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5 things Ravens' Insider Clifton Brown will miss about covering wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.

5 things Ravens' Insider Clifton Brown will miss about covering wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.

Five things I’ll miss about covering Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., who is expected to retire after Sunday’s game:

1. His candor

We ask athletes and other public figures to be honest and open. But when they give us their true thoughts, we often blast them if we don’t agree with their opinion. Smith didn’t worry about giving politically correct answers.  Ask Smith a question, and he told you exactly what he thought. He kept it real in interviews, and on social media. I loved that.

2. The casual conversations

Stopping by Smith’s locker meant you never knew where the conversation would lead. You would start off talking about next week’s opponent, and end up talking about fatherhood or social issues.  Smith has never lived in a vacuum, thinking almost exclusively about football. He thinks about life. That’s why I think he’ll do well in whatever he chooses, and why he may miss football less than he anticipates.

3. His clothes

Smith is a stylish dresser. He has a collection of hats I really admire.  Whenever he got off the team bus at the stadium and walked to the locker room, he looked like a guy who should have theme music playing in the background.

MORE:  Steve Smith Sr. will honor loved ones by wearing special cleats Sunday

4. His expressions

The look Smith would give if you asked him a lazy question? Priceless. No athlete I’ve covered could smirk quite like Smith.

5. Spinning the football

Smith’s signature spinning of the football after catching a pass became his calling card.  The way it infuriated defensive backs amused me. Hope Smith does it again one day – after he makes a speech in Canton, Ohio.

WATCH: Ravens' farewell video to Steve Smith Sr. will make you cry.

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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."