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Ravens practice in heavy winds on baseball field

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Ravens practice in heavy winds on baseball field

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Baltimore Ravens starters Dannell Ellerbe and Dennis Pitta practiced Wednesday in heavy winds at Tulane University, looking sharp despite nagging injuries.

Inside linebacker Ellerbe has been bothered by an ankle injury, while tight end Pitta has a thigh problem. Both moved freely in Baltimore's first practice in New Orleans.

Ellerbe said earlier this week ``I'm definitely playing in this game,'' and Pitta echoed those sentiments.

The Ravens practiced for nearly 2 hours on a makeshift 80-yard field stretching across the outfield at Tulane's Greer Field baseball stadium. Unlike the San Francisco 49ers, who worked out at the Saints' indoor facility, Baltimore dealt with wind gusts up to 24 mph.

Baltimore had the option of working at the Saints' indoor facility late in the afternoon or early Wednesday evening, after the 49ers finished. But coach John Harbaugh said he and the players preferred to practice on schedule in mid-afternoon.

``We had a great practice,'' Harbaugh said as his players left the field. ``We didn't like the wind, but we got all of our work done. Spirits are high. They looked great.

``Our players are upbeat and happy. They don't complain about anything.''

In past Super Bowls here, teams have practiced on Tulane's football field. But that field is under construction because the school is building a new on-campus stadium.

In addition to the field Baltimore practiced on Wednesday, Tulane has another 50-yard field that kickers and punters are using.

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Ravens Training Camp Recap: Day 1 news and notes

Ravens Training Camp Recap: Day 1 news and notes

It's only the first day of training camp and so much has already happened for the Ravens.  

Here are all the news and notes from Day 1 of the Baltimore Ravens training camp in Owings Mills, Md.

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Joe Flacco out with disk issue:

The Ravens starting QB wasn't in attendance for the first day of camp due to a disk issue in his back. Coach John Harbaugh told the media he is expected to only miss one week.

John Harbaugh: "I guess it's been something that's been bothering him for a week or two. He didn't say anything about it, wasn't really that bad. It flared up a little bit, went and saw a back specialist. So, they're recommending about a week of rest. They say that should take care of it. I guess with the back you can always say, 'we'll see'. But, all indications from a back specialist are that he should be fine in about a week and that's what we'll be hoping for and praying for." Harbaugh said he had no idea that Urschel was considering retirement and that he had attended workouts all summer. He called the decision a "personal decision."

Eric Weddle: "Joe's gonna be back. We're not worried about how long is he going to be out. He's one of the toughest guys on the team. He'll be leading us out whenever he wants to come back."

Jeremy Maclin: "This is football man, stuff like that happens. I think the most important thing right now for Joe is to get healthy. We gotta roll with what we got."

Danny Woodhead: "I think Joe's played a few years, so I think he'll be able to figure it out. I think it's going to be ok. He's a professional, he knows how to throw the football, he knows how to read defenses, so I think that's going to be ok."

John Urschel announces his retirement:

The Ravens' guard made the phone call to coach John Harbaugh around 6:30 this morning to inform the team he wouldn't be returning. 

John Harbaugh: "That was something that's been on his mind for quite a while throughout the offseason. That's what he decided to do. We respect John tremendously. Probably the rest of it's for him to answer." Harbaugh said he had no idea that Urschel was considering retirement and that he had attended workouts all summer. He called the decision a "personal decision."

Eric Weddle: It's unfortunate. Obviously Ursch is a great dude, competitor, great teammate. You know, it's unfortunate but that's his decision. As a team, and as a leader, you can't worry about the outside or what individuals do per say. We're gonna go out and play with who we have and move forward. We wish him the best and know he's going to do great things in his future but it's not with us, so we gotta move forward.'

Danny Woodhead: Honestly, Ursch is a great dude. That was his decision. Obviously, we support him. Great guy and that's what's best for him."

Overall takeaways of Day 1 of camp: 

It's only the first day, but the coaches and players are liking what they are seeing.

