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AFC North notes: Hurry-up problems for Browns


AFC North notes: Hurry-up problems for Browns

The Cleveland Browns always have had trouble stopping the Ravens with quarterback Joe Flacco.

Winless after three games this season, the Browns are winless against Baltimore in eight tries since Flacco's arrival in 2008.

Now they've got to contend with the no-huddle offense.

"The (no-huddle) is always a little strain on the defense, but if you line up and you're prepared, they'll stop going to it," said safety T.J. Ward told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "The no-huddle is no-huddle. We'll deal with it."

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson noted that Ravens receiver Torrey Smith's tendency to make big plays is the key.

"Their vertical passing game has come alive the past couple of weeks. A lot of Smith's success has come from 20-plus (-yard) catches. Last week, he has a couple over 30. We're going to have to eliminate that," Patterson said.

Steelers: Fortunately for them, the issue with linebacker James Harrison's surgically repaired left knee flared up during a bye week. Still, it looks like he won't be in uniform for the Oct. 7 game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. "It's a little bit of a setback," said agent Bill Parise told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Hopefully, it's not something that will derail our plans."

Harrison, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, missed most of spring practice and had cartilage removed Aug. 15 to help control the swelling.

He is being replaced at outside linebacker by second-year player Chris Carter and Jason Worilds, in his third year.

Hard-hitting safety Troy Polamalu has practiced this week and appears close to returning from a calf injury that has kept him out of the last two games, the Post-Gazette said.

Bengals: A secondary that has had trouble all season is looking even worse with starting cornerbacks Leon Hall and Nate Clements sitting out practice Wednesday.

Hall missed last week's game vs. the Washington Redskins with a hamstring injury. Clements has a calf injury and has been wearing a walking boot earlier this week.

Adam Jones and Terence Newman likely will start in their place Sunday vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars if they can't play.

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?