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After beating Brady, ex-Raven Stewart eyes Newton


After beating Brady, ex-Raven Stewart eyes Newton

When safety Darian Stewart played for the Ravens in 2014, he couldn’t get past the Patriots in the playoffs. Now Stewart is preparing for Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos. And beating the Patriots in last week’s AFC Championship game makes getting to the Super Bowl even more special for Stewart.

“(The Patriots) just win all the damn time,” Stewart told USA Today following the AFC Championship. “They’ve got a hell of a quarterback in Tom Brady, that’s why they do it.

“It was nice to see (their sadness). I’m just happy we got the win, to hell with them.”

Now Stewart faces the challenge of getting healthy enough to play in Super Bowl 50. He suffered an ACL sprain during the AFC title game, and missed practice last week.

However, Stewart has no intention of missing the Super Bowl.

“Without a doubt in my mind, I’m playing,” Stewart told the Associated Press.

The Broncos hope Stewart will play, because they need as much help as possible to contain the Panthers offense led by quarterback Cam Newton. Stewart has a history of playing well in the postseason. In 2014, he intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter when the Ravens knocked off the Steelers in the playoffs. Then in the AFC Championship, Stewart picked off Brady in the second quarter, part of a sparkling defensive performance by the Broncos during their 20-18 victory.

After Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak left the Ravens as offensive coordinator to become the Broncos’ head coach, Stewart and former Ravens tight end Owen Daniels both joined Kubiak during free agency last year. It has worked out well for all three. Stewart signed a two-year, $4.25 million deal with the Broncos, then in Week 1, he helped the Broncos defeat the Ravens, 19-13, picking off Joe Flacco in the end zone with just 28 seconds to play.

Winning the Super Bowl would cap a storybook season for the Broncos, in what could be the last game for quarterback Peyton Manning. Getting healthy, and getting ready to face Newton, are the two things foremost on Stewart’s mind this week.

MORE RAVENS: Has Ravens WR Smith Sr. already secured spot in Hall of Fame? 

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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?