John Harbaugh: "I thought it was an outstanding first day of training camp. You know, the guys were good. I thought they did a good job. They pressed through, it's a little muggy and it's new for them. They gotta get their sea legs underneath themselves a little bit, and they did a good job of it. I'm proud of the way they practiced. Tight ends are all healthy, you saw that. Ben Watson's out there practicing. We've got all those guys healthy. Not ruling out another tight end to give us another set of legs."

Eric Weddle: " First practice, great. There weren't many repeats, efficient, both sides making plays, competing. It was a great start, especially on the back end and as a whole. It's a long process.  [We're] just trying to reiterate, you know, to get the most out of today, don't worry about tomorrow, don't worry about last night, what's going on at home or what you cant control. We want to be locked in everyday. We can't have a day when you're not focused and not giving it your all."

Jeremy Maclin: "I'm excited, man. I'm excited from a personal standpoint but also from a team standpoint. You know, everybody's kinda been saying this is a good group and a very, very talented group. So, I'm excited about us building that chemistry and taking the proper steps to become a successful football team.

Danny Woodhead: "It's good. Offseason was great and getting that time to prepare in the summer was really good too. Now it's here, it's been a long time coming. From the day I signed to offseason workouts beginning. It's an exciting time for us."

Marlon Humphrey: A little tiring. I don't know if we practiced three hours back in college. It was fun. I like that one on one thing, I like the competitiveness. I think that's a a big part of this team; the competitive nature, big game like battles. That's going to happen in games a lot. First practice went pretty good, a little winded, I think everybody's a little winded. I think it went good."

Expectations for the camp/season:

The time to set goals for the season is now.

Jeremy Maclin: " I think we (Wallace, Perriman and himself) should expect to be the best trio in the league. That's what we should expect and work for. You look at all three of us, and we all add something different to the table. We're also three guys who have the ability to do it all. I think that's what everyone should expect from us, and that's what we're going to work towards."

Marlon Humphrey: "For me, just to get better. There are a lot of things I want to work on, so I'm just trying to learn the defense, get myself better, and hopefully be a part in this team winning games."

Other notes:

— The team signed Bobby Rainey. Harbaugh said it has been in the works for quite some time and they may have signed him even if Kenneth Dixon didn't get injured.

— Jeremy Maclin passed his conditioning test on second try. Harbaugh said he was close the first time but, "close doesn't count in conditioning tests."

— Tight end Maxx Williams was fully participating after having a rare knee operation.

 

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Harbaugh hoping back injury sidelines Flacco for only one week

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Harbaugh hoping back injury sidelines Flacco for only one week

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens were without their starting quarterback for their first day of training camp.

Joe Flacco is dealing with a disk issue in his lower back and is expected to miss 3-6 weeks of training camp, Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday.

Head coach John Harbaugh addressed the matter Thursday morning after their first day of practice and it sounds like Flacco isn't expected to miss that much time.

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"We found out yesterday," Harbaugh said on Thursday.

"I guess it's been something that's been bothering him for a week or two. He didn't say anything about it, wasn't really that bad. It flared up a little bit, went and saw a back specialist. So, they're recommending about a week of rest. They say that should take care of it. I guess with the back you can always say, 'we'll see'. But, all indications from a back specialist are that he should be fine in about a week and that's what we'll be hoping for and praying for."

The Super Bowl XLVII MVP is entering his 10th season with the Ravens. Flacco tore both his MCL and ACL in 2015 but returned to form in 2016, throwing for 4,317 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

His fellow teammates however, aren't concerned about him missing time. 

"Joe's gonna be back, safety Eric Weddle said. "We're not worried about how long is he going to be out. He's one of the toughest guys on the team. He'll be leading us out whenever he wants to come back."

For new Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, he's not worried about missing out on gaining chemistry with his QB during his absence."There's plenty of time for that," Maclin said. "

This is football man, stuff like that happens. I think the most important thing right now for Joe is to get healthy. We gotta roll with what we got."