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Ravens LT donates $80,000 for medical marijuana research for NFL players

Ravens LT donates $80,000 for medical marijuana research for NFL players

Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe has made an $80,000 donation to researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania for studies to examine the impact of cannabinoid therapies on current and NFL players, according to a Thursday press release.

Monroe’s donation was announced jointly by The Realm of Caring and CW Botanicals.

Their press release said in part that Monroe, “cannot use cannabinoid products and is instead prescribed opioids to manage his chronic pain from sports-related injuries. He recognizes the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) for pain management and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and fully supports this research that could help professional and amateur athletes as well as anyone suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Eugene hopes that his actions will influence the NFL in changing their policy on cannabis and recognize it as a viable treatment option.

“Due to the NFL’s strict anti-cannibas policies, it’s difficult for current players to speak in support of the plant and its potential therapeutic uses. Despite the risks, on March 9 Eugene became the first active NFL player to call on the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned substances list; fund medical marijuana research, especially as it relates to CTE; and to urge the NFL to stop overprescribing opioids.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this year that a change in the league’s drug policy was not imminent, either for medical or recreational use.

“We always review our drug policy,” Goodell said during a Super Bowl week press conference. “I don’t foresee a change in that clearly in the short term, but we’ll continue to be in touch with our medical personnel.”

Monroe has missed 16 games over the past two seasons with various injuries, including a concussion,  and had shoulder surgery in December after being shut down for the season.

Monroe’s future with the Ravens remains in question. The Ravens drafted left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 pick in the draft. The Ravens could opt to play Stanley at left guard and keep Monroe next season, or Monroe could be cut after June 1, which would create $6.5 million in additional salary cap space. Monroe still has three years left on a five-year, $37.5 million contract.

Asked about Monroe’s future following the first night of the draft, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said, “Right now, Eugene is still under medical care.”

And while under medical care, Monroe remains a staunch supporter of medical marijuana research. Monroe has also unveiled a new website www.eugenemonroe.com to explain why he is campaigning for the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned substances list.



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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Earl Thomas shocked by Ravens' offer, Haloti Ngata announces retirement

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Earl Thomas shocked by Ravens' offer, Haloti Ngata announces retirement

Let's get this week started by getting you up-to-date on the latest Ravens news.

Player Notes:

The Ravens announced Friday they are planning on signing cornerback Justin Bethel to a two-year deal, pending a physical. A two-time Pro Bowler thanks to his special teams play, Bethel played 2018 with the Atlanta Falcons following a six-year run with the Arizona Cardinals. 

Former Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata announced his retirement in the most baller way; on top of Mount Kilamanjaro. 

The Ravens' first-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Ngata spent nine seasons in Baltimore and earned five Pro Bowls along the way. 

If you were surprised by the Ravens signing safety Earl Thomas, you weren't the only one. Thomas himself admitted that the four-year, $55 million deal came at the last minute. 

“The Ravens were never in the picture,” Thomas told NBC Sports' Peter King. “I was shocked. I was blessed.”

The Ravens will have their hands full defending the AFC North title in 2019, according to Las Vegas. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has made the Browns +140 favorites to win the AFC North. With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. last week, the Browns look to be real contenders this season. 

Looking Ahead: 

March 24-27: Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Az.

April 15: Voluntary OTA's may begin

April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets


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Ravens bolster secondary with Justin Bethel, say goodbye to longtime special teams coach

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Ravens bolster secondary with Justin Bethel, say goodbye to longtime special teams coach

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- A whirlwind week for the Baltimore Ravens continued Friday when special teams coach Jerry Rosburg retired after an 11-year run with the team.

The surprise announcement came prior to a news conference that was scheduled to introduce newcomers Mark Ingram and Earl Thomas, who signed as free agents after passing physicals on Friday morning.

On Friday evening, the Ravens reached agreement on a two-year deal with cornerback and special teams standout Justin Bethel, who played last year with Atlanta following a six-year run with Arizona. Bethel was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013-15 for his play on special teams.

Much earlier in the day, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Rosburg and his successor, Chris Horton, took their places behind a table on a stage at the team's training facility. Hired by Harbaugh in 2008, Rosburg ruled over a unit that was perennially among the league's best.

"I can tell you, without Jerry Rosburg here there's no way we would have had anywhere close to the success we've had," Harbaugh said.

Rosburg said there were several personal reasons behind his decision, most notably the desire to spend more time with his wife and three children. He reviewed some of his friendships with coaches and players and proudly looked back at what he accomplished with Harbaugh, his long-time friend.

Rosburg concluded his brief speech by saying, "Thank you and farewell." And then abruptly walked off the stage.

"I thought Jerry was going to take a question or two!" Harbaugh said with a laugh. "That's classic Jerry Rosburg."

Horton was the assistant special teams coach. He played football at UCLA before appearing in 29 games with the Redskins from 2008-10.

Ingram and Thomas agreed to terms with the Ravens on Wednesday. The addition of the former Pro Bowl stars eased some of the sting of losing free agents C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Za'Darius Smith and John Brown earlier in the week.

Ingram is a bruising running back who played eight years with the New Orleans Saints. The 29-year-old will likely take over as a starter for Gus Edwards, who ran for 718 yards as a rookie last year.

Ingram knew his time with the Saints was done after the team signed free agent Latavius Murray.

"It was tough. I've got brothers in that locker room," Ingram said. "But it was just time for me, at this point in my career, to move on. I feel like I have my best years in front of me."

Thomas, a free safety, will step in for Eric Weddle, who was released earlier this month. Thomas has been selected to play in six Pro Bowls.

He worked out a deal with Ravens defensive back Marlon Humphrey to get the number he wore in Seattle -- 29 -- which is also his age.

"His mom has a track team, so I might throw a little break that way," Thomas said.

Ingram and Thomas fill key spots, but the Ravens hope they'll also be able to provide leadership in the locker room. That job was handled primarily by Weddle, Suggs and quarterback Joe Flacco, who was traded to Denver this week.

"One of the goals is always to bring in guys who have great character and leadership," first-year general manager Eric DeCosta said. "We've tried to do that in the past. That's something that we prioritize. Ability is important, but so is what they bring to the team. These guys measure up really well in those categories."

DeCosta was a bit discouraged by losing four starters earlier in free agency. By Friday, however, was smiling at a table next to Ingram, Thomas and Harbaugh.

"It's a stressful environment at times, especially when you lose players who are a fabric of your team," DeCosta said. "It's tough to see that happen. But we had a process and a plan how we wanted to approach these guys, and it worked out well for us."