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Harbaugh "optimistic" S. Smith will be back soon


Harbaugh "optimistic" S. Smith will be back soon

John Harbaugh said on Friday that he is “very optimistic” that Steve Smith’s back injury will not sideline the Ravens leading receiver for an extended period of time.

Smith is dealing with microfractures in his back that will sideline him for this week’s game against the Browns, which will be the first game Smith has missed with the Ravens and the second game he’ll miss in the past five years.

Harbaugh said after the team’s Friday practice that he was “very optimistic” that Smith’s absence would not be an extended one.

“He’s working hard, he’s in there on the different equipment working really hard to get himself ready and making I’d say good progress,” Harbaugh said. 

RELATED Predicting Ravens-Browns: Can Ravens overcome injuries?

Earlier this week, Harbaugh described Smith as being in the "hall of fame of pain tolerance."

Smith, 36, has been by far the Ravens top receiver this year with 29 catches for 373 yards. The Ravens next two receivers, Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown, have a combined total of 19 catches for 240 yards.

In addition to Smith, the Ravens have lost Michael Campanaro (back) to injured reserve, and top rookie draft pick Breshad Perriman (knee) remains out indefinitely. That leaves Aiken, Brown, rookie Darren Waller and Chris Givens – who just joined the Ravens a week ago – as the Ravens only healthy receivers on the 53-man roster.

The Ravens have receivers Jeremy Ross and Jeremy Butler on the practice squad, but Harbaugh did not indicate whether any roster moves for Sunday would be coming before the 4 p.m. Saturday deadline to do so.



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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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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.

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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?