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Look fast to catch Ravens coach's new look

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Look fast to catch Ravens coach's new look

As the Ravens veterans all report for training camp Wednesday for the first full-squad practice on Thursday, will they be greeted by a hirsute coach?

John Harbaugh sported a goatee when he met the media on Tuesday. Asked if it were a fashion statement, Harbaugh said with a laugh: Not really. Fun statement, you know? I just thought Id get somebodys attention. I wanted to divert you guys. Its like the car wreck; divert you guys away from some issues, right? But it didnt work. You already asked me all the tough questions. This will come off very quickly, but its been a good few weeks.

Speaking of coaches with facial hair, the Steelers signed Mike Tomlin to a three-year contract extension, the club announced Tuesday, taking him through 2016. He had two years left on his previous deal. At just 40, Tomlin is going into his sixth year as a head coach. He has a 55-25 regular-season record and has missed the playoffs just once.

Maybe you missed this one: The Ravens neighbors to the south are going to sell naming rights to their parking lots. The Redskins got approval to sell the rights at FedEx Field in Landover from the Prince Georges County County Council this week. Were not sure whos buying, but just in case, wed advise against parking in the Maaco lot.

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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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