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Jackson still first to return kicks but job still open

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Jackson still first to return kicks but job still open

OWINGS MILLS – Asa Jackson will begin Saturday night’s game against the Redskins as the No. 1 kickoff and punt returner, according to Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg. However, Rosburg admitted he was still searching for someone to win the job.

“It’s a work in progress,” Rosburg said following Tuesday’s practice. “We’re working a lot of different guys in practice. We have to come to some decisions soon, because it’s going to happen quickly.”

Jackson, Michael Campanaro, Tom Nelson, and DeAndre Carter are all candidates for the return job, not to mention veterans Steve Smith and Lardarius Webb, who may return punts in special situations. However Campanaro missed his second straight practice Tuesday with a soft tissue issue, leaving his status uncertain for Saturday.

However, Rosburg is not getting much help from the opposition in his quest to find a kickoff returner. The Ravens had six touchbacks against the Saints in the preseason opener, and five touchbacks against the Eagles on Saturday. Jackson has two kickoff returns in the preseason, while Nelson and Carter have one each. But Rosburg was disappointed the Saints and Eagles often kicked the ball deep in the end zone.

“It makes no sense to me,” Rosburg said following Tuesday’s practice. “These young men, they come to your camp and try to make a team, and you kick it out of the end zone and they don’t show what they can do. It’s not fair to the players, in my view. That’s why we kick it to the goal line. Let the guys who came here try to make a National Football League team.”

The Ravens’ returners hope they get a chance to impress Rosburg on Saturday.

RELATED: Is Michael Vick about to join the Steelers?

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Spitting Mad: Marshall Yanda wants you to know he didn't spit on Vontaze Burfict

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USA TODAY Sports

Spitting Mad: Marshall Yanda wants you to know he didn't spit on Vontaze Burfict

Guard Marshal Yanda took to the podium during the Ravens' media availability Wednesday to defend himself. Something he hasn't had to do in his 12 years in the NFL.

After Sunday's 24-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, a video on Twitter began making its rounds spurring debate on whether Yanda spit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

The six-time Pro Bowler strongly denies the accusations. 

"Obviously, I was accused of spitting on a player. You know, I take a lot of pride in my character and how I was raised and the things that I do day in and day out," Yanda said.

"I would never, ever spit on another man, another person, individual ever. On the field, off the field, never. I mean, that's not that way I was raised. That's not the way I raise my kids."

In the fourth quarter, Burfict tackled running back Alex Collins and a small scuffled ensued. In the video, you see Yanda standing over Burfict with spit hanging from him. Yanda pushes the spit away and players from both sides continue on with the next play. 

"The video shows, I mean some people are taking it crazy, but all I was doing was wiping the spit off my helmet, away from the ground. And I swiped at it to make sure it didn't land on anybody."

Yanda's head coach John Harbaugh and even current and former teammates came to his defense.

"This guy has been playing for how many years? [Twelve] years," Harbaugh said Monday. "He played at the University of Iowa. Have you ever – for whoever wrote the article that makes the insinuation – have you ever heard of Marshal Yanda’s character being attacked or him doing something along those lines ever in his whole career?"

From watching the video, it's obvious Yanda did not spit on anyone. In a game that's filled with large men with adrenaline pumping through their veins, you would think a fight of some sort would have erupted if he did in fact spit on Burfict. 

The linebacker, who has a history of starting fights, hasn't even commented on the incident. 

The accusation alone  is extremely hurtful to the Yanda. 

"I don’t know if you guys know, but during the course of a game, I’m like a heavy spitter," Yanda said. "The adrenaline is fired up and I’m spitting all the time – sidelines, on the field, obviously not on anyone, ever – but it’s unfortunate that got twisted and my integrity and then my character is being called into question because that really does matter to me.”

There's been no word on if the league will fine Yanda. The guard said he would deal with that if he has to.

"This is my twelfth year in the league," Yanda added. "If I was a man of that character, that would have come out by now, right? Like if I was that type of guy. It was frustrating to have to deal with that. I mean that made national media attention. I'm up here talking about it right now, which I shouldn't have to be but that's just the world that we live in. It is what it is, but yeah, it's frustrating.”

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Lamar Jackson received congratulatory postgame texts from Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham

Lamar Jackson received congratulatory postgame texts from Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham

Lamar Jackson's first NFL start against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday will go down as one of the most memorable days of his career.

Going 13-of-19 for 150 yards in the air while rushing for 117 yards on 27 attempts is a pretty solid day for a rookie quarterback

With several days to reflect, one of Jackson's favorite parts of the 24-21 win was the congratulatory texts he received from two former quarterbacks.

"I got a text from Doug Williams and Randall Cunningham congratulating me," Jackson said Wednesday. "So, that was pretty cool."

Williams, who became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in 1987, and Randall Cunningham, who had a long career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, and Ravens, are seen as trailblazers by Jackson.

The rookie QB noted that he has been in contact with the two prior to earning the starting job in Week 11.

"Those are the guys that paved the way for us," Jackson added.

"Without those guys, you know, we probably wouldn't be in the situation we are [in]. So, hats of to those guys. Them congratulating me, from the GOATS, I'm like, 'yeah, that's cool.'

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