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Hot ticket: Players make Super Bowl ticket grab

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Hot ticket: Players make Super Bowl ticket grab

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Heading back to his hometown, Jacoby Jones couldn't afford to tell the truth.

The All-Pro kick returner for the Baltimore Ravens got 15 tickets for the Super Bowl as a participating player. The demand from family, friends in New Orleans was way beyond that.

No Big Easy there.

``I told my family before I left (Baltimore) I only got nine,'' Jones said, shaking his head and smiling. ``They're expensive and I'll do something for you during the game, so y'all can be together.''

Each Raven and San Francisco 49er player and coach had access to 15 tickets: two complimentary, the rest for purchase. Prices range this year from $800 to $1,200, the same as last year in Indianapolis.

When the game was last played in New Orleans 11 years ago, every seat cost $400.

Tickets also are available to players on injured reserve. For the 49ers, that's almost 90 people, not counting front office personnel who generally had access to two tickets each.

``I said I only got nine so they'd fight over them,'' Jones said with a laugh. Then he did a really smart thing: He put his mother, Emily, in charge of ticketing. ``My mom is old school, no nonsense. She's from here, born and raised. It will be immediate family.''

Jones tried to make up for the shortfall by buying the rest of his family jerseys, about 30 in all.

Teammate Ed Reed was in the same pickle. He's from New Orleans, too. So the star safety sought advice from Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who played in a Super Bowl in his hometown of Miami three years ago.

``I would actually auction off tickets to random folk if I could,'' Reed said. ``I'm still kind of chopping things down, making sure you've got your lists right, especially when you come home. You want everyone to come to the game.

``Honestly, I could fill the Superdome up. I could fill every seat. I would love to, but you can't. So I want my family to know that right now. Things are starting to get a little pricey, but I'm just grateful to go through it. I could do this every year.''

With a seven-figure salary, he could. Some other players who don't quite earn those big bucks might find a yearly Super Bowl trip too expensive.

Nah.

``I took all 15, for everybody in my family and my boys back home in Indy,'' said second-year receiver Tandon Doss, a backup for the Ravens. ``It's the Super Bowl.''

The NFL keeps about one-fourth of the tickets, with many going to league sponsors. Each participating team gets 17.5 percent for the organization and for its fans, who generally enter a lottery to purchase tickets. The host club gets 5 percent, and the other 29 clubs get 1.2 percent each, or 34.8 percent overall.

The Superdome's capacity for the Super Bowl is approximately 72,000.

Players who don't fill their allotment become more popular than ever with teammates who need as many tickets as they can get their hands on.

Niners defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois attended LSU and most of his pals are still in Baton Rouge. But he didn't buy all the tickets available to him.

``I had a lot of requests but I only take care of the immediate family,'' he said. ``I ain't worried about all the friends and everybody else out there. I just stuck with the immediate family. Let's get that over with - and save money, too.''

Teammate receiver-punt returner Kyle Williams only wanted friends and relatives at the game if he was playing. He's on injured reserve. His popularity quotient probably spiked because it meant extra tickets for other Niners.

But Williams' decision was rare. Many other players grabbed their 15, then handed them to family members to distribute.

``My mom handled it all,'' San Francisco All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith said, echoing many 49ers and Ravens. ``People have to understand the ticket thing, so we made it clear: Go through my mom.''

Ravens cornerback Corey Graham set some ground rules for his tickets: Only people who came to his games all season.

``You have a lot of people that are going to want to come to the game because it's the Super Bowl,'' Graham said. ``But if you haven't been supporting me throughout the year, going to the regular games when we were playing the Detroit Lions or the Cleveland Browns, then why would I want to bring you out here to come to a great place like New Orleans to see the Super Bowl on the greatest stage in the world?''

Sorry.

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Five young pass rushers to watch, with Suggs and Dumervil on PUP

Five young pass rushers to watch, with Suggs and Dumervil on PUP

With Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil starting training camp on the PUP list, the Ravens’ young pass rushers have an opportunity to show what they’ve got.

It’s not surprising, or overly alarming, that Suggs (Achilles) and Dumervil (foot) aren’t ready to participate in full-team practices, which begin Thursday. The priority for them is to be ready by Week 1.

But the reality is that Suggs is 33 years old and Dumervil is 32 – closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. Remember when the Ravens loaded up on pass rushers in the draft? Training camp and the preseason will shed light on which young pass rushers are ready to contribute, and which ones are not.

RELATED: RAVENS NAME SIX PLAYERS TO THE PUP LIST

Here are five young Ravens pass rushers to watch closely during training camp and the preseason:

Kamalei Correa, rookie OLB

Correa might see more time at inside linebacker as a rookie, because the Ravens are looking for a starting inside linebacker next to C. J. Mosley. However, Correa’s skills as a pass-rushing outside linebacker at Boise St. convinced the Ravens he was worthy of being a second-round pick. If Correa is getting pressure on quarterbacks, the Ravens will find consistent snaps for him.

