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Gillmore embracing role as starting tight end


Gillmore embracing role as starting tight end

Crockett Gillmore has answered the challenge this preseason. He has earned the right to be the Ravens’ starting tight end Week 1 in Denver. More importantly, Gillmore looks capable of being a pass-catching target for Joe Flacco, a quarterback who loves throwing to tight ends.

Gillmore made an eye-opening play Saturday night during a 31-13 loss to the Redskins. Running a seam route, he caught a pass at about the 15-yard line, but Gillmore wasn’t done. He broke one tackle after making the catch, barreled toward the goal line, and dove into the end zone from around the two-yard line, even though Redskins’ linebacker Keenan Robinson was draped around Gillmore’s legs.

The play showed Gillmore’s strength and athleticism, even though the 33-yard touchdown play was nullified due to a penalty on Marlon Brown. Gillmore is a load to bring down as at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, and he has improved as a route runner.

“He’s a guy that I have had a lot of faith in all the way through, as a blocker and a pass receiver,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “People want to label him a blocker; he’s a very good blocker, but he has a chance as a pass receiver too. And, it was nice to see that play.”

It’s not like other tight ends won’t play. The Ravens drafted two tight ends, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle, knowing that the future of Dennis Pitta (PUP list) was in doubt due to his severe hip injury. Williams has also caught the ball well during preseason, but he didn’t play Saturday night (undisclosed injury). Gillmore is a much better blocker Williams, and Boyle is more blocker than pass-catcher at this stage.

That leaves Gillmore as clearly the No. 1 tight end right now, and that’s fine with Flacco. He was also impressed with the touchdown play that was called back.

“That just gives you a little bit of an insight as to what he’s capable of doing,” Flacco said.

Gillmore is quietly confident, and had a funny line about the trash talking during Saturday night’s game.

“He may have been talking, but I don’t pay any attention to that,” Gillmore said about one Redskins’ player. “It’s like a mosquito, they just keep flying around, and you just keep smacking them.’

Asked if he was ready to be the starting tight end Week 1, Gillmore said, “I felt ready from the beginning, from the moment I started training.”

Gillmore looks ready. And that’s a good sign for the Ravens.

MORE RAVENS: Ravens stock watch: Who's up, who's down after Redskins game?

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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?