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Modell stood by Lewis at darkest hour

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Modell stood by Lewis at darkest hour

These days, we're inclined to be cynical especially about matters related to pro sports but Ray Lewis' emotional address to the media about Art Modell Thursday looked and sounded unmistakably heartfelt.

As Mike Preston wrote for The Baltimore Sun, Modell had a history of sticking by his players, a loyalty that perhaps didn't always serve him well in a business or football sense. That loyalty was never more evident than how he stood by Lewis in 2000.

How many NFL owners would have appeared in court in a bond hearing for a player implicated in a double murder? Modell did. You have to figure that many owners would have totally distanced the club from such a player.

But that wasn't Modell. He believed in Lewis. And when his All-Pro linebacker was ready to return to the Ravens after ending up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor of obstruction of justice, Lewis was welcomed back and embraced by the team. That attitude had to come from the top.

Suppose Modell had been standoffish or just decided to cut Lewis loose? How different would Lewis' life be right now? Maybe he'd still be appearing in a commercial for a video game with a well-known actor. Maybe he'd still be popping up on the Internet giving rousing pep talks to various teams.

Or maybe not. Maybe his career would have ended then and there.

But that wasn't Modell's way. He stuck by Lewis. And Lewis delivered a Super Bowl for his
"father."

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Baltimore Ravens select QB Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Baltimore Ravens select QB Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Ozzie Newsome is closing out his last NFL Draft as the general manager of the Ravens with a bang.

After trading down twice from the 16th spot to draft TE Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick, the Eagles traded their 32nd overall pick to the Ravens where they selected QB Lamar Jackson. In return, the Eagles will receive the Ravens' 2018 2nd-round and 4th-round picks in addition to their 2019 2nd-round pick. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner has proven success in the air and on the ground. While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns.  

The first-round selection shows the Ravens are planning for the post-Flacco era.

Standing at 6' 2",  Jackson's build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts were concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed. His NFL comparison is to that of Michael Vick. 

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Baltimore Ravens select Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

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USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens select Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

The pick is in! 

With the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Ravens have selected tight end Hayden Hurst.

Hurst, an ex-minor league baseball pitcher, walked on at South Carolina at 21-years old and finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns. 

Standing at 6' 5", Hurst ran a 4.67 40 yard dash, recorded a 31.5 vertical jump and a 7.19 three cone drill at the combine. 

"His fearless play demeanor combined with size, strength and athleticism make him a well-rounded prospect with the versatility to line up all over the field. He's sure-handed and could become a young quarterback's safety blanket if he improves elements of his route running. He should see early snaps and has the ability to become a good combination tight end." according to his draft profile

While Hurst is starting his career at 25-years old, he will provide tight end support that the Ravens have yet to address in free agency. It also doesn't hurt that QB Joe Flacco has a tendency to favor his tight ends.

Welcome to Ravens Nation, Hurst.