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Pryor to have role this week for Raiders

Pryor to have role this week for Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) After spending most of the season on the bench, Terrelle Pryor has been playing a key role this week for the Oakland Raiders by impersonating Cam Newton in practice.

Pryor could have an even higher-profile role come game time Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp says Pryor will get on the field in certain specialty packages for the Raiders (4-10).

Pryor made his season debut last week, handing the ball off twice and throwing one incomplete pass as the coaching staff wanted to give him an entire series. The next step is using him in specific situations that can take advantage of his athleticism at quarterback.

``You'll see him a little bit on third downs, you'll see him maybe in the red zone, try to create a different look for the defense to contend with,'' Knapp said. ``It won't be so much the structure of last week, where he had a series, which we thought was fair to him. ... We're going to try to use some of his athletic ability this week.''

With more and more teams turning to dual-threat quarterbacks like Newton, Washington's Robert Griffin III or San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick, Pryor's athleticism has been tantalizing for Raiders fans looking for any kind of bright spot to a disappointing season.

As a star at Ohio State, Pryor showed many of the same skills those other young quarterbacks are displaying. He just wants the opportunity to prove he can do what they're doing in the NFL.

``Right now I don't want to compare myself to Kaepernick or Cam or any of those guys because them guys and Griffin have proved it,'' he said. ``I haven't proved anything. I can't really say I'd be like them. I don't know what I'm going to be like because I haven't even played yet.''

Pryor is using those skills right now on the scout team to help the Raiders prepare for Newton. Oakland has struggled most of the season defensively and now has to deal with a new kind of challenge. A running quarterback like Newton can beat teams with his arm, as a scrambler or on designed runs out of the read-option.

``He creates a lot of other issues that you have to worry about,'' coach Dennis Allen said. ``You have to worry about him in the passing game just scrambling around and keeping the play alive. Obviously, they use him in a lot of different ways in the running game also. He presents some unique challenges.''

In a league with more and more running threats at quarterback, Newton still is one of the most dangerous. He leads Carolina with 647 yards rushing and is averaging 6 yards per carry - trailing only Griffin for most by a quarterback.

He leads all quarterbacks with seven touchdowns rushing - more than twice as many as Oakland's team total of three - and has rushed for 1,353 yards and 21 touchdowns in two seasons in the NFL.

``I've dealt with scrambling quarterbacks before but nothing like Cam Newton,'' Raiders linebacker Miles Burris said. ``He's kind of a breed of his own. A lot of new quarterbacks nowadays, like RG3 and those guys, running around, they can threaten your defense in a lot of different ways. So, we got to go out there and just prepare the best we can. That's all we can do every week. Just fly around to the ball and good things happen if you work hard.''

Oakland hasn't had to deal with many running quarterbacks this season as the schedule has been filled with more traditional dropback passers Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco and Drew Brees.

The Raiders haven't allowed any quarterback to run for more than 35 yards, which Matt Cassel did back in October for Kansas City. In all, Oakland has allowed opposing quarterbacks to run for 143 yards on 41 carries, the longest a 19-yarder by Chase Daniel late in a blowout loss last month to New Orleans. Taking out 16 kneeldowns by the opponent and quarterbacks are averaging 6.6 yards per carry against the Raiders.

Oakland last faced a running quarterback more than a year ago and had trouble in a couple of those games. Christian Ponder scrambled his way to 71 yards on five runs for Minnesota. But Newton also has designed runs like Tim Tebow did a year ago for Denver; Tebow ran right through Oakland in his one start, gaining 113 yards on 13 carries.

The Raiders will dedicate a defender on certain plays just to track Newton.

``There's times in a game where if you don't have guys tracking him all the time, you can get in positions where he can hurt you,'' defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. ``He's very good in the red zone. That's a situation where you have to have guys responsible for him.''

NOTES: DT Richard Seymour missed practice again with a hamstring injury and appears likely to miss his seventh straight game. Seymour is still tied for second on the team with three sacks. ... S Tyvon Branch also sat out with an ankle injury, but still could play Sunday.

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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. 

MORE RAVENS: 2017 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

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.