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Tag:Ray Lewis
Posted on: June 16, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: June 16, 2011 10:46 am
 

Report: John Harbaugh didn't want Jimmy Smith?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It wasn't a surprise when the Ravens eventually selected troubled cornerback Jimmy Smith in the April draft. Baltimore needed secondary help, and conventional wisdom suggested that the Ravens locker room, led by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, would keep Smith in line.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has an impressive track record of drafting winners, dating back to 1996, when he took Jonathan Ogden and Lewis. So you're willing to give Newsome the benefit of the doubt on Smith, even if you couldn't see the former Colorado cornerback through all the raised red flags.

Turns out, according to a report from Baltimore Sports Report, Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't want Smith.

In a recent radio appearance with Ken Weinman and Vinny Cerrato (yep, same guy) on 105.7 The Fan, Philly radio personality Howard Eskin says he believes that all the confusion surrounding the Ravens' 26th pick (which ultimately turned into the 27th pick) was because Harbaugh was uncomfortable taking Smith.

“You know those background checks they do,” Eskin asked. ”Man, it didn’t come up pretty (on Smith). …

“Smith had problems — he was struggling with the character issues, he really was,” Eskin said. “And once the Eagles got past their place in the draft, I think there was communication between John (Harbaugh) and the Eagles people to try to find out a little about this guy because they know that the Eagles did look at him and I think he had some real reservations with that.”

This is all speculation at this point. Eskin admits that he hasn't talked to Harbaugh, although he presumably heard something somewhere. Plus, it's not unreasonable to think that Harbaugh -- or anyone in the Ravens organization -- had reservations about Smith. Leading up to the draft, many experts said that Smith had top-10 talent but the dreaded "character concerns" dropped him off many teams' draft board. Twenty-six teams passed on him, after all.

As PFT's Mike Florio points out, it's only a matter of time before the Ravens issue a statement denying Eskin's report because they're already invested in Smith. Unless Harbaugh can get his hands on a time machine, Smith is now his problem. Might as well make the best of it.

UPDATE: Peter King, via Twitter, refutes Eskin's comments: "That story about John Harbaugh not wanting Jimmy Smith? Wrong. Totally wrong."

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Posted on: June 14, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 10:43 am
 

Heimerdinger, Fisher concerned for Britt

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Kenny Britt has been busy this offseason, but for all the wrong reasons. While most of us have little trouble staying on the right side of the law, Britt struggles to go more than a week without some sort of legal entanglement. He's been arrested six times since the Titans drafted him in April 2009. We're starting to think that the frequent cuffings and stuffings aren't much of a deterrent.

Let's be clear: Britt isn't committing armed robberies or shooting up malls. But repeated arrests for marijuana possession and reckless driving adds up. He's not Hannibal Lecter, but he also struggles to follow the same basic rules the rest of us manage to do without really thinking about it. At worst, Britt could end up in the slammer; at best, his employer can't count on him. And it's not like he's a practice squad scrub -- he would have long been released if he were. Britt's the second-best player on the Titans after Chris Johnson. He's sort of important to what they're trying to do.

Back in April, several arrests ago, Kenny's dad, Jack Britt, told the Newark-Star Ledger that “I’m worried about [Kenny] all the time. … “But my concern is not with Kenny, per se, it’s more with Kenny’s friends, and he knows that. He has too many friends with too much free time. He needs to be around more positive people.”

We don't want to be that guy but, well, that sounds like a job for Kenny's father.

Former Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, who's currently battling cancer, told the Tennessean Monday that “Kenny can be as good as anybody, but eventually you have to grow up.” And even though it's no longer Jeff Fisher's problem, Fisher still keeps up with Britt's off-field issues.

“I didn’t get the call but I am following it closely and it is not an easy thing,” Fisher told the Tennessean. “Somehow, deep down, you kind of still feel responsible or still feel like you want to help. I hope he can get things sorted out.”

Last season, when Fisher was still coaching the Titans, he benched Britt after the wide receiver was allegedly involved in a bar fight. These problems now belong to the new guy, head coach Mike Munchak.

“You have to be very careful to jump to conclusions until you get all the facts, and I think that is probably what (Mike) is doing right now, he’s gathering the facts,” Fisher said. “The difficulty is you can’t have contact with him and that is hard on Mike and his staff for sure.”

Maybe the Titans should have someone on staff at the Nashville Police Department. Just to be safe, they might want to include the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and for a national presence, the FBI.

