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Knighton fined $25,000 for hit on Luck

Knighton fined $25,000 for hit on Luck

NEW YORK (AP) Jacksonville defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali and New England LB Brandon Spikes were fined $25,000 each by the NFL on Friday for hits in recent games.

Knighton was fined for making helmet-to-helmet contact with Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was defenseless at the time. The hit came in Indianapolis' victory Nov. 8 at Jacksonville and negated an interception by Aaron Ross.

Hali was docked for striking Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich with his helmet.

Spikes got a roughing-the-passer penalty on Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick that drew the fine. He hit Fitzpatrick with his helmet. The players later jawed at each other and after the Patriots' win, Fitzpatrick called Spikes ``a punk.''

In all, 17 players drew fines Friday for their actions in Week 10 games.

Oakland linebacker Aaron Curry was given two fines: $15,750 for striking Baltimore RB Ray Rice late, and $7,875 for unnecessary roughness on a special teams play. Raiders LB Phillip Wheeler was fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness when he grabbed Rice by the facemask.

Fined $21,000 were 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford last Sunday, and Minnesota linebacker Jasper Brinkley for a helmet hit on a defenseless Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.

AFC players fined that amount were Broncos LB Von Miller for striking Carolina QB Cam Newton below the knee; and Colts defensive end Jerry Hughes for a late hit on Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert.

Docked $15,750 were Cincinnati LB Rey Maulaluga for striking defenseless Giants WR Dominek Hixon in the head and neck area; and Denver DT Kevin Vickerson for a horse-collar tackle on Newton.

Jaguars safety Dawan Landry was fined $10,000 for a fourth-quarter hit on Luck that made contact to the head and neck area after Luck declared himself down by sliding feet first. Lions receiver Ryan Broyles was fined $10,000 for an illegal crackback block on Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield.

Others docked $10,000 were Patriots LB Jerod Mayo for a late hit on Bills RB C.J. Spiller when he was out of bounds; and Dolphins guard Richie Incognito for striking Tennessee LB Colin McCarthy late. Incognito was benched for a few plays by Dolphins coach Joe Philbin after the incident.

Justin Houston of Kansas City was fined $7,875 for unsportsmanlike conduct when he began a group celebration in the end zone. Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard lost the same amount for hitting Fitzpatrick out of bounds.

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Youth movement leads Ravens’ list of MVPs of 2018 season

Youth movement leads Ravens’ list of MVPs of 2018 season

The Baltimore Ravens' 2018-19 season certainly wasn't boring.

A change at starting quarterback while displaying the NFL's No. 1 defense for just the second time in team history en route to a playoff run highlighted their campaign. 

With rookies on the rise and veterans still at the top of their game, who on the Ravens' roster had MVP performances in 2018?

Offensive MVP: QB Lamar Jackson

Coming in for an injured Joe Flacco in Week 11, Jackson pulled the Ravens out of a four-game losing streak and led the team to a 6-1 record down the stretch. His 695 rushing yards is the most by all NFL quarterbacks in 2018 and also ranks 11th most by a quarterback in NFL single-season-history. 

The Ravens' leader for the foreseeable future, Jackson landed the team in their first postseason appearance in three seasons and rekindled fandom in the city of Baltimore. 

Defensive MVP: CB Marlon Humphrey

Humphrey followed up his strong rookie season with an even stronger sophomore season. Nursing a groin injury for part of it, Humphrey led the team with 15 passes defended, 37 total tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble. 

Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 15, the cornerback produced a career-high four passes defended and one interception in the 20-12 win. Through 14 games, Humphrey proved he can matchup with some of the best receivers in the league while slowly emerging as a leader of the defense.

Special Teams MVP: Justin Tucker

He's the most reliable guy in Baltimore, finishing the 2018 season with a franchise-record 141 points for the third-consecutive season.

Named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month in September and November, Tucker was snubbed from a Pro Bowl appearance after making 36 of 39 field goal attempts. 

Unsung Hero: RB Gus Edwards

Beep, beep. Make way for Gus 'the bus'' Edwards. 

Alongside Jackson, the undrafted rookie out of Rutgers emerged in their Week 11 matchup against the Bengals rushing for 115 yards on 17 carries and his first-career touchdown. Through seven weeks, Edwards helped take the Ravens' 27th ranked run game to No. 2 in the league. An introvert in the locker room but an extrovert on the field, Edwards became the Ravens' second rookie in franchise history to post back-to-back 100-yard rushing games in Week 11 and Week 12.

With Greg Roman being promoted to offensive coordinator, expect to see Gus 'the bus' pounding the field in 2019.

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