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McPhee manages to smile through injuries and tragedies

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McPhee manages to smile through injuries and tragedies

By looking at Pernell McPhee’s expressions, it wasn't easy to detect his troubles.

His leg stayed in bandages because of knee and groin issues. He couldn't win his battles at the line of scrimmage to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. But his smile never disappeared. 

After getting 6 sacks as a rookie a year ago as a reserve defensive end, this was supposed to be a breakout for McPhee, who won the starting job.

The Ravens rushed out to win nine of their first 11 games, but each week McPhee faced the questions about his lackluster play. He voiced disappointment in himself, but never lashed out. Understanding his physical and personal battles, however, put his travails into clearer focus.

“I had a couple of losses early this year, dealing with my sister, my dad, cousin,” McPhee said of  their deaths. “It was just like I was home when I came back in. Guys put smiles on my face. That’s the most important thing when you got guys who love you besides just football.  They love you off the field and try to help you out the best way they can.”

Coach John Harbaugh held him out for a month as he missed five games. McPhee said at the time he could play, creating an awkward situation where the player and coach disagreed publicly. Looking back, McPhee agrees it was the best decision.

“Hands down because now I’m healthier and I got a chance to help the team out on 3rd-and-long and come out and show some of them pass rushing skills I got,” he said of being used almost exclusively in pass situations. 

That he did. McPhee returned in December, getting his first full sack in a Week 15 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Going into the Super Bowl vs. the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3, McPhee has been replaced in the starting lineup by Arthur Jones, who had a career-high 4.5 sacks in his third season.

“Coach is doing a good job with how he rotates me in as far as certain packages. That’s keeping me fresh, keeping me healthy,” McPhee said. “I just got this routine I’m sticking with and it’s just helping me out a lot.”

McPhee has played a major role in the Ravens’ last two playoff games. He sacked Peyton Manning late in the third quarter, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Paul Kruger at the Broncos’ 37. Five plays later, Ray Rice ran in the ball from 1 yard out to tie the score at 28 in what eventually became a 38-35 double-overtime victory.

With Tom Brady trying to lead the New England Patriots to a fourth-quarter comeback in the AFC championship last week, McPhee deflected a pass that was intercepted by Dannell Ellerbe to seal a 28-13 victory.

“This guy plays with a lot of injuries. He’s one of the toughest people that I've ever been around in my life. And then now, at the end of the year, he had these two huge plays in these two huge games that really made the difference. It’s just so rewarding,” Harbaugh said. “And as a teacher, as a coach, that’s what makes it for you. … When you see these guys fight through that and have that kind of success, that’s everything.”

McPhee never doubted his ability to bounce back.

“It’s all about your personality,” he said. “I’m built Ford tough.”

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Wide receiver battle underway

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Wide receiver battle underway

Kick off your Tuesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. Aside from the battle at left guard, the Ravens also have a battle going on at wide receiver. 13 of the 90-man roster are wide receivers, and when asked who have been standouts at practice thus far, many said Antoine Wesley and Sean Modster. 

2. Just for fun: The Ravens' team photographer Shawn Hubbard took these amazing portraits of the team that will get you hyped up for this season.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. ET deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Left guard competition heating up

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Left guard competition heating up

Kick off your Monday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. The Ravens are still looking for a left guard and the competition is "wide open" according to Ravens media. Last week, Coach Harbaugh tried out 2017 fifth-round pick Jermaine Eluemunor in the spot, acknowledging his hard work there.

2. Linebacker Kenny Young is expected to be a big playmaker this season. Now that C.J. Mosley is gone, Young is expected to fill that void. “I’m not going to make expectations for myself so soon, but what I expect to do right from the get-go is compete hard and make plays,” Young said to Ravens media. “My expectation is to make plays. That’s it. Make plays.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. ET deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens and Rotoworld for news points.

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