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Byron Leftwich almost became a Raven


Byron Leftwich almost became a Raven

Sometimes, the consolation prize is better.

The Ravens failed to get Byron Leftwich in the 2003 draft, who they tried to get by trading up to pick sixth.

Instead, the Ravens stayed at No. 10 and came away with linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Brian Billick was the coach of Baltimore and Ozzie Newsome still remains as general manager.

"I wanted Leftwich," admitted then-Ravens owner Art Modell.

Leftwich, who will start at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers for Sunday night’s game with the Ravens, remembers the situation well. It was a confusing time in which phone lines didn't work properly and the Ravens' deal with Minnesota never was finalized.

The Jacksonville Jaguars picked seventh. Then-Jags coach Jack Del Rio wanted to take Suggs from Arizona State but was overruled.

"At that time, that’s where I thought I was at. I remember having talks with Ozzie and it was pretty much set in stone," Leftwich said Wednesday. "I guess the debacle happened during the draft and everything."

Leftwich played in Jacksonville through 2006, having mixed success. He's had stints with the Tampa Bay Bucs and Atlanta Falcons. This is his second go-round with the Steelers after playing there for the 2008 season.

Failing to get Leftwich, the Ravens traded up to the 19th slot and settled on Kyle Boller as their quarterback instead. Boller lasted until 2007, never threw for more than 13 touchdowns or 2,600 yards in a season.

Leftwich's best season came in 2005, when he threw for  a career-high 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions in Jacksonville.  He has never completed more than 60.5% of his passes.

"I thought I would be a Raven," Leftwich said.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 


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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."