Finally, here's something lawyer and ProFootballTalk.com proprietor Mike Florio wrote about Britt this spring:

"We’ve mentioned once or twice the connection between the lockout and players being locked up. Though we’re not excusing bad behavior, the fact remains that the arrest rate for NFL players tends to go down when they have the structure that comes from being with their teams."

We hate to keep going back to this because it started off as a big joke. But, you know, Ray Lewis wasn't wrong.

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Javarris James arrested on marijuana charge

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Every time an NFL player ends up in the back of the metaphorical squad car, we've joked that Ray Lewis' "No football means more crime" theory of human behavior might be closer to the truth that we'd like to admit.

In just the past week, NFL-related arrests have included the wife of Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt (for the sixth time since 2009), and Thursday night, Colts running back Javarris James added his name to the list.

According to TheIndyChannel.com, James, who is cousins with former Indy RB Edgerrin James, was pulled over by Fort Myers, Florida, police "on suspicion of driving with car windows that were too darkly tinted" (if the charge sounds familiar it's because it happens frequently, often to football players). When officers approached James' car they smelled marijuana and found a bud in the center console and more pot on the floor.

James, 23, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Like his cousin, Edgerrin, James grew up in nearby Immokalee, Florida, and played collegiately at the University of Miami. He signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2010 but was released on September 4. After brief stops in New England and Washington (and we mean really brief -- he lasted a day with each team), James again signed with Indianapolis. He saw action in 10 games, and totaled 112 yards rushing and 63 yards receiving.

As Colts blog Stampede Blue noted Saturday, when Indy "selected Delone Carter in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the general sense was that Javarris James' days with the Colts were numbered." Getting caught with weed probably doesn't help his chances.

Meanwhile, we eagerly await Ray Lewis' theory on crime control. Because if the lockout doesn't end soon we're going to need it.

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 5:37 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Woodley not worried about Ravens in Super Bowl

LaMarr Woodley Posted by Ryan Wilson

Even if we weren't in the middle of a lockout, June is typically the slowest month on the NFL calendar. The draft is over, training camp is still six weeks off, and it's the only time coaches can take extended vacations.

It's the NFL's version of golf's silly season, except there aren't any contrived made-for-television events … unless you count players guest-appearing on NFL Network's Total Access. On Thursday, it was LaMarr Woodley's turn. The wide smile, easy manner and sunny disposition made the Steelers linebacker a natural in front of the camera. (If nothing else, it broke up the monotony of just seeing the NFLN regulars on a nightly basis.)

But behind those unnaturally white teeth, Woodley managed to take a few friendly shots at the AFC North competition, starting with whether quarterback Joe Flacco can lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl.

"No, not at all because they have to go through one team -- that's the Pittsburgh Steelers in that AFC championship," Woodley said. "So in order for them to get to the Super Bowl, they have to beat us, and we're not gonna let that happen once we get that close. So that's not gonna happen in this lifetime."

And so far, he's right. Since 2008, the Ravens have twice lost to the Steelers in the playoffs. Once in the AFC Championship game during Flacco's rookie season and then in the AFC Divisional get-together last January. Both times, Flacco looked out of sorts, and both times, critical second-half turnovers proved to be his undoing.

Woodley, like everybody else (including current Bengals players), seems unconcerned with whether Carson Palmer returns to Cincinnati. "Well, honestly, when they play against us, it really doesn't matter whether he's there or not," Woodley said. And he thinks Colt McCoy is going to "be a great quarterback," although he didn't specify a time frame.

Woodley then unveiled his list of the NFL's top-10 linebackers, just in case there were any doubts about where his allegiances lie. For those of you too lazy to click the link, here's the breakdown:

10. Larry Foote
9. Lawrence Timmons
8. David Harris
7. Brian Cushing
6. James Farrior
5. Clay Matthews
4. LaMarr Woodley
3. Ray Lewis
2. Patrick Willis
1. James Harrison

Because of the sheer absurdity of it, we wouldn't blame you if you stopped reading after seeing the words "Larry" and "Foote." That said, while the list is heavy on Steelers and Wolverines, Matthews and Willis clearly belong, as does Lewis, even if he's closer to No. 10 than No. 1. 

Somewhere Bart Scott is outraged at being snubbed -- even though, you know, he shouldn't be.

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Posted on: June 9, 2011 1:53 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Kenny Britt arrested day after court appearance

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Kenny Britt must take some perverse pleasure in legal entanglements. Because a day after he pleaded guilty to careless driving in his hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey, Britt was -- you guessed it -- arrested again. This time in Hoboken where narcotics officers charged him with two counts of resisting arrest.

