Fans mob Baltimore streets to celebrate Ravens win

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Fans mob Baltimore streets to celebrate Ravens win

BALTIMORE (AP) Hundreds of giddy Ravens fans poured into the streets Sunday night, whooping, hollering and high-fiving complete strangers as they celebrated the team's 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

On the far opposite coast, however, a spirit of hope and anticipation rapidly faded into sullen disappointment as dejected 49ers fans tried to absorb their team's loss.

In the East, Patrons who packed into Mother's Federal Hill Grille in Baltimore to watch the Ravens' second Super Bowl appearance since the team arrived in the city in 1996 jumped up onto the bar and began belting out a rendition of the Queen song ``We are the champions.''

Bartenders sprayed purple party string into the air.

``I love this team. I love this city!'' screamed Andrew Bieler, 21, shortly after the game ended.

Ashlee Tuck, 28, shouted ``Yes!'' and alternated between kissing her boyfriend and dancing as fans streamed out of the bar.

Michael Falls, 25, said he plans to take Monday off from his accounting job and his boss was going to do the same.

``I'm going to live up the night,'' he said.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined in the fun, dancing and singing alongside the fans.

``The Baltimore Ravens once again demonstrated strength, poise, and perseverance as they prevailed in Super Bowl XLVII,'' Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.

In a live interview from New Orleans on WBAL-TV, Rawlings-Blake said the city will hold a parade in the team's honor on Tuesday that will start at City Hall and end at the Ravens' stadium. She urged fans to celebrate peacefully, while local television footage showed police mounted on horseback circling the crowds to maintain order.

Fans came decked out in purple for the game, many arriving at bars hours early. Women arrived with their nails painted purple. Men wore purple Mardi Gras beads. There were purple-feathered boas; purple, black and white camouflage pants; and a sea of purple and black jerseys.

It seemed no jersey was more popular than that of retiring middle linebacker Ray Lewis, No. 52. And whether they were wearing his number or not, fans said they wanted to win for Lewis, the only current player who started with the team when it came to Baltimore in 1996.

``We have to do it for Ray. It's not all about Ray. It's 90 percent for Ray, 10 percent for the city of Baltimore,'' said Darren Love, 40, an off-duty police officer clad in zip-up pajamas with the Ravens' logo in addition to a purple wig.

Fans at Pickles Pub, mere blocks from the Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium, cheered when Lewis was shown on television at the start of the game. And the cheers continued when the team scored the first touchdown. The Ravens never trailed.

Chrissy Ramirez, 22, a first-grade teacher, was one of the fans who emptied out onto South Charles Street in the Federal Hill neighborhood after the win. Ramirez, who was wearing the No. 5 jersey of Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco, Ravens earrings, and a hat shaped like a Raven head, said she was overwhelmed by the victory. She said she planned to ``be ecstatic the rest of the week.''

Ecstatic was the opposite of how fans felt in San Francisco's Mission Hill district, where fans stumbled dejectedly into the streets after their team's loss.

``Damn, that's all I have to say,'' said Niners fan David Mejia, 32.

As the game drew to an end, dozens of police officers and sheriff's deputies - in patrol cars and on foot, motorcycle, and horseback - fanned out on both sides of the country to watch for signs of trouble, but neither city reported any serious problems.

``Most of the crowds are dissipating,'' Baltimore Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi (pronounced Goo-YELL-me) said shortly after midnight. Guglielmi said the crowds grew to several thousand before people slowly started to peel off and head home.

The streets in the Golden Gate city also were relatively calm Sunday night, unlike after the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory in late October, when a city bus was set ablaze, cars were overturned and bonfires erupted in trash containers and on the streets. About three dozen people were arrested following that victory.

``Citywide, everything seemed to be pretty good'' Sunday night, Officer Carlos Manfredi said. ``We did have a couple of flare-ups in the Mission District, but otherwise everyone seemed to be behaving themselves.''

