On the first official day of free agency, the Ravens signed former Chargers running back Danny Woodhead and former Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson. The team also re-signed quarterback Ryan Mallet and picked up the option on WR Mike Wallace.
Woodhead joins the Ravens on a three-year contract after suffering a torn ACL with the San Diego Chargers in week two of the 2016 season. Prior to last season, Woodhead was one of the most consistent pass-catching backs in the league. In 2015 he led all running backs in receptions (80, tied with Theo Riddick), receiving yards (755) and receiving touchdowns (six). Woodhead will give the team a strong option as a third-down back, and he'll surely have an increased role with second-year running back Kenneth Dixon suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
The Ravens also added former Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson on a four-year contract. Jefferson is known for his strong play against the run as he led the Cardinals last season in tackles with 92, and recorded the most tackles for a loss by a defensive back since 2008 with 13.
In addition to the free-agent signings of Woodhead and Jefferson, the Ravens re-signed backup quarterback Ryan Mallet to a one-year deal and picked up the team's option on wide receiver Mike Wallace to bring him back for 2017.
Wallace started all 16 games for the Ravens in 2016 and recorded his third career 1,000-yard season. Wallace is in place to have a major role in Baltimore's offense next season with Steve Smith now retired.
Related: Ravens release linebacker Elvis Dumervil
Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including how quarterback Lamar Jackson has fared during OTAs.
1. Following a January surgery on his left ankle, safety Tony Jefferson remains sidelined after the first week of OTAs. Originally, Jefferson was expected to return 4-6 weeks after surgery. However, now that it's 5 months later, his return timetable is becoming more and more concerning.
2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke with Ravens media Thursday about his progress not only learning the new offense implemented by Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman, but learning the names of his new teammates as well. After another day of OTAs, Jackson was his biggest critic despite a solid day of running plays namely passing drills. “I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said to Ravens media. “Second day, I did better. Today was alright, but it could have been better. I always try to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week.”
July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.
The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.
Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.
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Former Carolina Panthers' star receiver Steve Smith spoke in front of a crowd of over 400 people at the fifth annual Wake up for Wellness breakfast that was sponsored by Mental Health America of Central Carolinas.
The 16-year veteran and current NFL Network analyst touched on the importance of seeking help for bouts with depression and spoke of battles that he has faced with the disease.
“On the outside you’ll see a tough exterior. But on the inside, I’m just broken or I believe even more broken than the average man. ... Because when the stadium goes dark and the cheers stop, you’re still looking for that pat on the back,” Smith said. “Throughout my whole career, I struggled with that.”
Smith discussed that in the beginning, he was so concerned about the stigma regarding mental health, that he opted for the professional to meet him for housecalls, and as time passed he realized the importance of speaking up.
“I started to realize that I’m not broken,” he said. “I’m not being sent back to the manufacturer ... I get up every morning and figure it out.”
Smith's comments on the issue came to light just a day after the NFL and NFLPA announced new legislation that focuses on mental well being.
The newly formed Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee will develop programs for members of the NFL in addition to collaborating with local and national mental health and suicide prevention organizations. Each team will be mandated to retain a Behavioral Health Team Clinician for assistance that will be required to be available to players at the individual team facilities for at least 8-12 hours per week and must conduct mandatory mental health education sessions for players and coaching staff.
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