Britt was issued a summons and will have to show up in Central Judicial Processing Court in Jersey City on June 16, eight days since his last court appearance.

According to WSMV.com, the complaint says Britt "did purposely prevent or attempt to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of force or violence, specifically by refusing to open your hand when ordered to do so then pulling your hand away."

When you've just pled guilty to another offense hours before it only makes sense that you would hassle a cop at the first opportunity, right? Look, we understand that "refusing to open your hand when ordered to do so" ranks right below jaywalking when it comes abhorrent criminal behavior. But here's a thought: if you've just had a run-in with the law, and you're a relatively high-profile athlete (or just tired of getting arrested), open your hand when the police ask you to, you know, open your hand.

Instead, Britt was charged with using his body "to push away from the officers" and pulled his arm away "while not allowing the officers to handcuff" him.

To recap: the Titans' best receiver can't get separation from law officers who probably haven't played competitive sports since high school. You know, it's not too late for the team to reconsider re-signing Randy Moss.

In related news: Ray Lewis, upon hearing the latest, nodded knowingly, and continued to preach of the impending Armageddon crime spree if the lockout isn't promptly resolved. We've been warned.

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 4:40 pm
 

Analyst says Flacco needs to work harder

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Last week, NFL Network's Jamie Dukes spoke frankly about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

"He still may have to work a little harder than he's working right now," Dukes said on Wednesday's Total Access. "There's no question he's a talented quarterback. But from what I hear coming out of that locker room, he studies but some say he might need to put a little more time in. That's what I hear."

Dukes' comments came nearly two months after Flacco first lobbied for a contract extension. "I think I've established myself," Flacco told the Baltimore Sun's Jamison Hensley at the time.

Dukes' accusation that Flacco "might need to put a little more time in" was news to Sun's blogger Matt Vensel, who writes that "Flacco is notorious for roaming the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills on off days and he has probably been at the facility shaking on doors during the lockout.

"He even organized a hotel sleepover party with Ravens rookies Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and Tyrod Taylor on Monday night and drove them to Tuesday’s workout at Towson University."

Clearly, there is more to this story than Flacco's study habits. Before recommitting himself to being an upstanding human, Ben Roethlisberger had never been mistaken for Peyton Manning in the film room. He was supposedly aloof and not much of a locker room guy. The difference: he won two Super Bowls in his first five years in the NFL. The old cliche "winning fixes everything" fits here, and it's reasonable to believe that if the Ravens had managed to win it all during Flacco's first three years in the league we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.

Remember, until Aaron Rodgers put the Packers on his back against the Steelers in the Super Bowl four months ago, most media stories were about his inability to "win it all." Never mind that he not only exceeded everyone's expectations when he took over for Brett Favre in 2008, but was a top-10 quarterback in FootballOutsiders.com's total value metric in each of his three seasons as a starter (and in '10, he ranked fourth behind Tom Brady, Manning and Philip Rivers). Yet, it took a championship to legitimize him in the eyes of the media.

Is it fair? Of course not. But it's not unexpected, either. It's part of the implicit pact you make: earn millions as an NFL quarterback with the understanding that you'll endure all that comes with it -- both on and off the field. For Rodgers, that meant stepping out of Favre's shadow and doing the impossible: replacing a legend and playing so well that fans forgot about No. 4.

Luckily, there isn't much of a quarterback track record in Baltimore. Former head coach Brian Billick made sure of that. But it doesn't mean expectations aren't high. Linebacker and de facto team leader Ray Lewis has been outspoken more than once in his 15-year career about the offense carrying its weight. And fans are even less forgiving, especially when two of the Ravens' playoff losses during Flacco's tenure have come at the hands of the hated division rival Steelers.

As is always the case, it's not enough to just implore the quarterback to play better and the offense will magically refashion itself into the 2007 Patriots. Flacco shares some of the blame, for sure, but the Ravens' offensive line struggled at times last season. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Flacco was blitzed on 50 percent of dropbacks (second in the NFL behind only Bruce Gradkowski of the Raiders), pressured on a third of those blitzes, sacked 24 percent of the time, and completed just 47 percent of his passes.

Not Pro Bowl numbers, but about average, which is what one-time Ravens QB of the future Kyle Boller aspired to. (Again citing FootballOutsiders.com, Flacco ranked 11th in total value among all NFL quarterbacks in 2010.)

Either way, defenses went after Flacco because they identified a weakness in the blocking scheme, felt that Flacco didn't respond well to pressure, or some combination of the two. The remedy requires more than Flacco improving his study habits, as Dukes suggest. The pass-blocking has to improve, the receivers have to run better routes, and ultimately, Flacco has to limit his mistakes. But one without the others is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. 

