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THIS IS RAVENS TERRITORY

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THIS IS RAVENS TERRITORY

The New Orleans Riverwalk has become the Ravenswalk.

The walkway lining the Mississippi River is the site of one of the weekend fan fests, and fans of all teams are there listening to music, eating New Orleans food and just enjoying the warm, sunny weather. But a section across from Jackson Park has turned into a gathering place for Ravens fans. A Baltimore radio station broadcasting from a riverboat on the section across from Jackson Park, and the whole area is a sea of purple.

- Nancy Armour -http://www.twitter.com/nrarmour

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EDITOR'S NOTE - ``Super Bowl Watch'' shows you the Super Bowl and the events surrounding the game through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across New Orleans and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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Harbaugh defends Kaepernick's right to protest anthem

Harbaugh defends Kaepernick's right to protest anthem

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that regardless of whether he agreed with Colin Kaepernick’s actions, he defended Kaepernick’s right not to stand for the national anthem, as the protest by the 49ers quarterback continued to draw significant attention.

“We are talking about a free country,” Harbaugh said following Monday’s practice. “I’m grateful for the right to express my displeasure, and that is what Colin chose to do. It is certainly his right to do it.”

Harbaugh’s brother, Jim Harbaugh, coached Kaepernick with the 49ers for four seasons.

“I know Colin through Jim,” Harbaugh said. “He comes from a great family. He has been brought up the right way with good people who care about him and love him. He reflects that in how successful he has been. I know Jim really likes him a lot, so I respect him. I respect his choice for whatever it is.”

RELATED: RAVENS HAVE TOUGH CALL BETWEEN URSCHEL AND LEWIS

Harbaugh said if a Ravens’ player decided to take a controversial stand, he hoped the player would take great thought before doing so.

“As far as our players go, it becomes about respect,” Harbaugh said. “I think you respect the opinions of everybody in the room and respect their right to express their opinion. Voltaire (French philosopher) so eloquently stated, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend until death your right to say it.’

“That is the principle our country is founded on. I don’t think you can deny someone the right to speak out or mock or make fun or belittle anyone else’s opinion. You stand on your opinion, and when you state your opinion, it takes a little bit of courage, and there are going to be people that disagree with it. I tell our guys, ‘If you are going to say something publicly, think about it. Make sure you really believe that, because when you speak out there, it is out there, and it belongs to you now.’

“The other part of it is that we are a team. Anything that we do should never…You respect our team, our organization and the other players, and you respect the mission that were are on and what we are trying to accomplish. None of us ever want to do anything that is going to detract or disrespect the efforts of all the other players on the football team. I think that is the balance that all of us have to strike when we speak out about something like that.”

MORE RAVENS: PERRIMAN MAY FINALLY DEBUT THURSDAY

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Ravens must decide between John Urschel and Alex Lewis at left guard

Ravens must decide between John Urschel and Alex Lewis at left guard

OWINGS MILLS – The competition between John Urschel and Alex Lewis to be the Ravens’ starting left guard Week 1 remains close.

Lewis has played well the past two preseason games, while Urschel has been sidelined with an undisclosed “contusion” injury. Urschel’s return to practice could be imminent, because he was on the field post-practice Monday with offensive line coach Juan Castillo.

However, Harbaugh had praise for Lewis following Monday’s practice. The fourth-round draft pick from Nebraska has been a physical presence, and has looked comfortable playing with the starters.

“Really impressed,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, when asked to assess Lewis’ performance Saturday night against the Lions. “He made some mistakes. He was late, passed off a couple of twists and games. But he’s a quick learner.”

Does Urschel’s missed practice time make the decision on which player to start more complicated?

“That’s a great question,” Harbaugh said. “We’re probably considering that right now, but we haven’t had that discussion yet. That’s something we have to address here very quickly.”

Even if Urschel starts the season, Lewis is showing that at worst, he can be a reliable backup. The coaching staff believes Lewis will be an NFL starter one day. It remains to be seen if that day will be Week 1 against the Bills.

MORE RAVENS: Perriman may finally debut Thursday

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Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman could make NFL debut in preseason finale

Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman could make NFL debut in preseason finale

OWINGS MILLS – Wide receiver Breshad Perriman could finally see his first game action with the Ravens on Thursday, during the preseason finale in New Orleans.

“If the doctors clear him, he’ll be out there,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said following Monday’s practice. “If he can play, he will play. I do want to see him playing before he gets in a regular season game. That’s something we would want to see him do if he can. But that will be up to the docs.”

Perriman has not played for the Ravens since he was a first-round pick in 2015, due to two separate knee injuries. However, Perriman was activated off the PUP list Aug. 23 and has been practicing since.

If Perriman played Thursday without any physical setbacks, it would increase the likelihood that he would dress for the regular-season opener against the Bills on Sept. 11.

Even if Perriman’s snaps were limited, he could be utilized in some packages as a downfield threat. The presence of Perriman could also open up opportunities for other receivers to work underneath.

MORE RAVENS: Ravens put two players on IR, release nine others