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Loyal to friends, Harbaugh won't pick Super Bowl


Loyal to friends, Harbaugh won't pick Super Bowl

Ravens coach John Harbaugh wasn’t willing to pick a winner for Super Bowl 50 when reached by telephone Thursday. Too many coaching friends and former players on both teams. Too much respect for both teams.

However, Harbaugh had this to say when asked about Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

“Everybody’s unique in their own way,” Harbaugh said. “Tom Brady’s incredibly unique in his own way. Peyton (Manning) has been unique in his own way. All the great ones are unique in their own way.

“The thing that makes Cam unique is the fact that he is such an incredible size, speed athlete. He has that ability at a world-class level, and he can really throw the football. All the great quarterbacks can really throw the football. All of those guys are highly-accurate, and they have arm strength. That’s something that the great ones, in my mind, have in common. The difference is the other intangibles they bring to the table. And his athleticism, obviously, is what makes him unique without question. I don’t know if there’s been another one that throws like he does, and has his size-speed characteristics.”

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Harbaugh said he had spoken to Panthers coach Ron Rivera several times during the playoffs, and had shared texts with Broncos coach Gary Kubiak. Neither has been to a Super Bowl before as a head coach, although Kubiak has been to six previous Super Bowls as an assistant coach or player.

Harbaugh has fond memories of his only Super Bowl trip as a head coach. The Ravens defeated the 49ers, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII, racing to a 28-6 lead in the third quarter, before a power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome halted play and helped change the game’s momentum.

The Ravens were obviously not hampered by the distractions of Super Bowl week. So what was Harbaugh’s approach?

“When we left for the second week, the game plan was pretty much done, prepared, and practiced,” Harbaugh said. “With the distractions that you might have, we didn’t want to be trying to do all that stuff the second week. We had a good opportunity that first week to get a lot of work behind us. We game-planned the first week as if the game was one week away, not two weeks.”

Asked what kind of game he expected Sunday, Harbaugh said a high-scoring affair favored the Panthers.

“If it’s a defensive game, it will go right to the end,” Harbaugh said. “It it’s a high-scoring game, you have to assume it’s going to be Carolina. But then again, you never know, because turnovers are the chemical mix that blows everything up.”

So deep down, who does Harbaugh like? Too hard for Harbaugh. Kubiak was the Ravens' offensive coordinator in 2014, and several ex-Ravens could be key figures Sunday - Panthers left tackle Michael Oher and kicker Graham Gano; and Broncos tight end Owen Daniels and safety Darian Stewart.

“That’s going to be impossible for me to pick one over the other,” Harbaugh said laughing. “Nice try, though.”

MORE RAVENS: Following Kubiak has been good for ex-Raven Daniels

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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?