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McPhee gives Ravens pleasant surprise


McPhee gives Ravens pleasant surprise

One of the nicer aspects of the NFL draft is that it sometimes brings a pleasant surprise. The Ravens got one of those in 2011 with Pernell McPhee. McPhee was a fifth-round pick last spring.

The 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive end came from Mississippi State gave the Ravens plenty of help up front, much like Paul Kruger, finishing with six sacks and 23 tackles while playing in all 18 games. When a low-round draft pick gives a team a rookie season like that, the folks who handle the draft are probably smiling a bit. McPhee was solid throughout the season and should probably do even better in 2012 and looks to be on pace to become a force on the defensive line. What makes McPhees story more impressive is the fact that he played just one year of high school football, something his college defensive coordinator talked about with USA TODAY last spring. His best football is ahead of him, said Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson in the article.

This is not a guy who has been playing since he was seven years old. I believe Pernell will be a solid NFL player with his size and athleticism. ESPN draft expert Todd McShay didnt appear as sold on McPhee in that article. McShay said that McPhee showed some positives, especially when it came to his strength and ability to take on blockers outside. But McShay still said that McPhee is never going to be a great pass rusher. Oops. The success of McPhee and Kruger leave the Ravens with an interesting question in the off-season. They definitely want more help in the pass-rushing game to give Terrell Suggs and others a hand.

The pass rush slipped a bit in the final part of 2011. But can McPhee and Kruger step up another level and become solid regular guys who pressure the opposing quarterbacks? Or is it too soon to expect that? McPhee really looked strong at times, very quick, agile and tough to block. If he can carry that forward, his second year could be even better than his first.



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Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

The NFL announced today that tight end Darren Waller of the Baltimore Ravens would be suspended for a year or longer for his second violation of the substance abuse policy.

Waller was a 2015 sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech who served a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season for a substance abuse violation. After returning from his suspension last year, he posted 10 catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a limited role.

After his 2016 violation, he was quoted as saying [via Ravens.com]:

“There were other personal issues, and [marijuana] was the one thing I always turned to,” Waller said. “It was just about finding more positive outlets for me to do, like talking to people about it and things like that. I’m definitely at a better place with that now.”

Unfortunately for the Ravens, he will miss the 2017 season and potentially longer after the latest violation. It leaves the Ravens down two tight ends from last year after Dennis Pitta was released earlier this month after re-injuring his hip.

MORE RAVENS: Zach Orr considering coming out of retirement

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Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

In January of 2017, former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr took the podium at the team's training facility alongside head coach John Harbaugh, GM Ozzie Newsome and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, to announce he would be retiring from football at the age of 24.

Why? Orr suffered a shoulder injury during their week 16 game against longtime rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, which shed light into a condition he's had since birth.

He had a routine MRI, but the Ravens training staff suggested a full body CAT scan as well. The CAT scan reveled Orr had a congenital back/spine condition where one of the upper vertebra isn't totally formed causing there to be an opening. Less than 1 percent of people are born with such a condition and he wasn't aware of it until he suffered this injury.

Doctors told Orr he was at risk of paralysis or even death if he played with such a condition. He also would have never been able to pass an NFL physical, ultimately forcing him to retire.

During his press conference, Orr said this,

"If there's some miracle way where I can play the game, I promise I'd be the first one to grab my cleats again, start back training and try to find a way to get back out there," Orr said.

Well, fast forward to today and it seems that miracle may have happened.

NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo told Good Morning Football that after getting a second opinion from doctors, and receiving positive news, Orr is considering a return to the NFL.

"I had my mind made up. I was like man, the doctors told me I was done. This is a serious issue. So I'm going to leave it alone. But I just kept hearing that from multiple people and some were telling me to just go check out and seek out some more opinions and things like that and come to find out my condition, it is rare – .01 percent of the people have what I have – but there's no actual evidence or facts that I'm at a higher risk than any other player. And it's actually been documented that a college player who had the exact same thing that I have that returned to play with no problems."

The doctors' real concerns would be if someone with Orr's spinal condition played with a herniated disk. He did suffer from herniated disks last season, but that injury has since diminished. 


If Orr does decide to get back into the NFL, getting signed could be pretty easy. 

When he announced his retirement, he never filed for retirement papers and the Ravens never placed him on their reserve/retired list because they never thought he would play again.

Because of this, Orr is considered an unrestricted free agent and can sign with a team right away. 

Orr had his best season in 2016, where he lead the Ravens in tackles with 133. It's been reported that eight teams have reached out to the linebacker since his announcement and that he will be meeting with the Lions on Thursday.