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Ravens' reputation for gab not yet displayed at SB


Ravens' reputation for gab not yet displayed at SB

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Baltimore Ravens' reputation for trash-talking arrived at the Super Bowl before they did.

While the Ravens were en route from Baltimore to the Big Easy, the San Francisco 49ers were already preparing for war of words with the chattiest team in the NFL.

``Most teams don't really talk that much, but I've heard stories about them talking a lot,'' San Francisco guard Alex Boone said. ``Guys have told me not to get into it with them. We're not here to get into a yelling match.''

That might change a bit Sunday when both teams play for the NFL championship at the Superdome.

The Ravens developed their swagger years ago under coach Brian Billick, who rarely backed away from a microphone and made no effort to put a muzzle on his players, most notably Shannon Sharpe and Tony Siragusa - both of whom are now being paid to blab as television commentators.

Baltimore's current coach, John Harbaugh, doesn't encourage such brashness. But he won't stop it, either. After the Ravens beat New England to win the AFC championship, Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard insisted that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should be fined for a leg-up slide even though Brady apologized afterward.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs topped that in an interview with Yahoo Sports, calling the Patriots ``arrogant'' and telling them ``to have fun at the Pro Bowl.''

Now that he's on football's biggest stage, Suggs has taken it down a few decibels, judging by his tone at Monday's media interviews. Here's a bulletin: He said nothing the 49ers might consider clipping from a newspaper and pinning to the bulletin board for motivation.

``I'm going to talk to you guys with the obligated time that I'm supposed to talk to you guys ... and I'm going to stick to that,'' Suggs said.

Asked if he might say something juicy later in the week, Suggs replied, ``Nothing I do is scripted. You've got to wait and see what I come up with.''

It might be worth the wait, although Harbaugh seems to think Suggs and the rest of the team will resist the temptation.

``Our guys are class guys. We'll play with character, we'll play with class,'' Harbaugh said. ``We'll be a tough, hard-nosed football team. That's the way we'll play. Before the game, after the game.''

That's not what the 49ers have heard.

``Talk is cheap. I'll leave it at that,'' linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. ``We've all got to play with those pads on. That's what does the talking for us.''

Linebacker Ray Lewis does much of the talking for the Baltimore defense. After leading the unit in an emotional chant following each pregame workout, Lewis yells the signals on the field and usually has something bold to say to an opponent he's dropped to the turf.

``Ray and Suggs, they like to talk a lot but they're great players, so it's kind of warranted,'' 49ers fullback Bruce Miller said.

``I think that's just the way they motivate their team,'' San Francisco cornerback Tarrell Brown added. ``Everybody feeds off that. Whatever works for them, that's good.''

When Lewis told his teammates earlier this month that he was going to retire after the current postseason run, Suggs thought the team's vocal leader was merely gearing up for another speech.

``He always talks to the team before the game, the middle of the season and going into the playoffs,'' Suggs said. ``I thought it was another day at the office, but he said some key words. It struck me. He said maybe it was time to start doing something else and it just kind of puzzled me and then it hit me. It really focused our team, not only to get it done for him, but just how precious this time and these moments are. You don't get these opportunities every day.''

Lewis may the most prolific talker on the team, but he's not the only one who enjoys yapping. As soon as they got off the plane from Baltimore, Suggs, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, Ray Rice and Joe Flacco were made available to the media.

While Lewis discussed, among other things, his pending retirement, his family and his love for God, Reed talked about everything from his training habits to his experience as a punt, pass and kick participant in New Orleans more than two decades ago.

None of it was going to get the 49ers riled up before Sunday's game, which is just the way Harbaugh likes it.

``I think we're very respectful of our opponents,'' the coach said. ``We always have been, and our opponents have respected us over the years. The team we're playing is built the same way. We've got a lot of respect for the 49ers. We've got a lot of respect for their coach, the coaching staff, their players, and I expect it to be played in that way.''

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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?