Suggs, Webb, stand out at Super Bowl media day

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Suggs, Webb, stand out at Super Bowl media day

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Scenes and observations from the NFL's annual Super Bowl media day - interviews with players and team personnel from the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers on the field at the Superdome:

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Terrell Suggs stood up, threw down his microphone, kicked over his chair with a back heel as he stepped down from his podium, and then kicked over a cooler.

Onlookers laughed, satisfied that the Baltimore Ravens' mischievous linebacker had properly punctuated the frenetic, free-for-all known as Super Bowl media day.

Suggs plays a central role in one of the more intimidating defenses in the NFL, and at least some of the conversation involved football, and what it would take to slow down San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Sunday's NFL championship game.

But media day is never just about football, not even when the players are interviewing each other.

Posing as a reporter, defensive end Arthur Jones asked Suggs which staple of Louisiana cuisine he preferred, gumbo or jambalaya.

"That's a good question, and I'm glad you asked that, Arthur," Suggs said. "Definitely gumbo."

Suggs also was asked if he is the best dancer in the locker room: "No way. 'Be Nasty,' (safety) Bernard Pollard - he's definitely the best dancer. And I think if we get this done come Sunday, you all will get to see a good dose of it."

And maybe even get a song from Suggs. He wasn't shy about serenading everyone with a rendition of Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love," moments after he took his seat behind the microphone.

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Katherine Webb credits a couple of camera shots of her watching the BCS national title game in Miami with landing her at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

Otherwise known as Miss Alabama USA and the girlfriend of Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron, Webb has been hired by TV's "Inside Edition" to be its game correspondent.

"It's so exciting and absolutely crazy at the same time. It's happened so fast. I feel like I'm living on a plane but it's a great journey," said Webb, who was making her first trip to New Orleans for her first Super Bowl.

The 23-year-old Webb has been working on a fledgling modeling and acting career in Los Angeles.

"It's kind of funny how everything kind of lines up to me being at this point," said Webb, explaining that it all started with meeting McCarron while at home in Alabama late last year.

She was hired to interview players and coaches during media day, but wound up being interviewed herself. A colleague had to cut it short a few times, apologetically explaining that Webb had a job to do.

She said she prepped for the job.

"A.J. is interviewed all the time, so it's kind of cool to ask him, 'What do I need to ask and what do I need to stay away from? What annoys players the most to be asked?'" she said.

Webb created a buzz at the BCS game when she was caught on camera and play-by-play announcer Brent Musburger enthusiastically remarked that quarterbacks "get all the good-looking women." ESPN later apologized for the comments.

Webb, however, never thought an apology was necessary.

"Everybody seems to think that I'm offended and I'm not at all," she said. "I appreciate it. I appreciate the fact that he notices a beautiful woman. Women need to be told their beautiful more often. I took no offense to it."

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For the second year in a row, Super Bowl media day was open to fans for the price of a $25 ticket. They were allowed to sit in sections of seats along the sideline with good views of players on the field, and paid attendance was 5,479, according to NFL spokesman Michael Signora.

When fans walked in, they were given gift bags that included small radios so they could listen to interviews. Other items were mostly product samples from sponsors, including chips and laundry detergent.

Among the fans were John Grimsley and Lisa Wyatt of Baltimore, sitting together a few rows from the field wearing purple jerseys with the No. 52 of star Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. They said the ticket price was worth it.

"This is a very rare experience," said Grimsley, who has Ravens season tickets and tickets to Sunday's big game. "I've never been to anything like this. To be able to see all the Ravens being interviewed, to see some of these guys up close, you don't really get to see that when you go to the games. They're there and then they're gone."

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The NFL says 5,205 reporters from 24 countries have credentials for the game, and some chose to work in costume at media day.

There was a correspondent from the Nickelodeon television network dressed as a super hero called Pick Boy, wearing black tights with a cape and trim of fluorescent orange and green.

Pick Boy approached 49ers practice squad linebacker Nate Stupar, asking him if he wanted to race. Stupar declined, saying he wasn't about to risk pulling any muscles for something like that.

"I would say that's the first time I got interviewed by a guy with a cape on," Stupar said. "It's entertainment and it's going to be fun to be around the entire week."

Univision radio play-by-play announcer Rafael Hernandez Brito wore a Spanish-style wrestling mask for part of the session.

TV Azteca reporter Jose Marquez Zamora looked like a rodeo clown, with his painted face, round rubber nose and long, pointy shoes covered with light blue sequins. He said he was, in fact, dressed as a typical clown in Monterrey, Mexico, and wasn't concerned about whether his interview subjects took him seriously.

"I don't make interviews about serious stuff," he said. "I only have fun with the players, so our viewers in Mexico get interesting stuff and also get entertained."

