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Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti still holding out 'hope' Smith Sr. returns next year

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti still holding out 'hope' Smith Sr. returns next year

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was smiling when he said it, but he sounded very open to finding a place for Steve Smith Sr. on the 2017 Ravens if he changed his mind about retirement.

“I have not given up hope that Steve Smith is going to come walking in here in September,” Bisciotti said during his “State of the Ravens” press conference. “He is probably not coming in August. We will see about that character. I would not count him out.”

Could Smith have a change of heart when fall draws closer, and the itch to play becomes harder to ignore? Yes, it could happen. But should the Ravens expect that to happen? No way.

Smith already knows he’s going to get the itch, but he doesn’t sound inclined to scratch. He has already filed his retirement papers in typical Smith style.

Also, check out his Tweet from Jan. 8

So for the next few months, the bigger question isn’t whether Smith will return, but whether the Ravens can build an effective wide receiving corps without him. Breshad Perriman needs to improve his route running and become more sure-handed.

General manager Ozzie Newsome said finding a “complimentary” receiver as one of the Ravens’ biggest needs. The Ravens have the option of picking up Mike Wallace’s $4.75 million contract for next season, but will they, especially if they acquire several receivers during the draft and free agency?

Smith had a great 16-year career, and at age 37, he doesn’t have to worry about the Ravens’ offseason issues. Smith’s offseason can last the rest of his life. But if Smith changes his mind, Bisciotti sounds willing to write Smith another check.

MORE RAVENS: Flacco had major role in keeping Mornhinweg; is that a problem?

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

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."

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