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Hard-hitting Pollard provides swagger to Ravens' D

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Hard-hitting Pollard provides swagger to Ravens' D

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Bernard Pollard likes to talk and loves to hit.

The Baltimore Ravens strong safety is one of the chattiest players in the locker room, eager to discuss anything from NFL policy to gay marriage.

On the field, Pollard is arguably the fiercest tackler on a rugged defense with a reputation for nastiness. His affection for collision is one big reason why the Ravens beat New England 28-13 last Sunday to earn a berth in the Super Bowl.

Pollard's legal helmet-to-helmet hit on Patriots running back Stevan Ridley forced a fourth-quarter fumble that proved to be pivotal play in Baltimore's upset victory. New England trailed by eight points with just under 13 minutes left when Pollard leveled Ridley, forcing him from the game by technical knockout.

``That was the turning point of the football game there on the 40-yard-line,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. ``It was just a tremendous hit. It was football at its finest. It was Bernard Pollard making a great physical tackle, just as good a tackle as you're ever going to see in football right there.''

It's not as if Pollard hadn't done it before.

When he was the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008, Pollard inadvertently hit Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the knee, but the play ended his year in the first game of the season. One year later, New England wide receiver Wes Welker tore his ACL on a tackle by Pollard. Then, in last year's AFC title game, Pollard sprained the ankle of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Pollard, 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, has paid thousands of dollars in fines for his hard-hitting ways, including a $10,000 fee for an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit in a game against Jacksonville last season. But he makes no apologies for his aggressive play against Ridley, which did not draw a flag because Ridley was not considered a defenseless player.

``This is a violent sport. We run fast, we hit hard,'' Pollard said. ``For me, I love to play this game. I love to tackle. That's what I do. When you have two guys running full speed at each other, and you have helmets and shoulder pads on, somebody is going to go down. It's not something that I'm proud of. I hope he's all right.''

After helping level the Patriots, Pollard engaged in his other favorite activity - talking. He suggested Brady should be fined for his leg-up slide that clipped Baltimore free safety Ed Reed.

For sure, Pollard won't be hiding behind a newspaper during media day in New Orleans. But his main focus over the next several days will be getting prepared to play in the Super Bowl for the first time.

``If we want to play our best football, our preparation the rest of this week and next week has to be outstanding,'' he said.

The 28-year-old Pollard began his NFL career with the Chiefs in 2006, was released in 2009 and immediately signed by the Houston Texans. He signed with the Ravens as an unrestricted free agent in August 2011 because he thought that was his best chance to earn a championship ring.

``I want to suit up, and I want to help this team win. I really do,'' Pollard said at the time. ``The organization is tremendous. We're blessed to have talent. I'm excited, because I know the history here.''

It didn't take Pollard to fit in with the renowned Baltimore defense, and now he's a special part of the team's lore.

``He is a Raven,'' general manager Ozzie Newsome said. ``He's smart, tough and brings passion to our games, our practices and in the weight room. His physical presence on the back end is very important to the way we play defense.''

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh says he's interested in bringing Anquan Boldin back

Ravens coach John Harbaugh says he's interested in bringing Anquan Boldin back

By: Lisa Redmond (@LisaARedmond) 

John Harbaugh would like to be reunited with one of his star players from Super Bowl XLVII.

During a presser at the NFL owners meeting in Arizona, coach Harbaugh mentioned that he would love to have former Ravens wide reciever Anquan Boldin back on the team. The two requirements to make this happen: Boldin having an interest and GM Ozzie Newsome making it work. 

Via ESPN 

"I know he loved it in Baltimore, and I loved him in Baltimore," Harbaugh said. "Didn't want him to have to leave when it happened. That's just the way it all worked out. But I'd be for it."

Boldin is currently an unrestricted free agent after signing only a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions this past year. The 36-year-old played with the Ravens for three seasons and was a staple in them bringing the Lombardy Trophy back to Baltimore during the 2012-2013 season. He was ultimately traded to John's brother, Jim, and the 49ers because he did not want to take a pay cut. 

Even though he is 36-years-old, Harbaugh feels he could still be a contending player.

"I will say this: I do believe he can still play at the highest level. I think his ability and skills are such that he's not going to drop off the edge just because of how he plays."

With Steve Smtih Sr. retiring this past season, they are looking to add one more veteran receiver to the likes of Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.

"I've got to be careful in how I answer that because, of course, we are. Of course, I am. I'm thinking about it every day. Just like I'm thinking about [several other open spots on the roster]," Harbaugh said. 

The team has several options when it comes to finding another wide receiver. There is, of course, the draft which will bring top prospects, a trade with another team or signing who've been cut. 

If a reunion with Boldin were to happen, it most likely wouldn't take place until after May 9. Boldin is an unrestricted free agent, but signing with the Ravens means they would lose a compensatory pick during the next draft and both coach Harbaugh and Ravens president Dick Cass have acknowledged that. 

When it comes to having chemistry with your QB, that shouldn't be a problem for Boldin and Flacco. While he was with the Ravens, Boldin had 186 receptions, 2,645 total yards, and 14 touchdowns.

MORE RAVENS: RAVENS WANTED TORREY SMITH BACK 

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Ravens wanted to bring back wide receiver Torrey Smith this off-season

Ravens wanted to bring back wide receiver Torrey Smith this off-season

BY TYLER BYRUM - @theTylerByrum

For years, Torrey Smith was a fan favorite wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. He is a local player that not only helped the Ravens win their Super Bowl in 2012, but went to Maryland to play college ball.

This past off-season the Baltimore Ravens were interested in bringing him back. 

On Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches breakfast, John Harbaugh revealed the team's plan of bringing back the wide receiver who accumulated over 3,500 receiving yards in four seasons with the team. Instead, Smith signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for a middle tier contract. 

Last season, the 28-year-old only brought in 267 yards in the 12 games that he played with the San Francisco 49ers. Smith left the Ravens after the 49ers offered him a five-year deal that he could not turn down.

With Steve Smith Sr. retiring at the end of this season, it almost felt like a perfect fit as the Ravens best option at the No. 2 wide receiver position is Breshad Perriman.

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