Niners offensive lineman Alex Boone was asked about his hair style, which looks similar to a mohawk - Boone calls it a rhino hawk - and whether he had the best hair on the team.

"Absolutely. I think I get it from my mom's side," Boone said. "My mom's got great hair."

He added that he never in his career had been asked about his hair in a football interview, and then reflected on how the range of questions on media day truly sets it apart from a typical NFL interview session.

"Weird. Very weird. A lot of questions coming this way and some of them aren't football-related, which creeps me out a little bit," Boone said. "But it's a trip, and I'm excited to be here."

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When players and coaches were asked to play along with a joke about the growing influence of social media in everyday communication, results were mixed and appeared to expose the generation gap between some players and coaches.

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and others were asked to answer some questions in hash tags only. The tags, which might look like (hash)SuperBowl on the website Twitter, are used to help social media users identify trendy topics.

"That would be very challenging to me," Harbaugh said. "I don't know the hash tag world that well. I don't have one. I don't have a Tweeter (sic). I'm not real good at that."

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was more cooperative, answering several questions in a row about his Super Bowl experience as a rookie with, "Hash tag, awesome."

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

AFC North: Griffin's mannequin pose gets thumbs up at Cleveland high school

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AFC North: Griffin's mannequin pose gets thumbs up at Cleveland high school

New Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III found a new way to use his body control Tuesday. He posed as a mannequin while pranking a high school classroom in Ohio. It was part of a good deed by the Browns, who donated $25,000 to North Ridgeville High School to be used for helmets.

While Browns teammate Cameron Erving spoke to the class, Griffin stood behind a curtain. After the curtain was raised, Griffin remained perfectly still, looking like a mannequin wearing a Ridgeville uniform and helmet.

“I had to tap into my inner mime,” Griffin told the Browns’ website.

When two students approached Griffin to remove the helmet, he startled them with a roar. Then Griffin removed his helmet to reveal his identity. The classroom erupted in applause.

The Browns’ website posted a video of Griffin’s performance here.

Things have been trending in a positive way for Griffin since coming to Cleveland from the Redskins. Not only did the Browns draft four wide receivers, they did not draft a quarterback until the third round when they took Cody Kessler of USC.  Griffin, Josh McCown, Austin Davis, Connor Shaw, and Pat Devlin are the other quarterbacks on the roster.

Griffin clearly has a chance to win the starting job. But with Tuesday’s mannequin act, Griffin won over some high school kids in Ohio.

  

Ravens like their draft class, and so did Vegas sports books

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Ravens like their draft class, and so did Vegas sports books

The Ravens liked their draft, and so did Las Vegas.

In mid-March prior to the draft, the Ravens had 40-1 odds to win Super Bowl 51, according to Bovada. After their 11-player haul in the draft, the Ravens’ Super Bowl odds have improved to 33-1, according to Bovada.

Here are the six teams whose Super Bowl odds improved most dramatically after the draft, according to Bovada:

Browns – 150-1 to 100-1

Redskins – 50-1 to 40-1

Jets – 50-1 to 40-1

Giants - 33-1 to 25-1

Raiders – 33-1 to 25-1

Ravens – 40-1 to 33-1

Despite quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension being upheld, the Patriots remained the favorites for Super Bowl 51 (7-1), followed by the Seahawks (8-1), Packers (10-1), Steelers (10-1), and Panthers (11-1).

As for the AFC North, the Ravens still have their work cut out according to Vegas. The Steelers and Bengals (18-1) still have better Super Bowl odds than the Ravens.

So if you believe the Ravens are a better team after the draft, Vegas would agree. However, it remains to be seen if the Ravens will be improved enough to get back into the playoffs.

Ravens draft research includes digging into players' social media history

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Ravens draft research includes digging into players' social media history

Ten years ago, Ozzie Newsome didn’t have to worry about checking the Twitter posts of players he was thinking about drafting. Now, checking social media has become part of a general manager’s job, and part of a prospective draft prospect’s resume.

What better example than last week, when the infamous gas mask picture of Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil appeared on social media less than an hour before the draft. The Ravens passed on Tunsil and took left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the sixth pick. Tunsil, who once looked like a sure top-five pick, plummeted to No. 13 where the Dolphins took him.

On the Ravens’ website, Ravens senior vice president Kevin Byrne wrote that he stopped by Newsome’s offense last Wednesday, one day before the draft, and saw him with a stack of papers in front of him.

When Byrne asked Newsome what he was reading, he responded, “Tweets from the college players. Some of these guys aren’t very smart. Part of our research.”

Researching social media will continue to be part of Newsome’s pre-draft process. Newsome isn’t active on social media, but he definitely reads it, now more than ever.