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Ray Lewis claims Ravens didn't sign Colin Kaepernick after girlfriend's tweet

Ray Lewis claims Ravens didn't sign Colin Kaepernick after girlfriend's tweet

During the Ravens' first day of training camp, head coach John Harbaugh brought up the polarizing name Colin Kaepernick.

Why? It was learned earlier in the week that starting quarterback Joe Flacco had a disk injury and was slated to miss some of training camp, meaning the team may have needed a backup.

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With the mention of Kaepernick's name brought both positive and negative feedback from Ravens fans.

The organization even reached out to current and former players to get their input, one of them being former linebacker Ray Lewis.

After weighing their options, it sounds like the Ravens were heading in the direction of signing Kaepernick, but after a tweet sent by Kaepernick's girlfriend, the team backed out.

During Tuesday's episode of Showtime's Inside the NFL, Lewis shed some light on why the team never followed through.

We were talking about giving this kid an opportunity to get back in the National Football League. Look, this is what I wanted to share with people. I have been fighting for this kid behind the table like nobody has ... I've never been against Colin Kaepernick. But I am against the way he's done it. 

Then, [Kaepernick's girlfriend] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn't know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed. Steve Bisciotti has said it himself, 'How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?'

Back in August, Kaepernick's girlfriend, radio host Nessa Diab, tweeted out a photo of Lewis hugging Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti after their Super Bowl XLVII win.

She posted it along with a picture from the movie Django Unchained showing Samuel L. Jackson's character (a slave) hugging Leonard DiCaprio's character (his master) as he dies from a gunshot wound. 

This comparison seems to be the "racist gesture" Lewis blames for derailing Kaepernick's chance with Baltimore. 

When [the Ravens] called me, it was to say, 'Yes or no?' ... We were going to close the deal to sign him ... Steve Bisciotti said, 'I want to hear Colin Kaepernick speak to let me know that he wants to play football.' ... And it never happens because that picture comes up the next day. 

Inside the NFL host Judy Battista followed up by asking whether Kaepernick would have been a Raven if not for the tweet. Lewis implied he would have. 

Then [Bisciotti] is flying him to Baltimore. I am sitting with all three of them and we are all having a conversation about bringing Colin Kaepernick in. 

At least according to Lewis, Diab's tweet was enough to make the Ravens pass on the free agent. 

Kaepernick is still unemployed with the regular season kicking off Thursday night in Boston.

Only time will tell if another NFL team finds a need for him in the next 16 weeks.

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Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

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USA Today Sports

Important 2018 offseason dates for Baltimore Ravens

Mark your calendars now because the Ravens are already gearing up for their 2018 season.

From the Pro-Bowl all the way to the start of the regular season, here are the key dates.

January 28th: Pro Bowl, Orlando, Fla. 

Safety Eric Weddle, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley will all be in attendance. In addition, Suggs and Weddle were named starters. The game will take place at Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN.

February 3rd: Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 Class announced

This will be a very important day for Ray Lewis and the Ravens organization as Lewis waits to here if he will be sealed into football history, one day prior to Super Bowl LII. 

February 5th: Waiver system takes effect

The waiver system allows players' contracts or a club's NFL rights to a player available to other clubs in the league. Upon doing this, the other 31 teams can place a claim to obtain him or waive their chance. During this 24- hour period, once a club waives a player it can not take the player back or change his status. Assignments are based upon draft order until the third week of the regular season. If a player does not get claimed, he becomes a free agent. 

February 20th:  First day to franchise or transition tag a player

February 27th- March 5th: NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, IN

This seven day period will be crucial for General Manager Ozzie Newsome to get a good look at potential Ravens.

March 6th: Deadline to franchise or transition tag a player

March 12-14th: Teams are allowed to contact and negotiate with agents of players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents

March 14th: Start of new league year at 4:00 p.m. ET

At this time, all 2017 player contracts expire meaning teams can begin seeking and signing free agents. Ravens free agents include Mike Wallace, Benjamin Watson, Ryan Jensen, Terrance West, James Hurst, Michael Campanaro, Steven Johnson, Ryan Mallet, Brandon Boykin, Crockett Gillmore, Brent Urban and Luke Bowanko.

March 25-28th: Owners Meeting, Orlando, FL

April 16th: Voluntary OTA's can begin

April 20th: Deadline for restricted FA's to sign offer sheets

April 26th-28th: 2018 NFL Draft, Arlington, TX

The Ravens will be heading down to Arlington, Texas in hopes of picking up their next franchise player. Positions needed include wide receiver, tight end, quarterback and outside linebacker.

May 4-7th or 11-14th: Potential three-day rookie minicamp

May 31-June 2nd: Ravens Beach Bash, Ocean City, MD

July 16th: Deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player 

Mid-Late July: Training camp begins

August 2nd: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, OH

August 4th: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Canton, OH

Again, keep this date marked as it could be the day Ray Lewis is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

September 6th: Start of regular season 

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Don Martindale promoted to Ravens defensive coordinator

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USA Today Sports

Don Martindale promoted to Ravens defensive coordinator

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has promoted linebackers coach Don Martindale to defensive coordinator, assuring a seamless transition in the wake of Dean Pees' retirement.

Martindale has been coaching Baltimore linebackers since 2012. The 54-year-old was the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos in 2010.

After Pees ended his six-year run as the Ravens' defensive coordinator on Jan. 1, Harbaugh said he wanted to maintain continuity with his new hire.

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"I'm a believer in this system," Harbaugh said last week. "This system has been something that's been developed for a long period of time, and we have worked really hard every single year to make it better."

Martindale has been part of that process. He coached the Ravens inside linebackers from 2012-15 and spent the past two seasons as the team's linebackers coach.

In announcing the move Tuesday, Harbaugh said Martindale's "aggressive mentality will serve to take our defense to new levels."

Harbaugh said Martindale "knows the ins and outs of what we have been about on defense and has been an important contributor to our success on that side of the ball."

Also on Tuesday, Harbaugh promoted Mike Macdonald to linebackers coach and Sterling Lucas to quality control defense.

The 30-year-old Macdonald joined the Ravens in 2014 as a coaching intern on defense. He served as a defensive assistant in 2015 and 2016, and this season was the defensive backs coach. Baltimore led the NFL this season with 22 interceptions and forced a league-best 34 turnovers.

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