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Broncos get their leading tackler back

Broncos get their leading tackler back

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Wesley Woodyard, Denver's leading tackler, is vowing to be back on the field Sunday for the Broncos' showdown at Baltimore.

``I'm playing,'' said Woodyard, who missed the Broncos' game Thursday night at Oakland because of a sprained left ankle. He was replaced by veteran D.J. Williams and rookie Danny Trevathan.

Had the game been on Sunday, Woodyard said he definitely would have played. Instead, he got a week to recuperate from the injury he sustained Dec. 2 against Tampa Bay.

Woodyard, who has collected 97 tackles in his first year as the starter at weakside linebacker, said he agreed with the coaches and medical staff who held him out last week as the Broncos (10-3) won their eighth straight game.

``I definitely would have given it a go on Sunday. But quick turnaround, it was just the smart thing to do to stay off it and get some rest,'' Woodyard said. ``Definitely a great decision. I got healthy; my teammates got a chance to go out there and play and compete, and that's the thing - next man up, they stepped up and brought that victory home for us.''

Woodyard said he was impressed with Trevathan, a sixth-round pick from his alma mater, Kentucky, who led the SEC in tackles each of the last two seasons.

``Man, he did some really nice things out there. He came up and was beastin'. I sent him about six text messages to him during the game; obviously, he couldn't check them, but after the game, he let me know that he received them,'' Woodyard said. ``It was good just seeing him go out there, fly around and make plays. That's what he did in college.''

Trevathan played 34 snaps against Oakland, plus 14 more on special teams, and Williams played 29 snaps. Williams had five tackles and Trevathan four.

Even with Woodyard back - he returned to practice Monday - both Williams and Trevathan figure to continue getting playing time at Baltimore.

The Broncos are preparing for a Ravens team that fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Monday despite a 9-4 record and replaced him with Jim Caldwell, who was the Indianapolis Colts head coach from 2009-11 and Peyton Manning's position coach from 2002-08.

Woodyard said he's sure Manning will have some pointers for Denver's defense this week.

``Absolutely. He'll give us some insight about what goes on. He's got a big job already to get the offense taken care of,'' Woodyard said. ``But he's definitely the guy that always spreads wisdom on everything that he sees and knows.''

Broncos defensive tackle Justin Bannan, who played for the Ravens from 2006-09, was taken aback by Cameron's firing.

``Yeah, that is surprising, this time of year with that kind of timing,'' Bannan said. ``But I'm sure they had their reasons and at the end of the day, it's got nothing to do with us. We've got to focus on work and getting ready to play these guys.''

Bannan said it would be a mistake to put too much stock into the switch of play-callers.

``Yeah, even if (Caldwell's) there, they could change a few things,'' Bannan said. ``You just don't know, each week you're going to get different wrinkles from each team and you're going to see things that you don't prepare for and you've just got to try to adapt to it.''


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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?