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Hamstring keeps Raiders' Seymour out of practice

Hamstring keeps Raiders' Seymour out of practice

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Trying to stop Baltimore running back Ray Rice was already a monumental task facing the Oakland Raiders this week. Doing it without seven-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour will make the challenge even more daunting.

Seymour missed his second straight practice Thursday due to a lingering hamstring injury and is questionable to play in Baltimore on Sunday. The 12th-year veteran was already on a light practice schedule as a result of his troublesome knees.

Neither Seymour nor Raiders coach Dennis Allen sounded too optimistic about the prospects of the 33-year-old defender playing against the Ravens.

``I don't know, I'm not sure,'' Seymour said. ``Hammies are tough. I've had them throughout my career. The only thing you can do is work hard. When it's ready I'll be back.''

Allen has had a tendency to take an overly cautious approach at times with some of his injured players but the rookie head coach made it clear that's not the case with Seymour.

``He couldn't practice today if he had to,'' Allen said flatly. ``We'll see where he is tomorrow.''

If Seymour can't play, the Raiders would be forced to use a patchwork lineup that also has some health issues. Backup defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was pulled out of last week's loss to Tampa Bay with an irregular heartbeat, while defensive ends Matt Shaughnessy and Dave Tollefson are nursing sore shoulders.

The Raiders need all the healthy bodies they can find if they are to have any hope of slowing down Rice, a two-time Pro Bowl running back who is fifth in the AFC in rushing with 622 yards and six touchdowns.

It doesn't help that Oakland is coming off its worst showing of the season after allowing Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin to rush for four touchdowns and a franchise record 251 yards.

Before that game the Raiders had done fairly well against the run. But the loss to the Bucs exposed several problems, most of them tackling.

Allen made that an emphasis in practice this week and put the players through a padded practice Wednesday in hopes of improving their tackling techniques after Martin gained 197 of his yards before getting hit.

``It's just focusing in,'' Seymour said.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said the majority of the Raiders breakdowns have come in basic technique and fundamentals. He noted that players were in position to stop Martin numerous times but failed to bring the rookie running back down.

``We have to tackle better,'' Tarver said. ``We had two games where we didn't. We have to know where our help is and tackle better.''

There will be even more pressure on the Raiders defense this week.

Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both in walking boots, leaving seldom-used Taiwan Jones and fullback Marcel Reece to split the reps in practice with the first team offense.

Oakland is also trying to sort out who its right tackle will be. Khalif Barnes, who began the season as the starter, returned to practice this week after missing six games with a groin injury. He's been splitting time in practice with backup Willie Smith and rookie Tony Bergstrom.

``Obviously, I've got some kinks to get out,'' Barnes said. ``I've just been out there on the field trying to test the water. I don't know anything about playing.''

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Report: Boldin to sign with Lions

Report: Boldin to sign with Lions

Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin is back for a 14th season.

Boldin, who turns 36 in October, will sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. In Detroit, Boldin will be reunited with Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who became the Ravens offensive coordinator during their run to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season.

The Lions had a major void at wide receiver with All-Pro Calvin Johnson's retirement.

RELATED: RAVENS AGREE TO ONE-YEAR DEAL WITH OL JAKE LONG

A former second-round draft pick, Boldin spent seven seasons with the Cardinals before the Ravens traded for him in 2010. In three seasons with the Ravens, Boldin averaged 62 catches and 882 yards. He came up huge in the 2012 playoff run, with a team-best 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns. He had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over the 49ers.

After that Super Bowl run, though, Boldin was traded to the 49ers for a sixth-round draft pick. Boldin led the 49ers in catches and receiving yards in each of the past three years. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the 49ers in 2013 and 2014, leading many to question the Ravens decision to trade him. Last season, Boldin led the 49ers with 69 catches for 789 yards.

Boldin enters this season ranked 17th in NFL history with 13,195 receiving yards. One of the few players ahead of him is current Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr., who ranks 11th (13,392). Boldin last season became the 13th player in NFL history with 1,000 career receptions and now has 1,009. Smith, incidentally, needs 39 catches this season join Boldin in the 1,000-catch club.

MORE RAVENS: RETURNING PUNTS KEY FOR 3 RAVENS WR'S ON BUBBLE

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Ravens agree to one-year deal with former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long

Ravens agree to one-year deal with former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long

The Ravens are expected to sign veteran offensive lineman Jake Long after he flies into Baltimore on Tuesday night, CSN has confirmed. The impending Long-Ravens deal was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, who reported that Long and the Ravens had agreed to a one-year deal. That contract is expected to be signed if there were no last-minute concerns once Long arrived in town.

Long is a former Pro Bowl left tackle with the Dolphins who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. He spent five seasons with the Dolphins, before joining the Rams for two seasons, then playing four games with the Falcons last season. Long is still only 31 years old, but he has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons, including two torn ACL’s.

The Ravens view Long as insurance at left tackle to as a backup to first-round pick Ronnie Stanley. While the Ravens believe Stanley can handle the starting job, the Ravens were left thin at the position after releasing veteran Eugene Monroe, who has since retired. James Hurst has been the Ravens’ backup left tackle, but in Long, the Ravens would have a more experienced option should Stanley struggle or suffer an injury.

RELATED: RETURNING PUNTS KEY FOR 3 RAVENS WR'S ON BUBBLE

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For three Ravens WR's on bubble, returning punts could be key

For three Ravens WR's on bubble, returning punts could be key

The Ravens don’t know who their primary punt returner will be, but they have plenty of options heading into training camp.

Keenan Reynolds, Michael Campanaro, and Kaelin Clay should all get reps returning punts. All three of those wide receivers are on the roster bubble, making their contributions on special teams even more important.

Campanaro has shown he can contribute as a wide receiver when he’s healthy.  However, avoiding injuries has been a major issue for Campanaro during his first two seasons.

The Ravens would prefer their punt returner to help the 53-man roster in another capacity, which may give Campanaro an edge. But if Campanaro, Reynolds, and Clay are not among the top six wide receivers when final cuts have to be made, will the Ravens decide to keep any of them strictly for their ability to return punts?

Reynolds will be a popular storyline during camp, as he tries to make the transition from Navy quarterback to NFL wide receiver. If Reynolds shows promise as a receiver, it will increase his chances of making the team, because his speed and ability to change direction will likely translate well to returning punts. Meanwhile, Clay had an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Browns last season, so he has already shown explosiveness as a returner.

Figuring out their best option for returning punts is one of many things on the Ravens’ to-do list, with the first full-squad practice scheduled for Thursday.