Matt Judon, rookie DE

He led the nation in sacks last season with 20 at Grand Valley State. As a fifth-round pick, Judon is making a major leap to the NFL and he is raw. But he also has size (6-foot-3, 275 pounds) and athleticism. Judon could earn an immediate role as a situational pass rusher.

Bronson Kaufusi, rookie DE

He’s huge (6-foot-6, 285 pounds). He’s mature, already 25 years old after completing a two-year Mormon mission before attending BYU. And he’s athletic, good enough to spend one season on BYU’s basketball team before focusing on football. The Ravens’ third-round pick, Kaufusi could also earn a role as a situational pass rusher.

Victor Ochi, undrafted OLB

Ochi (6-foot-1, 245 pounds) has a body build like Dumervil – powerful with a low center of gravity. The Ravens have had at least one undrafted rookie make their roster for 12 straight years. Ochi could extend that streak. He was hoping to be the first player from Stony Brook ever drafted. Now he’s hoping to prove he should have been drafted.   

Za’Darius Smith, second-year OLB

Smith finished strong as a rookie. Of his 5 ½ sacks, 3 ½ came over the final three games. According to Smith, Ravens coach John Harbaugh wants 10 sacks from Smith this season. If Smith becomes a double-digit sack artist, the Ravens’ pass rush will take a major leap.

MORE RAVENS: WILL SMITH'S BODY BETRAY HIM AGAIN?

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Suggs, Smith among six Ravens named to PUP list

Suggs, Smith among six Ravens named to PUP list

The Ravens announced six players placed on the physically unable to perform list Saturday - linebacker Terrell Suggs, wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman, linebacker Elvis Dumervil, running back Trent Richardson, and cornerback Jumal Rolle.

Quarterback Joe Flacco (knee), cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot), tight end Dennis Pitta (hip), and cornerback Will Davis (knee) were not placed on PUP, indicating they were ready for the team’s first full-team training camp practice Thursday.

Any player on the PUP list can be activated and return to practice at any point prior to the regular season. Once a player is placed on the regular-season PUP list, he must sit out at least the first six weeks of the regular season.

RELATED: WILL SMITH'S BODY BETRAY HIM AGAIN?

Rolle (Achilles injury) is expected to miss the entire season. Here’s the breakdown on the other five PUP list players:

Suggs – He still has not fully recovered from his season-ending Achilles injury suffered in Week 1 last September. Suggs is scheduled to meet with the media Wednesday, where further details about his progress should be revealed.

Smith Sr. – Also recovering from a season-ending Achilles injury suffered in November. Smith said he would not care if he missed the entire preseason. His priority is to be ready by Week 1.

Perriman – He suffered a knee injury during minicamp which did not require season-ending surgery. However, Perriman has still not played a preseason or regular season game since being drafted in the first round in 2015. After two knee injuries in two years, the Ravens have every reason to be cautious with Perriman until they think he is ready to return.

Dumervil – He had offseason foot surgery after playing through pain last season. Dumervil missed mandatory minicamp, but did not sound concerned about being ready for Week 1.

Richardson – His lingering hamstring issue could ruin his bid for an NFL comeback. The Ravens are deep at running back, and Richardson needs to get healthy to have any chance to win a roster spot.

MORE RAVENS: FLACCO HAS LONG ODDS FOR MVP

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Best case, worst case scenario for WR Steve Smith Sr.

Best case, worst case scenario for WR Steve Smith Sr.

Clifton Brown and Bo Smolka are taking turns putting 25 key Ravens under the microscope leading up to veterans reporting to training camp. They’ll speculate on a best-case, worst-case scenario for at least one player every day, concluding with quarterback Joe Flacco on July 25.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Steve Smith Sr., 37-year-old wide receiver

Best-case scenario for Smith:

He enjoys a typical 1,000-yard season, and he remains the Ravens’ top receiver.

Why it could happen:

It’s dangerous to bet against Smith making a full recovery from Achilles surgery, even in the twilight of his career. Few athletes perform with more of a chip on their shoulder than Smith, who is always driven to prove doubters wrong. He’s a technician at route running, he studies film diligently, and he’s a master at using his body and hands to ward off defenders. Smith never relied on pure speed to be a top receiver. So even if he’s a tad less explosive, Smith has the talent to end his career playing at a high level.

Worst-case scenario for Smith:

Smith’s body betrays him, and the Ravens’ depth at wide receiver reduces his playing time and role.

Why it could happen:

Father Time is undefeated, and may finally be calling for Smith. The older an athlete gets, the harder it gets to recover from injuries. With their deep group of tight ends, and the addition of wide receivers Mike Wallace and rookie Chris Moore, the Ravens may not be as dependent on Smith as they have been. Even if Smith is healthy, his role in the offense might be less prominent.

RELATED: FLACCO HAS LONG ODDS FOR MVP