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Associated Press writer John S. Marshall in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Follow Jessica Gresko athttp://twitter.com/jessicagresko

Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Keenan Reynolds

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Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Keenan Reynolds

We are profiling the Ravens’ draft picks as they prepare to start minicamp Friday. Here are three things to know about sixth-round pick, WR Keenan Reynolds of Navy:

1. The biggest push to draft Reynolds came from assistant general manager Eric DeCosta.

DeCosta, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and coach John Harbaugh were visibly moved talking about making the phone call to Reynolds. All of them admire the way Reynolds has handled himself at Navy, both on and off the field.

When Newsome made the call, he put Reynolds on speaker phone so that everyone could hear his reaction. “Everyone in the room could be a part of telling him that we picked him,” Newsome said. “It was a special moment.”

2. Reynolds is much more than just a symbolic pick.

The Ravens believe Reynolds can stick as a punt returner, and that he has the athleticism and work ethic to become a polished slot receiver. Reynolds has many qualities inherent to top punt returners – good judgment, vision, elusiveness, sure hands, and speed. The Ravens also like that Reynolds has been working with CSN’s Brian Mitchell, a former Pro Bowl punt returner with the Redskins.

“Fortunately, we have a great relationship with Brian Mitchell,” DeCosta said. “We did our homework on him. He’s a guy that was a player of interest to us throughout the process. We kept it very quiet and, and it worked out the right way.”

 3. The Ravens are willing to wait if military obligations prevent Reynolds from playing right away.

Naval Academy graduates are obligated to a five-year military term, but Reynolds has hope of being able to play this fall. The Patriots drafted Navy graduate Joe Cardona last year as a long snapper, and he was granted permission to play. Cardona spent one day a week working at a Rhode Island naval facility. Reynolds hoped a similar arrangement could be worked out for him.

“I’m hoping and praying, and I’m confident that this potentially could be the same type of situation with myself,” Reynolds said. “It’s a blessing that the Ravens felt I was worthy to take a chance on with the military obligation and my service commitment.”

Will Matt Elam make Ravens in 2016 after fifth-year option declined?

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Will Matt Elam make Ravens in 2016 after fifth-year option declined?

It was no surprise the Ravens did not pick up the fifth-year option on safety Matt Elam by Monday’s deadline. The bigger question is whether Elam even makes the team next season.

The 32nd pick in the 2013 draft, Elam has been one of the biggest first-round busts in team history. Some of the standout players who went after Elam in that draft include Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short (44th), Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (48th), and Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins (52nd).

Elam missed all of last season with a torn biceps, after underperforming in 2013 and 2014. Elam was a big hitter in college at Florida, but has struggled with missed tackles as a Raven, and has been even worse in pass coverage. With the Ravens acquiring safety Eric Weddle in free agency, and Lardarius Webb switching from cornerback to safety, Elam is expected to be a backup at best. He will compete with Terrence Brooks, Kendrick Lewis, and others for a backup role.

Elam is scheduled to make $1.327 million next season, before becoming a free agent in 2017.  However, Elam’s first priority is to secure his place with the Ravens in 2016.  

AFC North: Steelers LB James Harrison will return for 2016

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AFC North: Steelers LB James Harrison will return for 2016

The Ravens can expect to see Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison as an opponent again in 2016. Harrison confirmed on his Instagram account Monday that he would return for another season.

Harrison will turn 38 years old Wednesday (May 4), but he was still effective in 2015 with five sacks and 40 tackles playing in the Steelers’ linebacker rotation. With his announcement that he was returning, Harrison wrote “I’m feeling just like a fine wine. Getting better with age.”

Despite Harrison’s age, the Steelers believe they got younger and better on defense through the draft. Five of the Steelers’ seven picks were on defense – cornerback Artie Burns (first round), safety Sean Davis (second), defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (third round), outside linebacker Travis Feeney (sixth round), and inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich (seventh round).  

Clearly, there will be plenty of new names in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, with both teams looking to get younger and faster. However, Harrison plans to be part of the mix for at least another season. The Ravens host the Steelers in Week 9, and visit the Steelers on Christmas afternoon.

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