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Rookie Upshaw keeps improving throughout season

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Rookie Upshaw keeps improving throughout season

Rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw ran into problems in the early weeks of his first NFL season.

First, there were the conditioning issues. He came into camp a little heavy, didn't pass the conditioning test the first time and had trouble keeping his weight down the first few weeks. But then he began putting everything together. 

And now, in a season where the Ravens are needing help from a bunch of different players on defense, Upshaw has stepped up. He's really helped as the defense has fared better in the last few weeks, helping the Ravens win all three games since the bye week.

The Ravens expected a lot from Upshaw, who came to them from Alabama. He had to start at first due to the injury to Terrell Suggs. But Suggs came back for the Houston game, and Upshaw then began coming off the bench and seemed to play better. 

He's made 10 tackles and had an interception in the last three weeks as the Ravens improved to 8-2 and took a two-game lead over the Steelers in the AFC North. However, the Ravens have been using Upshaw in different ways and putting him in different spots. He had a good game in the 55-20 rout of Oakland and the 13-10 win over the Steelers.

"Here’s our top pick – our defensive player that we picked as our first pick – and he’s played a number of different positions," coach John Harbaugh said to the media the day after the Oakland game. "Obviously, he’s been getting better every single week. He’s a smart football player. He’s a physical football player."

The return of Suggs probably helps all of that. The Ravens can move Upshaw around if they want. They even put him in as a lineman, but his quickness and strength give the Ravens a lot of options, something they probably were hoping for when they drafted him

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Whirlwind week: Demone Harris makes Ravens practice squad, loses and then finds engagement ring, gets engaged

Whirlwind week: Demone Harris makes Ravens practice squad, loses and then finds engagement ring, gets engaged

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In the span of a few days, Demone Harris bought an engagement ring, was released by the Buccaneers, traveled to Baltimore — where he lost the engagement ring, earned a spot on the Ravens practice squad and subsequently found the ring and got engaged.

Harris announced on Twitter today that he signed with the Ravens practice squad. The outside linebacker is in his second year in the NFL and originally was an undrafted free agent from Buffalo.

But that’s not the entire story of his signing.

Harris was released by the Buccaneers after returning from London on Oct. 15. He also had plans to propose to his girlfriend that week and had already purchased an engagement ring.

After a workout last Thursday morning in Baltimore, he was unable to find the engagement ring he planned to propose to his girlfriend with that weekend. 

Just a short while after the Ravens texted Harris to let him know he’d made the practice squad, he also received word that his engagement ring was found in the hotel he stayed at. 

The Ravens shipped the ring to him overnight and he proposed to his girlfriend on Friday in Buffalo like he’d planned to do all along. 

He ended his story on Twitter that he wanted to find the person who located the ring and “do something nice.”

For not having practiced with the Ravens yet, Harris has already created quite a stir.

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Ravens cut Justin Bethel, lose Pernell McPhee likely for season

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Ravens cut Justin Bethel, lose Pernell McPhee likely for season

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just a day after a hard-fought win in Seattle, the Ravens have two roster spots to fill on defense.

The Ravens released special teams standout Justin Bethel on Monday, and coach John Harbaugh announced that Pernell McPhee is likely out for the season with a torn tricep.

Bethel was released after the Titans released Brent Urban last week.

The reason for Bethel's release was that Urban was due to give the Ravens a compensatory fourth-round pick. He signed a one-year deal in the offseason with the Titans as he left the Ravens. 

But Urban, who signed with Chicago on Monday, failed to impress in Tennessee and was released before the Week 10 compensatory deadline. Meaning, the Ravens would have lost the fourth-round pick they were scheduled to receive for John Brown's departure were it not for Bethel's release.

Bethel had six special teams tackles this season and was arguably the Ravens' best special teams player that doesn't snap or kick.

"Justin Bethel unfortunately had to be released due to a funky rule that the NFL has with these compensatory picks," Harbaugh said. "A judgement has to be made in terms of for the future as well. That's tough for us. I told him I think he's the best special teams player in the NFL, and he's playing that way."

Additionally, McPhee will likely be out for the season with a torn tricep. McPhee had three sacks and 19 total tackles in seven games for the Ravens this season.

"Pernell McPhee, it looks like he has a torn tricep," Harbaugh said. "If he has a torn tricep which I believe he does, that'll proclude the rest of the season." 

The Ravens have Aaron Adeoye, a rookie outside linebacker, on the practice squad should they wish to promote someone from within. Otherwise, they'll have to look through the free agent market or poach from another practice squad.

The NFL trade deadline is next Tuesday. 

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