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Ravens say hands off to Lombardi Trophy - for now

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Ravens say hands off to Lombardi Trophy - for now

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Baltimore Ravens don't want to have anything to do with the Vince Lombardi Trophy - unless they earn the right to hoist it after the Super Bowl.

Asked Wednesday whether he's considered how great it would be to grasp the trophy after Sunday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers, Ravens coach John Harbaugh scoffed at the suggestion.

``I have given no thought to that,'' he said. ``You don't earn the right to even think about that until you've won the football game and become the one true champion. We're not the one true champion at this point. We're going to fight like crazy to earn that award.''

Last week, CBS brought a faux Lombardi Trophy to the Ravens' training facility and asked each player to pose with the hardware.

Linebacker Ray Lewis nixed the idea.

``I told my team, don't ever take pictures with nothing that's not yours, nothing that you haven't earned,'' Lewis said. ``When we hold that Lombardi, whoever holds that Lombardi next Sunday, you've earned it when you touch it. And don't fool yourself and try to trick yourself (by saying), `This feels great.' Don't go through that. I don't believe in jinxes and all that, I just believe in don't set yourself up for something. Just really work for it.''

Lewis grasped the coveted trophy in 2001, after the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 for their only Super Bowl win. That trophy is prominently displayed at the entrance to the team's training complex.

Running back Ray Rice, who is playing in his first Super Bowl, has no desire to hold the trophy until the Ravens earn it.

``We have to work to get that,'' he said. ``I don't want to see the Super Bowl trophy unless it's rightfully ours.''

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TEAM GLEASON: Steve Gleason sure knows how to get people's attention.

The former special teams player - a hero in New Orleans since he blocked a punt for a touchdown in the Saints' first home game after Hurricane Katrina - was accompanied by a brass band and some famous friends as he made the rounds at the Super Bowl media center Wednesday to raise awareness for The Team Gleason House for Innovative Living. The house, located near New Orleans' BioDistrict, uses cutting-edge technology to help people with incurable neuro-muscular disorders like ALS or MS live more independently.

Gleason was diagnosed in January 2011 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which causes gradual paralysis.

``This disease, for far too long, has been left underfunded and ignored,'' said former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, who has remained good friends with Gleason. ``That is not acceptable. That's just not acceptable. ... That is the challenge, to get this on people's radar.''

Gleason's appearance Wednesday was a start. Fujita, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and political pundits James Carville and Mary Matalin joined Gleason at a news conference to celebrate Chase Bank's $350,000 grant to Team Gleason House. A new public service announcement featuring Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ray Lewis, Clay Matthews and Herm Edwards also was unveiled.

Using an eye-controlled computer, Gleason gave a speech and answered questions. He had the audience in tears and, a few minutes later, roaring with laughter. Similar technology will let residents at Team Gleason control lights, doors, window shades, televisions and room temperature.

``A terminal disease can really mess with your mind. Honestly, it makes you want to run away to the moon,'' Gleason said. ``I did not want to fade away quietly.''

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SAFETIES SHINE: While several talented linebackers could be a big focus in the Super Bowl, the last line of defense for each team is filled with big-play stars.

``All four safeties in the scheme are four of the premier safeties in football,'' Harbaugh said.

For Baltimore, it's free safety Ed Reed and strong safety Bernard Pollard. San Francisco's side features Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner.

It's a tossup which team has more talent.

Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones is impressed by all four of them.

``Ed, of course, is the greatest and Bernard Pollard,'' he said. ``Look at their side, No. 38 (Goldson), me and him came out together and played together in the East-West Shrine Game. He actually played corner in college. He's got good ball skills. And 31 (Whitner), him and Pollard are just alike, smash-mouth.''

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TOUCHDOWN, MOSS: Guess who burned Baltimore cornerback Cary Williams for his first NFL touchdown? That would be Randy Moss, the guy who will be on the other side of the ball again Sunday.

Williams was playing for Tennessee in October 2009 when Moss scored on a 40-yard flea flicker, the first of his three touchdowns in a 59-0 rout.

So, Williams isn't about to question whether Moss still has it at age 35 - even if he's no longer the dynamic receiver of his early days in the NFL.

``He's a guy who can get over top the defense at any moment,'' Williams said. ``He's a threat out there regardless. Randy Moss introduced me to the NFL.''

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NO VACATION: Ravens linebacker and special teams standout Brendon Ayanbadejo learned a valuable lesson when he played in the Super Bowl with Chicago after the 2006 season.

``My last Super Bowl experience was in Miami, and we were kind of happy just to be there,'' he recalled. ``It's like a vacation, You get there, you're enamored, you're in Miami and your team made it.''

It did not end well: Indianapolis 29, Bears 17.

