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Flacco no fan of cold-weather Super Bowl


Flacco no fan of cold-weather Super Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco apologized for his word selection in criticizing the NFL's decision to hold next year's Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium at a cold-weather site.

On Monday, Flacco was asked about the game being played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

``I think it's retarded. I probably shouldn't say that. I think it's stupid,'' he said.

On Tuesday, he was contrite.

``Obviously, it was a poor choice of words,'' he said. ``At home, I have a close relationship with Special Olympics. I didn't mean to offend anyone.''

Flacco would like nothing more than to return to the Super Bowl next year, even if it might be in freezing conditions for the first time. It's in his home state to boot.

The fifth-year pro from Audubon, N.J., preparing for Sunday's Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, is not a fan of playing the next big game in East Rutherford.

``I think it's obvious reasons,'' Flacco said. ``They've done it the way they've been doing it for 47 years. There's a lot that goes into this game, more than just playing the game: It's about the fans and it's about the players that played for the right to get there. There are a lot of things that go into it and it's just kind of a crazy decision, I believe.''


NFL HONORS: Celebrity presenters for ``NFL Honors,'' the TV show featuring The Associated Press awards, will include Steve Carell and Channing Tatum.

The program will air Saturday night, Super Bowl eve, from 9-11 p.m. EST on CBS, which also is televising the game on Sunday.

Other presenters will include Connie Britton, Jason Clarke, Josh Charles, Craig Ferguson, Nina Dobrev, Jeremy Renner, Olivia Munn, and Zoe Saldana.

The AP will present the league's MVP, Coach of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, and Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year during ``NFL Honors.''

Actor Alec Baldwin will host the show, which will feature live performances from One Republic and New Orleans' natives The Soul Rebels.


NECKLACE? WHAT NECKLACE? 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about the ``necklace'' he wears on the sideline during games that includes a Sharpie. He seemed taken aback.

``Well I take great offense that you call it a necklace. It's a whistle,'' he said with a smile, drawing laughs from the media. ``It's a coaches' whistle that coaches have long worn around their neck. I believe every coach should have a whistle. It's hard to imagine going out to practice without a whistle.

``Then I just put a pen onto the whistle string. It's not complicated at all. If I need a pen, it's just right there.''


MOSS WANTS MORE: Last week, the Ravens' Ed Reed said he plans to be back for another season. On Tuesday, the 49ers' Randy Moss said he wants to come back, too.

One of the first questions Moss was asked when the 49ers kicked off Super Bowl media day Tuesday was whether Sunday's game would be the final one of his 14-year, five-team, potential Hall of Fame career.

``I've thought about it,'' the 35-year-old Moss said, ``I do want to play another year.''

Moss has seen limited playing time this season with 28 catches for 434 yards and three TDs, plus five catches for 71 yards in the playoffs.

The 34-year-old Reed promised to be ``playing next year,'' ending speculation he was about to call it a career. Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowler and probable Hall of Famer, is finishing his 11th season, and was one of only two players on the Ravens' defense to start all 16 regular-season games. He has a club record 61 interceptions and the NFL-record of 1,541 yards in interception returns.


NEVER TUCKERED OUT: Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was extremely patient telling every single person just how much it means to be an undrafted rookie in the Super Bowl.

Even the guy who asked him to answer a series of questions in hash tags, Twitter-style.

``In Twitter hash tags? All right, let's try it out,'' Tucker responded to the odd request in a day full of them.

Being at the Super Bowl? ``Hash tag, awesome.''

Beyonce Knowles? ``Hash tag, awesome.''

Destiny's Child reunion? ``I mean, hash tag, awesomer, I guess. That's a pretty good group.''

Winning the Super Bowl? ``Hash tag, unbelievable.''


DANCIN' NINER: The 49ers' podium move of the day goes to Vernon Davis. The tight end sat up straight in his seat and demonstrated longtime long-snapper Brian Jennings' unique pregame ritual for the media day crowd. Davis crossed his arms in front of his face and fluttered them in a smooth, downward motion.

Yoga or tai chi, perhaps?

``It's yoga, tai chi,'' Davis said. ``It's weird, but it works for him.''

