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Ravens practice in heavy winds on baseball field


Ravens practice in heavy winds on baseball field

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Baltimore Ravens starters Dannell Ellerbe and Dennis Pitta practiced Wednesday in heavy winds at Tulane University, looking sharp despite nagging injuries.

Inside linebacker Ellerbe has been bothered by an ankle injury, while tight end Pitta has a thigh problem. Both moved freely in Baltimore's first practice in New Orleans.

Ellerbe said earlier this week ``I'm definitely playing in this game,'' and Pitta echoed those sentiments.

The Ravens practiced for nearly 2 hours on a makeshift 80-yard field stretching across the outfield at Tulane's Greer Field baseball stadium. Unlike the San Francisco 49ers, who worked out at the Saints' indoor facility, Baltimore dealt with wind gusts up to 24 mph.

Baltimore had the option of working at the Saints' indoor facility late in the afternoon or early Wednesday evening, after the 49ers finished. But coach John Harbaugh said he and the players preferred to practice on schedule in mid-afternoon.

``We had a great practice,'' Harbaugh said as his players left the field. ``We didn't like the wind, but we got all of our work done. Spirits are high. They looked great.

``Our players are upbeat and happy. They don't complain about anything.''

In past Super Bowls here, teams have practiced on Tulane's football field. But that field is under construction because the school is building a new on-campus stadium.

In addition to the field Baltimore practiced on Wednesday, Tulane has another 50-yard field that kickers and punters are using.

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Injury Geno Smith suffered vs. Ravens thought to be torn ACL

Injury Geno Smith suffered vs. Ravens thought to be torn ACL

The New York Jets' quarterback controversy appears to have taken another turn.

The team believes the injury Geno Smith suffered against the Ravens is a torn ACL, according to multiple reports.

The Jets decided to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and go with Smith against the Ravens after a 26-3 Week 6 loss to the Cardinals. Fitzpatrick was leading the NFL in interceptions through Week 6 with 11.

But when the injury forced Smith out of the game late in the second quarter, Fitzpatrick came in and went 9-of-14 for 120 yards and a touchdown, leading the Jets to a 24-16 win. Smith was 4-of-8 for 95 yards and one touchdown before sustaining the injury.

He now has the chance to regain his starting spot.

RELATED: Fitzpatrick critical of Jets organization following win over Ravens

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Former Raven Vonta Leach critical of NFL's double-standard in regards to Josh Brown, Ray Rice

Former Raven Vonta Leach critical of NFL's double-standard in regards to Josh Brown, Ray Rice

Former Ravens' fullback Vonta Leach wants to why.

Leach, who paved the way for the Ravens run game from 2011 to 2013, wants to know why Giants kicker Josh Brown remains in the NFL while Ray Rice still struggles to find work.

Brown did not travel with the Giants to England for their Week 7 game against the Rams due after new information related to domestic violence against his then-wife came to light this week. Brown was placed on the commissioner's exempt list, and according to an ESPN source, the Giants are all but done with him.

Rice, who was teammates with Leach for three seasons, was essentially excommunicated from the Ravens and the NFL after a 2014 video tape was leaked showing Rice strike then-fiancee Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator.

Leach wants to know why Brown, who admitted to numerous incidences of domestic violence, has yet to be given the same sort of punishment Rice received.

Rice has made every effort possible to atone for his sin. He has spoken to numerous youth, high school and college teams about the treatment of women, and has shown great sorrow and remorse in the wake of his actions. One would think Rice has done enough to deserve a second chance.

But the issue here is two-fold.

First, Rice is a 5-8 running back who was already nearing a decline at the time of his suspension. Teams don't rely on running backs in the same regard as a few years ago, and while Rice deserves a second chance, he just simple isn't a desired commodity.

Secondly, the video evidence changed the entire perspective. The initial video of Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee out of the elevator was leaked on February 19. Rice was issued a two-game suspension by the NFL four months later. On September 8, video of Rice striking Palmer was leaked. On the very same day, Rice was released by the Ravens and issued an indefinite suspension by the NFL.

There is no tangible evidence against Brown, although it should not make a difference.

Domestic violence is domestic violence regardless of video evidence. But the swift handling of Rice in wake of the second video set a dangerous precedent.

Leach is right. Brown admitted to abusing his wife several times. The discrepancy between the handling of Rice and the handling of Brown should not be this vast. 

While the NFL is attempting to do due diligence, the precedent they set with Rice has made it nearly impossible for them to do the right thing, and they have only themselves to blame.

They also owe Leach — and all of us — an answer.