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Ravens: Lewis report won't be a distraction


Ravens: Lewis report won't be a distraction

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Baltimore Ravens don't intend to let the controversy surrounding linebacker Ray Lewis become a distraction in their preparation for the Super Bowl.

An article in Sports Illustrated said Lewis sought help from a company that says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a banned product connected to human growth hormone.

``We can't let that distract us from our one true mission, winning the Super Bowl,'' Baltimore running back Ray Rice said Wednesday, shortly before the Ravens hit the practice field to prepare for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Minutes earlier, Lewis said he ``never, ever'' used performance-enhancing drugs in his effort to return from a torn right triceps. He also distanced himself from Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (SWATS).

The Ravens are standing behind the 37-year-old Lewis, who sat out 12 weeks before returning to fuel the Ravens' playoff run. He will end his 17-year career after the Super Bowl.

``Ray is an awesome guy and we're here to play football. We don't even want to give that (report) any merit,'' Baltimore guard Bobbie Williams said. ``It's kind of sad that they would try to discredit a guy who's done so much and been such a big influence not only to this team but the National Football League. Here we are just a couple of days away from the Super Bowl and they try to do this right here. We just really want to just stay away from that.''

Coach John Harbaugh also backed Lewis, saying, ``He told me there's nothing to it. He's told us in the past, he's told us now, that he's never taken any of that stuff, ever. And I believe Ray.''

So do Lewis' teammates.

``No one has not passed a test and no one has tested positive for anything, so it's all speculation,'' linebacker and special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo said. ``There's information and disinformation. If you have a little intelligence you can dissect it and keep it moving.''

The 49ers also find the story hard to believe.

``I don't think Ray would take any substance,'' San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis said.

Lewis and the Ravens have been taught not to take any medication or drug without first getting the OK from the league or the team's training staff.

``I will run everything by my trainers to make sure it's legal by the NFL,'' cornerback Corey Graham said. ``As an NFL player and a professional athlete, you do try a lot of stuff. I'm not going to sit here and say you don't. But you do have to run it by your trainers and people who know what's legal and not legal before you try it.''

Linebacker Paul Kruger said he learned of the league's policy on drugs during his first season in the NFL.

``If there is something you're interested in taking, you have to make sure it's cleared and OK,'' he said. ``From what I recall from the rookie symposium, the best way is to take it to the trainer and see what they think.''

Williams said if he is interested in taking something, he'll check with the NFLPA.

``They run it for banned substances and have people there for us to check everything,'' Williams said. ``They'll send me back an email telling me everything is cleared. That said, you're still responsible for everything you put in your body.''

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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?