Ravens safety Matt Elam has been suspended for one game by the NFL for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy, the latest misstep for a former first-round draft pick whose career has been a major disappointment.
Elam officially is suspended for Sunday's game against the Chargers, though he is on injured reserve with a torn biceps and was not going to play anyway. But the suspension means he will lose 1/17th of his salary, or about $60,000. Elam is making roughly $1.02 million this year, the third year of his four-year rookie deal.
"We have been aware of this situation for awhile," the Ravens said in a statement. "Matt has been in our building rehabbing his injury on a regular basis, and he will continue to do so."
Elam was injured early in training camp and placed on season-ending injured reserve on Aug. 31. It marked another lost season for the Ravens first-round draft pick in 2013. Elam started 26 games in his first two seasons, but his play was inconsistent. He struggled in coverage and with tackling, and Elam ultimately lost his starting job to Will Hill last season. Elam led the Ravens with 16 missed tackles despite playing only 60 percent of the team's snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
During the offseason, general manager Ozzie Newsome publicly called out Elam, declaring at the "State of the Ravens" news conference that ""Matt Elam has to be a better football player for us next year. He has to be."
By all accounts, Elam had come back motivated this summer before the biceps injury derailed his season. This latest slipup won't have any effect on the field, since Elam was out for Sunday's game anyway, but it can't help his status with the organization.
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Football is back in session for the Ravens.
Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.
The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.
This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief.
Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011.
Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason.
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There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.
OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.
The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.
The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively.
During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.
Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.
They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.
Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.
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