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Byron Leftwich almost became a Raven


Byron Leftwich almost became a Raven

Sometimes, the consolation prize is better.

The Ravens failed to get Byron Leftwich in the 2003 draft, who they tried to get by trading up to pick sixth.

Instead, the Ravens stayed at No. 10 and came away with linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Brian Billick was the coach of Baltimore and Ozzie Newsome still remains as general manager.

"I wanted Leftwich," admitted then-Ravens owner Art Modell.

Leftwich, who will start at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers for Sunday night’s game with the Ravens, remembers the situation well. It was a confusing time in which phone lines didn't work properly and the Ravens' deal with Minnesota never was finalized.

The Jacksonville Jaguars picked seventh. Then-Jags coach Jack Del Rio wanted to take Suggs from Arizona State but was overruled.

"At that time, that’s where I thought I was at. I remember having talks with Ozzie and it was pretty much set in stone," Leftwich said Wednesday. "I guess the debacle happened during the draft and everything."

Leftwich played in Jacksonville through 2006, having mixed success. He's had stints with the Tampa Bay Bucs and Atlanta Falcons. This is his second go-round with the Steelers after playing there for the 2008 season.

Failing to get Leftwich, the Ravens traded up to the 19th slot and settled on Kyle Boller as their quarterback instead. Boller lasted until 2007, never threw for more than 13 touchdowns or 2,600 yards in a season.

Leftwich's best season came in 2005, when he threw for  a career-high 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions in Jacksonville.  He has never completed more than 60.5% of his passes.

"I thought I would be a Raven," Leftwich said.

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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?