Gaither, Green miss Chargers' practice

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Gaither, Green miss Chargers' practice

SAN DIEGO (AP) The San Diego Chargers have a long list of injuries heading into Sunday's home game against Baltimore.

The wobbly Chargers (4-6) are in dire need of a victory to keep their slim playoff hopes alive after losing two straight games and five of six.

``Obviously, we are playing one of the better teams in the league,'' coach Norv Turner said Wednesday. ``They are a balanced team that is very good on defense. We have a lot to prepare for and we're excited about returning home.''

If they are going to upset the powerful Ravens (8-2) they'll likely need a boost from some backups, particularly on the left side of the offensive line.

Left tackle Jared Gaither (groin) didn't practice Wednesday and his track record suggests he's a long shot to heal in time to face the team that drafted him. If Gaither can't go, the task of helping stop the Ravens' versatile pass rush falls on undrafted rookie Michael Harris.

Left guard Tyronne Green, another key member of the Chargers' offensive line, didn't work either, sidelined by a hamstring injury. If Green can't play, veteran left guard Rex Hadnot would get his first start of the season.

``Michael Harris is one of the two guys on the left and he is healthy and playing,'' Turner said. ``He is learning; it's been quite an experience for him and us as he played and made progress. It is a real challenge for him each week he goes against some of the best players in the NFL. I do believe he is doing everything he can to meet that challenge.''

The Chargers' pass protection has been among their glaring weaknesses. With two starters possibly out against a Ravens' pass rush, which features Terrell Suggs, the Chargers could be hard-pressed to present quarterback Philip Rivers with a clean pocket.

Cornerback Quentin Jammer, who left Sunday's loss in Denver because of a calf injury, practiced Wednesday and should start against the Ravens.

But defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin was unable to practice and indications are he will miss another game with a knee injury. Antonio Garay would fill in.

Wide receiver Eddie Royal (hamstring), tight end Dante Rosario (hamstring) and linebacker Larry English (calf) were limited to side work.

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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