``If you want to go to a Super Bowl and you want to enjoy it, wait until you're not playing,'' Ayanbadejo said. ``That's the mentality of this team. It's all about business, it's all about winning. After we win the game, then we'll enjoy it.''

One of these days, he hopes to savor the Super Bowl experience without having to think about the game.

``In the future, when you're retired and after the Ravens have won five Super Bowls in a row and you've got a ring on every finger,'' he said, ``then you can go to the Super Bowl as a fan and you can enjoy it and do the night life and the parties and all the things afterward.''

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AP Sports Writers Janie McCauley and Nancy Armour contributed to this report.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Justin Tucker kept the game ball from his first missed extra point

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Justin Tucker kept the game ball from his first missed extra point

It's Draft Day, baby!

Before the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway Thursday night in Nashville, Tn, here's the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player/Team Notes:

1. The Ravens made a VERY smart move Wednesday by signing kicker Justin Tucker to a four-year extension that will keep him in Baltimore through the 2023 season. In seven seasons, Tucker has experienced the highest of highs, and just last year, the low of his first missed extra point Week 7 against the Saints. Memorable as it is something we rarely see from Tucker, the 29-year-old has that game ball on display as a reminder of the ups and downs of his career.

“That’s a part of my story, and I want to be able to look at that and realize that was a learning moment,” Tucker said. “It was, perhaps, a pivotal moment for me as a professional.”

“I think it’s incredibly important for any football player, any athlete, anybody, to learn form both your successes and your failures,” Tucker said.

2. The Ravens are making one very special fans' dream come true this weekend during the NFL Draft. Mo Gaba, a 13-year-old superfan who's been blind since he was nine months old and is battling cancer for the fourth time, will announce the team's fourth-round pick from the Ravens' Draft Fest at the Inner Harbor Saturday. Gaba will be the first person ever to announce an NFL draft pick in Braille. 

3. General manager Eric DeCosta will lead his first-ever war room Thursday night, but he won't be kicking former GM Ozzie Newsome out of his usual seat at the head of the table. 

“I’ve been in that seat for a long time,” DeCosta said via the Ravens' website.

“The other reason is Ozzie doesn’t like change a lot,” DeCosta said. “He still gets his hair cut on Friday, he’s on a treadmill three times a day. He only started using an iPhone about six months ago. No, that’s not actually true

“But he definitely doesn’t like change, and I just feel like if we moved his seat, he’d be really flustered.”

4. The Ravens are showing increased interest in Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley. John Harbaugh did mention earlier in the offseason that the team could add another playmaker in the Ravens' backfield.

5. Free agent pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah reportedly visited the Ravens Wednesday. Drafted fifth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Lions, the Ravens could use Ansah after losing Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith in free agency.


Looking Ahead:

April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.

May 3-6 or May 10-13: Potential three-day rookie mini camp

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

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.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: 

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4 prospects Baltimore Ravens fans should be keeping an eye on in 2019 NFL Draft

4 prospects Baltimore Ravens fans should be keeping an eye on in 2019 NFL Draft

The Baltimore Ravens will add to their historic franchise this weekend during the 2019 NFL Draft. All eyes will be set on who they take with their first pick, whether that's at No. 22 or beyond. 

With a handful of needs, which prospects should you be aware of? Here are four players projected to possibly land with the Ravens Thursday night.

WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi

Metcalf grabbed the attention of the football world during the NFL Combine, running a 4.33 40-yard dash and posting a 40.5 vertical jump. The jury is still out, however, on how he'll pan out in the NFL. Metcalf missed part of the 2018 season with a neck injury and a foot injury derailed his 2016 season after just two games. Metcalf admitted that his history of injuries was brought up often when meeting with NFL teams, and his apparent 1.9% body fat simply isn't healthy, according to a combine trainer. Nonetheless, draft experts have the receiver as a top option for the Ravens. 

DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

The Ravens are going to need some help on defense after losing Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Za'Darius Smith in free agency. Ferrell had 38 tackles for loss and 21 sacks over the last two seasons with the National Champions. Standing at 6'4", 264 pounds, the defensive end's combine profile describes him as having "prototypical size, length and strength to offer early help against both the run and pass."

C/G Erik McCoy, Texas A&M

The Ravens could be looking for their center of the future. McCoy earned a starting role with the Aggies during the 2016 season, starting all 16 games after redshirting his freshman season. In his sophomore season, McCoy helped Texas A&M average 406.8 yards per game. From 2016-19, the center helped his team rush for over 2,000 yards. A talent like that could be extremely helpful with Lamar Jackson under center. 

WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

Another wide receiver in the mix, Brown averaged more than 18 yards per reception over two years at Oklahoma, racking up 1,300 yards with 10 touchdowns on 75 receptions in 2018 alone. Nicknamed "Hollywood," the 21-year-old's speed and ability to threaten deep "gives him a chance to become the most impactful wideout in this draft."

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.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: