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Before Ravens, there was 'Cleveland 95'


Before Ravens, there was 'Cleveland 95'

A recent episodeof NFL Network's acclaimed series "A Football Life" gave viewers acompelling look at the life of Ray Lewis.This week, theseries tackles another subject of interest to Ravens fans: The fall of theoriginal Cleveland Browns franchise. "Cleveland '95: A Football Life"looks at the Browns final season in Cleveland before ArtModell moved the franchise to Baltimore. Produced by NFLFilms and narrated by Baltimore native Josh Charles, "Cleveland '95"includes rarely-seen footage of young Browns head coach Bill Belichick, who hadassembled a formidable staff that included Nick Saban, Eric Mangini, andcurrent Lions coach Jim Schwartz, as well as a young, unproven personnelassistant named Ozzie Newsome.In fact, Pro FootballTalk's Mike Florio says "Cleveland '95" is as much about Belichick asit is about Cleveland. Still, there's alot to appeal to Ravens fans, especially the parts featuring Newsome. Newsome recountshow Belichick wanted Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end for the Browns, to keepplaying when Belichick took the Browns job in 1991. Newsome, then 35, hadalready decided to hang up his cleats. Instead, he got his feet wet in theBrowns front office."Bill had meon the field coaching, I was on the road scouting, I was doing advance(scouting)," Newsome recalls in one scene. "They took this littlebirdie and they kicked him out of the nest right away.""Cleveland'95" also captures all the angst and frustration atthe Browns final home game in December 2005. Fans literally began tearingCleveland Stadium apart, piece by piece, at times hurling pieces to the field. One subtext ofthe show is that the Belichick braintrust had the Browns on the cusp of the Super Bowl. They had finished 11-5 the year before, and were a trendypreseason pick to win the AFC. Instead, the season unraveled after news brokein November that the team would be moving to Baltimore. Six straight lossesfollowed, and the Browns finished 5-11.I felt bad for that team, the players and thecoaches that were working so hard with less than no support. The owner wasnowhere to be found; he was in Baltimore. It kind of felt like you were on adeserted island fending for yourself," Belichick says at one point.Others withRavens ties featured in "Cleveland '95" include current Ravens seniorvice president Kevin Byrne -- one of many former Browns staffers who made themove to Baltimore -- and longtime BrownsRavens kicker Matt Stover."A FootballLife: Cleveland '95" debuts Wednesday at 8 p.m. on the NFL Network. For a teaser,click here.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 


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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."