to deal with the media blitz that will surround this case.  I know it’s a pipe dream but they should be left out of the fury, especially the sons. They will need their own time to grieve and to cope with the loss of their father. 

If you read my earlier post you know about the special relationship I had with my dad. He was my best friend, my mentor, and my teacher. Our time together meant the world to me. I can’t imagine how I would have turned out without him. I don’t care how much money the family has, growing up without a dad won’t be easy. They are going to need the support and love of their extended family to get though the next couple of years.

I can only hope that the media will be unmedia-like and leave the family alone.  The blood is in the water but they don’t have to be sharks going in for the kill. Let’s hope they use some common sense and decency and leave the family alone.

Steve McNair should be remembered for how he played on the field. His courage, leadership, and calm demeanor on the field made him a fierce competitor and winner. That’s how I’ll remember Steve McNair. I hope that’s how everyone remembers him.         


Adam Jones

Congratulations on making the first of many All Star teams (I hope). You’ve made a fantastic leap from last year and have developed into more than we had hoped for.  You’ve become the Orioles’ best defensive Centerfielder since Paul Blair. The most important thing is we haven’t seen the best from you yet.  


 I feel George Sherrill was just as deserving of the trip to St. Louis but he went last year. Let him rest and put on a show for July. The better the month the higher a return in players we get for him.



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Okay, I’ll Be The Guy To SAY IT ….

Posted on 06 July 2009 by WNST Interns

I’d reckon many of us are thinking the same thing. Yet, nobody is really talking about it in a public forum.

You know where I’m going. Yep, I’m going THERE.

I have a sad suspicion that Steve McNair’s final hours will be remembered as vividly as any other moments in his very public life. That’s unfortunate, but it’s also just the way it is in this society.

Let me start by saying Steve McNair’s personal life, and that of Sahel Kazemi and virtually anyone else is none of our concern, generally speaking. I don’t care about who dates whom, as long as my wife isn’t involved.

That said, when people are murdered and firearms are used in crimes, we have a right to know the circumstances. Crimes are against society, not individuals. Law enforcement agencies have a subsequent obligation to be truthful with us, to an extent that does not hinder, nor compromise an investigation.

And, the truth is not always a pleasant thing.

In the coming days and weeks, Steve McNair and his personal habits will be scrutinized. Fair or not, it’s gonna happen. He died in the company of a woman nearly 17 years younger than him. She was barely an adult and surely not wise to many senses we acquire through life.

Police have confirmed Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi were dating. Steve McNair was married and he was a dad. He was renting the residence, where their deaths occurred, in another man’s name. And, he recently purchased a Cadillac Escalade for Kazemi.

You do the math.

Or don’t …..

Steve McNair’s relationship with Sahel Kazemi is really only relevant to his wife, kids and law enforcement officials. And, as for the cops, their interest is only temporary. Yet, the family will be left holding the pieces when the sensationalized case dwindles to a sordid set of circumstances, remembered for occurring on the 4th of July – 2009.

Maybe, his family knew about the relationship. That would probably make everything a little easier – if there is such a feeling. Hey, I’m looking for anecdotes of compassion and I realize that many families in this CURRENT WORLD aren’t really as conventional as the Cleaver’s, Brady’s and Cosby’s.

You know what I mean.

So, where am I going with this? Well, I think it’s imperative to separate the two stories ….

Steve McNair, by confirmed accounts, was leading a life less than ordinary or commonly acceptable, by normal definition of “family standards.” That’s a “NO GO zone” for me and anyone else outside the McNair and Kazemi families. That’s how I see it.

But, he was the victim of a brutal death and to the extent related to this heinous crime, his life and the circumstances revolving around the relationship with the other deceased individual and anyone else deemed part of the investigation is absolutely for public consumption.

It’s our business – not to sensationalize, but to merely be informed.

On Sunday’s edition of the SUNDAY MORNING BLITZ, we played audio snippets of Steve McNair’s career. This was done with the intent of honoring his accomplishments, as a professional football player. Unfortunately, one snippet blurred the line between the professional athlete and citizen.

To be specific, we played a portion of Steve’s press conference when announcing his retirement, in 2008. It was meant as a momentous “ribbon” on his career. Regrettably, it probably didn’t come across this way.

During the speech, Steve McNair referred to his family’s sacrifices and his desire to spend time with them, upon retirement. In retrospect, we probably could’ve played something more appropriate, without reference to his family life.

Believe me, it was coincidental and without any alternative objective or malice.

However, the conflicting sense to the message inspired my co-host, Jason Jubb, to express an impassioned view of Steve McNair’s recent personal life. I understand Jason’s position, and I absolutely KNOW he lives by the decorum he touted in his statement.

But, nearly ten hours after the show ended, I’m not so sure I agree with Jason’s position. And, I think my dissent can prove valuable to anyone considering certain merits of the investigation regarding Steve McNair’s death.

There is no sure way of knowing the RULES existing between a man and his wife. Their understanding of the marriage’s boundaries is between them – period. Marriages are not governed by a precise standard. Oh, we usually think so. But, it’s simply not that easy.

Many marriages dissolve into nothing greater than a legal contract existing between two people who no longer love each other, but their matrimony continues to be convenient and applicable to them. Thus, there are no firm, universal rules regarding loyalty and monogamy.

Some married couples agree to pursue the privileges of a single life, without actually divorcing. Considerations, like KIDS, debts, reputations, and long-term investments can impact and propel such agreements for married people who no longer really wanna live like they’re married.

In truth, we’re really not surprised when we learn of such arrangements. Are we? If a married couple is okay with it, who are we to judge? It’s their business. Thus, I don’t think it’s prudent to consider the integrity of Steve McNair or any married person who’s suspected to be violating the rules of their marriage.

Lets leave that to the other spouse and the family. In fact, we should steer far, FAR away from it. It’s the right thing to do.

So, as the circumstances regarding Steve McNair’s death unfold and become public, lets remember we have a right to the information. However, we also have a responsibility to respect the affected family’s privacy regarding their intimate stake in the situation.

Lets not sensationalize things. Steve McNair was a member of the Baltimore Ravens. He represented this town professionally, and the organization was bettered, because of his affiliation. Yet, we have a lawful, viable interest in his story.

Please just be respectful in gathering information and disseminating views. In fact, lets give the same respect we’d expect if standing in a grieving family’s shoes.

Life takes many turns and sometimes the private, hurtful things happen to US.

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