Lewis tells Harbaugh 'nothing to' report


Lewis tells Harbaugh 'nothing to' report

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Ravens coach John Harbaugh says star linebacker Ray Lewis assured him ``there's nothing to'' a magazine report linking him to a company that makes deer-antler spray containing a banned performance enhancer.

Harbaugh said Wednesday morning he spoke with Lewis. The coach said Lewis ``knows there is nothing to it. He understands it's something he's never been involved in.''

On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated reported that Lewis sought help from a company that makes the unorthodox product to speed his recovery from a torn right triceps. Lewis missed 10 games with the injury.

``He laughed about it,'' Harbaugh said, referring to Lewis. ``He told me there's nothing to it. He's told us in the past and now that he has never taken any of it.''

Baltimore plays the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday in the final game of Lewis' career.

Looking at the Ravens roster locks heading into OTA's


Looking at the Ravens roster locks heading into OTA's

With 90 players on their roster, the Ravens need plenty of trimming to reach the 53-man limit by Week 1 against the Bills. Heading into OTA’s that start on Tuesday, and before some unfortunate injuries that are bound to occur, here are the players I see as locks to make the roster:

Offense: (21)

Quarterback (2) – Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett

Running back (3) – Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon

Fullback (1) – Kyle Juszczyk

Tight end (3) – Crockett Gillmore, Ben Watson, Maxx Williams

Wide receiver (5) – Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore

Offensive line (7) – Marshal Yanda, Ronnie Stanley, Jeremy Zuttah, Rick Wagner, John Urschel, Ryan Jensen, Alex Lewis

It’s going to be an interesting battle at running back, with Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West, and Trent Richardson vying for a spot, and Forsett being pushed to keep his starting job. I don’t see the Ravens cutting Forsett, even if he doesn’t start. If Dennis Pitta is cleared for contact, I would expect he’d make the roster at tight end. If the Ravens don’t release or trade Eugene Monroe, he’ll likely be the starting left tackle, with Stanley playing left guard. Maybe I shouldn’t make Lewis and Moore locks, but it would surprise me to see either fourth-round draft pick getting cut. The wide receiver competition will be intense. Michael Campanaro, Kaelin Clay, and rookie Keenan Reynolds are also part of a crowded wide receiver field.


Defense (20)

Defensive line: (7) - Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, Bronson Kaufusi, Carl Davis, Willie Henry

Linebacker  - (7) C. J. Mosley, Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith, Kamalei Correa, Zach Orr, Albert McClellan

Defensive back (6) – Jimmy Smith, Eric Weddle, Shareece Wright,  Lardarius Webb, Tavon Young, Jerraud Powers

I think pass rusher Matt Judon (fifth-round pick) will make it, but too early to call him a lock. The defensive backfield will be most interesting. I’m tempted to call safety Kendrick Lewis a lock, but I won’t this early. The same holds true for safety Terrence Brooks and cornerback Kyle Arrington. Matt Elam is fighting to win a spot at safety, but he has been major disappointment so far as a former first-round pick.

Special teams (3)

Justin Tucker (K), Sam Koch (P), Morgan Cox (LS)

That makes 44 roster locks by my count, leaving nine spots wide open. Get ready for an interesting spring and summer. Coming off a 5-11 season, playing time is up for grabs at many positions.


Brady to petition for rehearing on Deflategate suspension


Brady to petition for rehearing on Deflategate suspension

New England quarterback Tom Brady will file a petition to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday for a second hearing in the never-ending saga that is Deflategate. NFL Players Association attorney Theodore B. Olson made the announcement on "Good Morning America" on Monday.

The court reinstated Brady's four-game suspension in April by a 2-1 decision, ruling that the punishment was fair and within Roger Goodell's authority as determined by the collective bargaining agreement.

Brady is now filing for a rehearing of the appeal in front of the full panel of judges on the court. The panel consists of 13 judges, but only three were assigned to the original hearing. Seven of the 13 judges would have to agree to hear the case. Normally that would be a long shot, but, as Pro Football Talk points out, the Chief Judge was the one judge who sided with Brady in the original hearing.

If you're hoping Brady's petition is denied just so we can be finished with this, then I've got some bad news. If the petition is denied, Brady can file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. And o course, you would have to expect Brady's legal team to file for a stay, delaying the suspension until the case is finally resolved.

Regardless, it looks like this is going to continue to drag on.


How productive will the Ravens' tight ends be in 2016?


How productive will the Ravens' tight ends be in 2016?

How productive will the Ravens’ tight end-by-committee system be?

That’s another key question for the Ravens as they head into on-field OTA’s this week. Regardless of what happens with Dennis Pitta, who is trying to come back from his second major hip injury, the Ravens are deep at tight end. They signed Ben Watson during free agency, and have drafted three tight ends since 2014 – Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, and Nick Boyle.

However, with Boyle facing a 10-game suspension due to his second PED violation, the Ravens know he won’t see game action until at least November. Meanwhile, Gillmore had offseason shoulder surgery, leaving his readiness for Week 1 still uncertain.

If the season began today, the Ravens would be leaning on Watson and Williams. The addition of Watson during free agency indicates the tight end position will remain a priority in the Ravens attack. Watson is coming off a career-best season with the Saints – 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns. The Ravens should not expect Watson to duplicate that at age 35. But Watson’s reliability in third down and red zone situations gives Joe Flacco another veteran to target in clutch situations.

Still only 22 years, Williams struggled at times as a rookie (32 catches, 268 yards, one touchdown), but his play improved as the season progressed. The Ravens will take a close look at Williams this offseason, hoping they will see more consistency from their second-round pick in 2015.

Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman likes throwing to tight ends, and so does Flacco. The Ravens don’t have a prolific tight end like Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, or Greg Olsen, who all topped 1,000 yards in receiving last season. However, the Ravens want to mix two tight-end sets into their attack on a regular basis, making depth at that position important.

The Ravens got a combined 83 catches and five touchdowns from their tight ends last year. In 2016, they will be counting on those numbers to rise.