Quick Links

Hamstring keeps Raiders' Seymour out of practice

Hamstring keeps Raiders' Seymour out of practice

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Trying to stop Baltimore running back Ray Rice was already a monumental task facing the Oakland Raiders this week. Doing it without seven-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour will make the challenge even more daunting.

Seymour missed his second straight practice Thursday due to a lingering hamstring injury and is questionable to play in Baltimore on Sunday. The 12th-year veteran was already on a light practice schedule as a result of his troublesome knees.

Neither Seymour nor Raiders coach Dennis Allen sounded too optimistic about the prospects of the 33-year-old defender playing against the Ravens.

``I don't know, I'm not sure,'' Seymour said. ``Hammies are tough. I've had them throughout my career. The only thing you can do is work hard. When it's ready I'll be back.''

Allen has had a tendency to take an overly cautious approach at times with some of his injured players but the rookie head coach made it clear that's not the case with Seymour.

``He couldn't practice today if he had to,'' Allen said flatly. ``We'll see where he is tomorrow.''

If Seymour can't play, the Raiders would be forced to use a patchwork lineup that also has some health issues. Backup defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was pulled out of last week's loss to Tampa Bay with an irregular heartbeat, while defensive ends Matt Shaughnessy and Dave Tollefson are nursing sore shoulders.

The Raiders need all the healthy bodies they can find if they are to have any hope of slowing down Rice, a two-time Pro Bowl running back who is fifth in the AFC in rushing with 622 yards and six touchdowns.

It doesn't help that Oakland is coming off its worst showing of the season after allowing Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin to rush for four touchdowns and a franchise record 251 yards.

Before that game the Raiders had done fairly well against the run. But the loss to the Bucs exposed several problems, most of them tackling.

Allen made that an emphasis in practice this week and put the players through a padded practice Wednesday in hopes of improving their tackling techniques after Martin gained 197 of his yards before getting hit.

``It's just focusing in,'' Seymour said.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said the majority of the Raiders breakdowns have come in basic technique and fundamentals. He noted that players were in position to stop Martin numerous times but failed to bring the rookie running back down.

``We have to tackle better,'' Tarver said. ``We had two games where we didn't. We have to know where our help is and tackle better.''

There will be even more pressure on the Raiders defense this week.

Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both in walking boots, leaving seldom-used Taiwan Jones and fullback Marcel Reece to split the reps in practice with the first team offense.

Oakland is also trying to sort out who its right tackle will be. Khalif Barnes, who began the season as the starter, returned to practice this week after missing six games with a groin injury. He's been splitting time in practice with backup Willie Smith and rookie Tony Bergstrom.

``Obviously, I've got some kinks to get out,'' Barnes said. ``I've just been out there on the field trying to test the water. I don't know anything about playing.''


Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

USA Today Sports Images

Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver 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 Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on 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 wide receiver 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.

Quick Links

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

USA TODAY Sports Images

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?