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Strahan, Sapp, Ogden among Hall of Fame finalists


Strahan, Sapp, Ogden among Hall of Fame finalists

CANTON, Ohio (AP) Single-season sacks leader Michael Strahan and two players who tried to block him are among 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Strahan, who had 22 1/2 sacks in 2001 and 141 1/2 for his 15-year his career with the New York Giants, is joined by offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden of the Ravens and guard-tackle Larry Allen of the Cowboys and 49ers.

The fourth first-year eligible to make the cut is defensive tackle Warren Sapp of the Buccaneers and Raiders.

Strahan, Ogden and Sapp all won Super Bowls.

The hall announced Friday that the other finalists are running back Jerome Bettis; receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed; LB-DEs Charles Haley and Kevin Greene; guard Will Shields; defensive back Aeneas Williams; coach Bill Parcells; and former owners Edward DeBartolo Jr. of the 49ers and the late Art Modell of the Browns, who moved to Baltimore in 1996 to become the Ravens.

The two senior nominees are defensive tackle Curley Culp - who played for the Chiefs, Oilers and Lions - and linebacker Dave Robinson of the Packers and Redskins.

Between four and seven new members will be selected Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, in New Orleans.

Bettis played for the Rams and Steelers - he won the 2006 Super Bowl in his final game, something Strahan did in 2008. He's in his third season of eligibility and was beaten out by fellow running backs Marshall Faulk in 2011 and Curtis Martin in 2012 for the hall.

Carter, Brown and Reed all were in the top 10 in receptions when they retired. Haley won five Super Bowls, two with San Francisco and three with Dallas.

Greene was one of the first hybrid linebacker-end defenders, which best suited his pass-rushing skills.

Shields was an ironman blocker for 14 seasons in Kansas City. Williams was a versatile defensive back who played on the corner and at safety. He had 55 career interceptions and 23 fumble recoveries.


Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Harbaugh makes no guarantee about Devin Hester's role going forward

Harbaugh makes no guarantee about Devin Hester's role going forward

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens coach John Harbaugh gave no guarantee that Devin Hester would remain the team’s return specialist if his performance did not improve. Hester has muffed three punts this season, including Sunday against the Jets, when the Ravens were fortunate to maintain possession.

Asked if the Ravens were considering making a change at returner, Harbaugh said, “You know I’m not going to comment on anything like that. I’m still very confident Devin can secure the football. I like the fact that Devin can still break a big return. He’s been battling some injuries. It’s my hope that it’s not because he’s gotten older, and that’s going to continue all year. But I don’t know. It’d be a good question to ask him when you see him.


“I think when he’s healthy, he’ll secure the football even better than he has, and he’ll make some big returns for us.”

Hester’s best moments have come as a kickoff returner, with a 60-yard return against the Raiders, and a 48-yard return against the Browns. However, Hester is no longer returning punts like he once did, and he turns 34 years old in November. Considering the Ravens’ injury issues, having Hester occupy a roster spot strictly as a returner is a luxury the Ravens may not be able to afford all season.

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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