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Ravens DT Williams 'glad to be home' after signing mega deal

Ravens DT Williams 'glad to be home' after signing mega deal

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Long before the start of free agency, the Baltimore Ravens weighed their options and decided that 340-pound Brandon Williams was a keeper.

Then, after it became apparent that it was going to take a whole lot of money to make it happen, general manager Ozzie Newsome turned to owner Steve Bisciotti for guidance.

"Do what you have to do to get the deal done," Bisciotti told Newsome.

And so, after agreeing to terms last week, Williams on Monday signed a five-year, $52.5 million contract that made him the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL.

Williams has starred over the past three seasons for one of the best defensive units in the league. He is the latest in a long line of standouts at the position, following Tony Siragusa, Sam Adams, Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata.

"This is a really good investment for us, because of the kind of player he's been and the kind of player he's going to be," coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm thrilled Brandon Williams is part of our championship run going forward."

Surrounded by Newsome and Harbaugh at a news conference at the Ravens training complex, Williams wore a gray suit and a broad smile. He could have made big money elsewhere, but didn't want to leave the team that showed faith in him by selecting him in the third round of the 2013 draft out of tiny Missouri Southern State.

"First off, I want to say, I'm glad to be home," Williams said. "Big-time relief."

Most players look forward to the process of putting themselves out there to the highest bidder. Williams, 28, had no desire to be part of it.

"I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst," he said. "It was tough, but in the end it worked out perfectly. When it got down to it, I couldn't see myself in any other color but purple and black."

Williams found out he was coming back with a phone call from Newsome that both participants won't soon forget.

"The emotion that he had, the excitement, how happy he was, it was something that my wife said, `You're on a high,' and I was," Newsome said. "I could just feel it through the phone."

Williams said, "I was emotional. That phone call, knowing that I was going to continue to be a Raven, talking to Ozzie and hearing the happiness and joy in his voice, put a stamp on it -- that I made the right choice."

In addition to retaining Williams, who had 51 tackles and a sack in 2016, the Ravens added free agent safety Tony Jefferson to an ever-changing defense that ranked seventh last year.

"Just one piece at a time," Harbaugh said. Then, referring to Williams, he added, "This is a big piece, literally and figuratively. Really, the main piece for our defense."

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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."