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 4:40 pm
 

Analyst says Flacco needs to work harder

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Last week, NFL Network's Jamie Dukes spoke frankly about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

"He still may have to work a little harder than he's working right now," Dukes said on Wednesday's Total Access. "There's no question he's a talented quarterback. But from what I hear coming out of that locker room, he studies but some say he might need to put a little more time in. That's what I hear."

Dukes' comments came nearly two months after Flacco first lobbied for a contract extension. "I think I've established myself," Flacco told the Baltimore Sun's Jamison Hensley at the time.

Dukes' accusation that Flacco "might need to put a little more time in" was news to Sun's blogger Matt Vensel, who writes that "Flacco is notorious for roaming the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills on off days and he has probably been at the facility shaking on doors during the lockout.

"He even organized a hotel sleepover party with Ravens rookies Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and Tyrod Taylor on Monday night and drove them to Tuesday’s workout at Towson University."

Clearly, there is more to this story than Flacco's study habits. Before recommitting himself to being an upstanding human, Ben Roethlisberger had never been mistaken for Peyton Manning in the film room. He was supposedly aloof and not much of a locker room guy. The difference: he won two Super Bowls in his first five years in the NFL. The old cliche "winning fixes everything" fits here, and it's reasonable to believe that if the Ravens had managed to win it all during Flacco's first three years in the league we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.

Remember, until Aaron Rodgers put the Packers on his back against the Steelers in the Super Bowl four months ago, most media stories were about his inability to "win it all." Never mind that he not only exceeded everyone's expectations when he took over for Brett Favre in 2008, but was a top-10 quarterback in FootballOutsiders.com's total value metric in each of his three seasons as a starter (and in '10, he ranked fourth behind Tom Brady, Manning and Philip Rivers). Yet, it took a championship to legitimize him in the eyes of the media.

Is it fair? Of course not. But it's not unexpected, either. It's part of the implicit pact you make: earn millions as an NFL quarterback with the understanding that you'll endure all that comes with it -- both on and off the field. For Rodgers, that meant stepping out of Favre's shadow and doing the impossible: replacing a legend and playing so well that fans forgot about No. 4.

Luckily, there isn't much of a quarterback track record in Baltimore. Former head coach Brian Billick made sure of that. But it doesn't mean expectations aren't high. Linebacker and de facto team leader Ray Lewis has been outspoken more than once in his 15-year career about the offense carrying its weight. And fans are even less forgiving, especially when two of the Ravens' playoff losses during Flacco's tenure have come at the hands of the hated division rival Steelers.

As is always the case, it's not enough to just implore the quarterback to play better and the offense will magically refashion itself into the 2007 Patriots. Flacco shares some of the blame, for sure, but the Ravens' offensive line struggled at times last season. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Flacco was blitzed on 50 percent of dropbacks (second in the NFL behind only Bruce Gradkowski of the Raiders), pressured on a third of those blitzes, sacked 24 percent of the time, and completed just 47 percent of his passes.

Not Pro Bowl numbers, but about average, which is what one-time Ravens QB of the future Kyle Boller aspired to. (Again citing FootballOutsiders.com, Flacco ranked 11th in total value among all NFL quarterbacks in 2010.)

Either way, defenses went after Flacco because they identified a weakness in the blocking scheme, felt that Flacco didn't respond well to pressure, or some combination of the two. The remedy requires more than Flacco improving his study habits, as Dukes suggest. The pass-blocking has to improve, the receivers have to run better routes, and ultimately, Flacco has to limit his mistakes. But one without the others is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. 

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:45 pm
 

Derrick Mason does not agree with Ray Lewis

Posted by Andy Benoit

Ray Lewis made waves with his theory that the lockout will lead to an increase in crime. Most people disagreed with the future Hall of Fame linebacker’s assessment. Count Lewis’ teammate, outspoken veteran Derrick Mason, among them:

"I respect anybody's opinion,'' Mason told Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. "Ray's a passionate guy, and of anybody I respect him as a football player and a person. But I'm not naive or arrogant enough to think what I do is going to affect John Doe or Mary Sue when they are at home or out there walking the street. I'm not going to be that arrogant.

"My life and what I do doesn't necessarily affect someone else on an everyday basis. They might get disappointed because we're not playing on Sunday, but for them to go out and change their whole lifestyle based on what I do. That's pure arrogance, I think. I'm not going to think that. But you respect everybody's opinion. If he felt that way, he felt that way for a reason."

Most people feel Mason’s way.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com