Davis' pregame routine sounds rather boring in comparison: He eats lots of vegetables and a chicken breast.


MARYLAND CONNECTION: The University of Maryland has produced several notable NFL quarterbacks, including Boomer Esiason, Frank Reich and Neil O'Donnell.

The quality of quarterbacks in College Park hasn't been up to that standard lately, but there will be two Terrapins with solid hands playing in the Super Bowl.

Tight end Vernon Davis will start for San Francisco and wide receiver Torrey Smith is starting for Baltimore.

``He's one of the greatest Terps,'' Smith said of Davis. ``He's a great guy and we hang out in the offseason.''

This isn't for bragging rights.

``We're not really playing against each other since we're on the same side of the ball,'' Smith said. ``And so, either way, the University of Maryland wins.''


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Ravens QB Joe Flacco returns to practice Friday

Ravens QB Joe Flacco returns to practice Friday

OWINGS MILLS — Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who missed two practices this week with a sore right shoulder, returned to the practice field on Friday, increasing the likelihood that he will play against the New York Jets on Sunday.

Flacco made his usual throws in the brief period of practice open to the media, warming up and then making throws of 10 to 15 yards. He didn't show any discomfort and appeared to have plenty of velocity from his arm.

Coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal about Flacco's availability for Sunday, and the official injury report will come out later Friday.

"We'll see," Harbaugh said after Friday's light workout. "We'll see how he responds tomorrow. He was out there running around a little bit, throwing the ball a little bit, so we'll see what happens."

After missing Wednesday's practice, Flacco said he just needed to rest his sore throwing shoulder but hoped to play on Sunday. He also sat out Thursday's workout.

“It is not about being pain free," Flacco said Wednesday. "You can deal with a little pain. It is just about making sure you can throw the ball good enough to go out there and help your team.”

Flacco was receiving treatment after practice on Friday and not available to the media.

Tight end Dennis Pitta said after practice Friday that Flacco "looked good. He was throwing the ball well and didn't seem to be in any kind of pain. ... We're excited to have him back out there for sure."

Pitta, who customarily warms up with Flacco early in practice, said, "It was walkthrough tempo, but just throwing with him, he had good zip on the ball, good velocity, so we should see the same old Joe Flacco."

Behind a Ravens offensive line that has started four different combinations in the past four games, Flacco has taken a pounding this year. He has been sacked 13 times and hit 42 times. Flacco played the entire game against the New York Giants last week and said he felt the shoulder injury afterward.

If Flacco is not able to play, Ryan Mallett would be in line to start. He started the final two games for the Ravens last season after Flacco suffered a season-ending knee injury, going 1-1 in those games.

MORE RAVENS: Zach Orr shines as first-year starter

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Linebacker Zachary Orr shines as first-year starter for Ravens

Linebacker Zachary Orr shines as first-year starter for Ravens

Inside linebacker Zachary Orr has emerged as one of the Baltimore Ravens’ most consistent players in his first year as a starter. He leads the team in tackles. He has excelled both as a run-stopper and in pass coverage.

When the Ravens didn’t re-sign veteran linebacker Daryl Smith, now with the Buccaneers, there was a question about who would start inside next to C. J. Mosley. Orr has seized the opportunity.

“I told him the other day he’s making a name for himself in this league,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Everybody is watching the tape, and they know how [number] 54 is for the Ravens right now. That’s what you hope for guys. He’s really come through.”

Orr has shown a nose for the football with a forced fumble, an interception, and two fumble recoveries heading into Sunday’s game against the Jets. But after making the Ravens as an undrafted rookie in 2014, and paying his dues as a special teams player before becoming a starter, Orr is keeping his success in perspective.

“I think it’s going pretty well,” Orr said. “I was able to come in and do my job. That’s all I’ve been doing so far, doing what the coaches and the organization has expected me to do. The exciting thing is I can get a whole lot better.”

Riding a three-game losing streak, the Ravens (3-3) will need another strong game from Orr on Sunday against the Jets, especially if Mosley (hamstring) misses his second straight game. But so far, Orr has been a bright spot in the Ravens’ up-and-down season.

MORE RAVENS: Steve Smith Sr. blasts Josh Brown over domestic violence report