Flacco's expiring contract not an issue

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Flacco's expiring contract not an issue

NEW ORLEANS (AP) When Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome walks through the locker room past Joe Flacco, other players start up a chant: ``Pay the man, pay the man.''

No worries: Flacco will be getting paid.

The question is, by which team?

Yet Flacco's expiring contract doesn't seem to concern anyone with the Ravens, including the quarterback himself.

Flacco practically shrugged Thursday when asked about potentially being a free agent after the Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

``It's real simple,'' said Flacco, who made $6.76 million this year in the final season of his rookie contract. ``We didn't agree on a number and I didn't really care to discuss it any further once it got to that point. Bottom line is I'm not the guy going up into their offices and negotiating with them every day anyways. It was really never a concern of mine and I never really thought about it. Even in the offseason, when you think about it a little bit, they are really all good thoughts.

``It's a good problem to have and to be talking about.''

The guy talking about it with Ravens management is agent Joe Linta. He and Newsome recently had brief discussions about a new deal, but nothing was done.

``The onus is on them to make a move after this week,'' said Linta, who recognizes that the Ravens could slap the franchise tag on Flacco for 2013 at a cost of about $14.6 million. ``I would guess they want to keep him. He's 28, in the prime of his football life, has never missed a game. His resume on the table is outstanding and his future is even brighter.''

If that resume includes a Super Bowl win, Flacco might cost the Ravens in the $20 million per year range that Tom Brady and the Mannings are at. Flacco, a first-round draft pick in 2008 out of Delaware, already is the only quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. He passed Eli Manning for most road victories in the postseason when Baltimore won the AFC championship at New England.

Coach John Harbaugh says the uncertain contract status for the only quarterback to win six road playoff games ``has been amazingly unchallenging.''

``I think that's a credit to Joe first of all. Joe doesn't worry about that stuff,'' Harbaugh said. ``It's not something that matters to him. He's not a guy that's all wrapped up in that. I think he feels that it's going to work out; you do all your talking on the field. It's about football.

``He figured that he'll go out there and take care of business this year, lead the team, play as well as he could play and see what happens.''

What has happened thus far is a rarity: a Super Bowl quarterback possibly (although unlikely) on the open market.

One guy who won't be around if Flacco returns next season is star linebacker Ray Lewis, who will retire after the Super Bowl. But Lewis echoes his teammates' belief that Flacco isn't going anywhere.

``Joe is going to be the quarterback in Baltimore for a long, long time,'' Lewis said. ``He's proven it, he's earned it. I think he has the ability to be not just a great talent, but an awesome leader, too.

``Ozzie will do the right thing.''

And if Newsome needs any reminding, hearing those chants in the locker room will do the job.

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Will lack of conditioning lead to Richardson's downfall with Ravens?

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Will lack of conditioning lead to Richardson's downfall with Ravens?

Will running back Trent Richardson’s lack of conditioning be his downfall with the Ravens?

Richardson missed the first week of OTA’s with a hamstring issue, which was not the kind of early impression he wanted to make. Some injuries are unavoidable. But conditioning has been an issue for Richardson throughout his brief and so far undistinguished NFL career.

Entering the NFL as the No. 3 overall pick with the Browns in 2012, Richardson has disappointed in Cleveland and Indianapolis, and spent 2015 out of the league after the Raiders cut him before the season. When the Ravens signed Richardson in April, he knew it might be his last NFL chance. However, Ravens coach John Harbaugh wants to see even more commitment from Richardson when it comes to staying in shape.

RELATED: IN LATEST COMEBACK BID, RAVENS TE DENNIS PITTA'S CONFIDENCE NOT A PROBLEM

“Trent just needs to get healthy,” Harbaugh said after the first week of OTA’s. “I think the workload and the amount of work it takes to be a world class conditioned athlete is something that he’s working on right now. That’s what he needs to understand and that’s where he needs to get himself. When he gets himself there, he’s got talent. It will be fun. I’m very certain he’ll get there and when he does we’ll be able to evaluate him.”

The Ravens don’t have to wait on Richardson. Their running back competition is already intense, with Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Terrance West all fighting for carries and roles.

Whether Richardson even threatens to make the team remains to be seen. His bigger priority is improving his conditioning, and getting back on the field.

MORE RAVENS: MIKE TOMLIN, ANTONIO BROWN GO TO PENGUINS PLAYOFF GAME

In latest comeback bid, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta's confidence not a problem

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In latest comeback bid, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta's confidence not a problem

Not everyone close to Dennis Pitta was immediately sold on his second NFL comeback attempt. Will his twice-fractured hip hold up? How much is Pitta risking his long-term health?

Pitta has pondered those questions for months. But after the first week of OTA’s, the Ravens’ 30-year-old tight end remained confident he had made the right decision.

“I had to convince a few people, and I’m thankful for those who have been in my corner all along and had my best interests in mind,” Pitta said. “Like I’ve said before, I know my situation better than anyone else, and I’m confident in the decision I made to come back, and certainly there were people who wanted to make sure that I was confident in that decision. I have a great support team behind me, and we all feel good about this move.”

Pitta first fractured his hip during training camp in 2013, then again on a non-contact play against the Browns in 2014. However, Pitta says he doesn’t think about his right hip when he’s on the field. He’s also not lowering his expectations, despite not playing at all in 2015, and not playing a full season since 2012.

Pitta was one of quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, catching 61 passes for 669 yards during the 2012 regular season, then adding 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns during the Ravens’ playoff run to a Super Bowl title.

Asked if he could return that level of play, Pitta suggested, “Why not?”

“No, my expectations haven’t changed from four years ago, to two years ago, to now,” Pitta said. “My level of expectation is extremely high going into this year. Like I said, I feel confident in how I can run, how I can move, how I can play and it’s just a matter of getting those reps back to where I’m confident in doing all of that. So, yes, expectations personally are very high.”

Pitta obviously wasn’t ready to end his career. If he is on the 53-man roster Week 1, it will be a terrific comeback story.

Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown go to Penguins playoff game

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Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown go to Penguins playoff game

If you didn't the the Pittsburgh Steelers enough already, this ought to help. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and receiver Antonio Brown decided to take in some hockey on Thursday and unfortunately, they were cheering for the local team.

On the one hand, what do you expect? They play for the Pittsburgh Steelers so it's no surprise to see them cheering for the hometown team. On the other hand, the Steelers are the team Ravens fans all love to hate so to see them supporting the chief rivals of the Washington Capitals, that stings.

Just one more reason to hate the Steelers this football season.

RELATED: SEAN PAYTON SAYS RAVENS LOSING WEEK OF OTAS ISN'T THAT BIG OF A DEAL