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Ravens backup QB Taylor ready for action

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Ravens backup QB Taylor ready for action

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Tyrod Taylor is the forgotten quarterback at the Super Bowl.

Everyone knows the starters, of course, Baltimore's Joe Flacco and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick.

They even know about Alex Smith, who started for the 49ers until he was sidelined with a concussion in November and Kaepernick stepped in.

And Taylor? His resume can be summed up on the top half of an index card: Two years, no starts and 30 passes - 25 of them in the Ravens' meaningless regular-season finale against Cincinnati last month.

That's because Flacco has started every game during the past five seasons and never has missed a down because of injury or ineffectiveness.

Still, Taylor knows he's only one play away from getting into the Super Bowl, and for that reason he's practicing hard this week as Sunday's championship game draws near.

``There are so many situations throughout the league where the next guy is called in, so you can't look at how many straight games Joe has played without being injured,'' Taylor said. ``You never know what can happen at any second of the game. I have to be ready to take over if that happens.''

The 49ers are preparing for that situation, too. While Flacco is a traditional pocket passer, Taylor is just as likely to scoot downfield as throw the ball. He ran for 65 yards in that game against the Bengals, and at Virginia Tech he set a school record for rushing yards by a quarterback (2,196).

``Actually, we're working on (stopping) the pistol and option in case he gets in and in case they have him in certain packages,'' San Francisco defensive tackle Justin Smith said. ``We worked on what we do and how to stop him. I think we'll be prepared for him if he gets in.''

Taylor smiled when told that San Francisco was taking his skill set into account.

``It definitely adds a little extra to the game,'' he said. ``For them to be prepared shows me it's definitely something they have in the back of their minds. I played against (San Francisco) coach (Jim) Harbaugh my last game at Virginia Tech, so he knows what I'm capable of doing. My job this week is to prepare the defense and also to prepare myself so if I have to go into the game, I'm ready.''

That, essentially, is the job description of a backup quarterback - whether he was once a starter or has never been anything but a second-stringer.

``I don't know which situation is better or worse,'' Alex Smith said. ``We're just at different points in a career. What's this, his second year? He's been on a good team, obviously. He's there for a reason. Your job as a backup is to be ready to go. That's no different for him or I. That's our job.''

It is a role Taylor takes seriously. He isn't in the Big Easy this week to take a stroll on Bourbon Street or munch on beignets.

``You have to be ready to play,'' Taylor said. ``That's how you have to carry yourself throughout the week as far preparation. You have to be physically prepared and mentally prepared because you never know when the opportunity may come.''

For now, Taylor is fine with his role. The former sixth-round draft pick is playing on a winner, earning a decent paycheck and is appreciated by his teammates.

``He's a great quarterback, man,'' Ravens receiver Torrey Smith said. ``I think a lot of people underestimated him coming out of the draft. You think, how did he even fall this far? Obviously, it's tough for him because of Joe, but Tyrod can play. We're both from Virginia, and I've known him since high school. I'm happy he's on our team, because he can definitely do some damage. But he understands how it works. It's a business, and you have to wait your turn.''

The 24-year-old Taylor is willing to be patient.

``Of course I want to start, but my job is to continue to stay prepared,'' he said. ``When the opportunity does come or whatever playing time I get, I have to continue to showcase my talent because other eyes are looking. But right now, it's all about whatever it takes to win this game right here, this Super Bowl. So that's my job this week.''

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'Hardest decision of my life': Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

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'Hardest decision of my life': Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Andrew Luck watched one last game from the sideline Saturday.

Then he said goodbye to the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback heard boos as he walked away from the field, then walked to the podium and made the surprise decision official. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29.

"I am going to retire," he said. "This is not an easy decision. It's the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me."

Luck said the repeated injuries, the lingering pain and continual rehab took away his love for the game.

Word first leaked about Luck's plans during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 27-17 loss to the Chicago Bears when ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported Luck felt mentally worn down and had met with team owner Jim Irsay to inform him of his decision.

Luck has most recently struggled to recover from a lower left leg injury.

Luck's former coach Chuck Pagano made his first return to Lucas Oil Stadium since he was fired as the Colts' head coach following the 2017 season. Luck did not play that season because he was recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder.

He returned last season and led the Colts back to the playoffs for the first time in four years, winning the league's Comeback Player of the Year award.

But in March, he suffered a strained left calf, was held out of all of the team's offseason workouts and returned on a limited basis for three practices at training camp in July. Lingering pain forced him back to the sideline and the Colts later determined that he had an injury near the back of his left ankle.

Coach Frank Reich had said he hoped to have an answer about Luck's availability for the Sept. 8 season opener after the third preseason game. This might not have been the one he wanted -- and certainly didn't expect.

Jacoby Brissett now inherits the starting job.

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Ravens Roundup: Robert Griffin III on track for Week One return

Ravens Roundup: Robert Griffin III on track for Week One return

Trace McSorley dominated the Eagles in Week 3 of the preseason, but the favorite to back up Lamar Jackson against the Dolphins in the season opener remains Robert Griffin III. 

Here are the latest news and notes on the Ravens.

Player News:

Coach John Harbaugh confirmed Saturday that QB Robert Griffin III is still on track to return to the field in time for week one of the regular season. The backup QB hasn't played since early in training camp due to a thumb injury.

LB Paul Worrilow agreed to terms with the Ravens on Friday, but changed his mind and decided to retire on Saturday. Per reports, Worrilow is stepping away to spend time with his pregnant wife.

Looking Ahead:

Preseason Week 4: Thursday, August 29 at Washington Redskins

Week 1: Sunday, September 8 at Miami Dolphins, 1 PM

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