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Ravens' reputation for gab not yet displayed at SB

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Ravens' reputation for gab not yet displayed at SB

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Baltimore Ravens' reputation for trash-talking arrived at the Super Bowl before they did.

While the Ravens were en route from Baltimore to the Big Easy, the San Francisco 49ers were already preparing for war of words with the chattiest team in the NFL.

``Most teams don't really talk that much, but I've heard stories about them talking a lot,'' San Francisco guard Alex Boone said. ``Guys have told me not to get into it with them. We're not here to get into a yelling match.''

That might change a bit Sunday when both teams play for the NFL championship at the Superdome.

The Ravens developed their swagger years ago under coach Brian Billick, who rarely backed away from a microphone and made no effort to put a muzzle on his players, most notably Shannon Sharpe and Tony Siragusa - both of whom are now being paid to blab as television commentators.

Baltimore's current coach, John Harbaugh, doesn't encourage such brashness. But he won't stop it, either. After the Ravens beat New England to win the AFC championship, Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard insisted that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should be fined for a leg-up slide even though Brady apologized afterward.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs topped that in an interview with Yahoo Sports, calling the Patriots ``arrogant'' and telling them ``to have fun at the Pro Bowl.''

Now that he's on football's biggest stage, Suggs has taken it down a few decibels, judging by his tone at Monday's media interviews. Here's a bulletin: He said nothing the 49ers might consider clipping from a newspaper and pinning to the bulletin board for motivation.

``I'm going to talk to you guys with the obligated time that I'm supposed to talk to you guys ... and I'm going to stick to that,'' Suggs said.

Asked if he might say something juicy later in the week, Suggs replied, ``Nothing I do is scripted. You've got to wait and see what I come up with.''

It might be worth the wait, although Harbaugh seems to think Suggs and the rest of the team will resist the temptation.

``Our guys are class guys. We'll play with character, we'll play with class,'' Harbaugh said. ``We'll be a tough, hard-nosed football team. That's the way we'll play. Before the game, after the game.''

That's not what the 49ers have heard.

``Talk is cheap. I'll leave it at that,'' linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. ``We've all got to play with those pads on. That's what does the talking for us.''

Linebacker Ray Lewis does much of the talking for the Baltimore defense. After leading the unit in an emotional chant following each pregame workout, Lewis yells the signals on the field and usually has something bold to say to an opponent he's dropped to the turf.

``Ray and Suggs, they like to talk a lot but they're great players, so it's kind of warranted,'' 49ers fullback Bruce Miller said.

``I think that's just the way they motivate their team,'' San Francisco cornerback Tarrell Brown added. ``Everybody feeds off that. Whatever works for them, that's good.''

When Lewis told his teammates earlier this month that he was going to retire after the current postseason run, Suggs thought the team's vocal leader was merely gearing up for another speech.

``He always talks to the team before the game, the middle of the season and going into the playoffs,'' Suggs said. ``I thought it was another day at the office, but he said some key words. It struck me. He said maybe it was time to start doing something else and it just kind of puzzled me and then it hit me. It really focused our team, not only to get it done for him, but just how precious this time and these moments are. You don't get these opportunities every day.''

Lewis may the most prolific talker on the team, but he's not the only one who enjoys yapping. As soon as they got off the plane from Baltimore, Suggs, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, Ray Rice and Joe Flacco were made available to the media.

While Lewis discussed, among other things, his pending retirement, his family and his love for God, Reed talked about everything from his training habits to his experience as a punt, pass and kick participant in New Orleans more than two decades ago.

None of it was going to get the 49ers riled up before Sunday's game, which is just the way Harbaugh likes it.

``I think we're very respectful of our opponents,'' the coach said. ``We always have been, and our opponents have respected us over the years. The team we're playing is built the same way. We've got a lot of respect for the 49ers. We've got a lot of respect for their coach, the coaching staff, their players, and I expect it to be played in that way.''

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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.