Ravens

Quick Links

Ray Lewis spoke with Michael Phelps before final race, could not be prouder

Ray Lewis spoke with Michael Phelps before final race, could not be prouder

Michael Phelps won his 23rd gold medal Saturday night in the 4x100 medley relay, what he insists will be the final race of his career. Now indesputably the greatest Olympian of all time and arguably one of the greatest American athletes of all time, Phelps is an idol.

But the man everyone looks up to still looks up to someone else: Ravens legend Ray Lewis. 

Speaking to NBC's Michele Tafoya after climbing out the pool, Phelps insisted he was retiring for good.

"I was talking to Ray Lewis earlier today. I know he's watching. And we just had a great talk," a teary-eyed Phelps said. "It's not the end of a career, it's the beginning of a new journey. And I'm just looking forward to that." 

And Lewis was watching ... and tweeting. 

Phelps, whose struggles with alcohol threatened to derail his career, credited Lewis with inspiring him to return to swimming after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. 

“What he did for me is the best thing in the world. He helped me come back," Phelps told The Washington Post in 2013. He was speaking from the Ravens' locker room after their 2013 Super Bowl win, the final game of Lewis' career. 

“We’ve talked about so much the last couple years of my career,” Phelps said. “He just helped me get through a lot of hard times, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him."

“He’s probably the only person who could really help me do that,” Phelps continued. “He’s been through everything — the ups and downs — and he’s helped me literally overcome a lot of things that I’ve had in my life that have been tough, and he’s been there for me.”

It's fitting that two Baltimore sports legends – both laid low by very public transgressions – would be on hand to support each other in the last competitions of their careers. 

Quick Links

What type of running backs are the Ravens looking for in this year's draft? GM Eric DeCosta explains

What type of running backs are the Ravens looking for in this year's draft? GM Eric DeCosta explains

The Ravens’ draft needs mostly stay within the front line on either side of the ball. 

They could use more defensive line and edge-rusher help, as well as more depth and a starter at inside linebacker. The interior offensive line could use depth, as could the tackle position. 

Aside from wide receiver, the Ravens’ needs aren’t all that flashy. 

But when the Ravens are on the clock with the 28th selection, should they stick to their best player available mantra, that could mean a running back comes off the board.

“You have to be big and strong and physical, but you also have to be durable,” general manager Eric DeCosta said. “That's a really important criteria for that position, and also be intelligent. We feel like we have a really good group of running backs on our team, and it'll just basically be who's available when we pick.” 

The Ravens set the NFL’s single-season rushing record last season due in large part to Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram, but also backup running backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. 

At a position that is loaded, and also the heartbeat of the Ravens’ offense, there doesn’t appear to be any clear openings. 

“We set the record for rushing last year, so it's going to be hard for us this year,” DeCosta said. “So, we have to find as many good players as we can. I think that position is critically important to our offense.”

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE RAVENS TALK PODCAST

That hasn’t stopped a few mock drafts from around the league projecting the Ravens might go with a running back in the early rounds. Should they do that, a few names to watch are D’Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers and J.K. Dobbins. All figure to be a few of the top running backs off the board. 

Even if the Ravens don’t pick a running back early in the draft, there’s still the possibility of selecting a back late with one of the Ravens’ nine draft choices. 

Should that happen, there will be a competition for the top three spots on the depth chart at running back for Baltimore.

“There are certainly running backs all throughout the draft in each round – first round all the way through the seventh round – guys that we think have the opportunity to come in and help us be the best team we can be, and we'll look at that,” DeCosta said.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

John Harbaugh concerned about potential hackers during virtual draft

John Harbaugh concerned about potential hackers during virtual draft

John Harbaugh is confident in the Ravens’ ability, as an organization, to manage the quarantine and go through as normal of an off-season as possible. 

His confidence in the off-season technology they’ll be using, however, is not as high. 

With members of the Ravens’ front office confined to their homes from now until the NFL Draft on April 23, they’ve had to adjust accordingly with virtual meetings and scouting sessions. 

Harbaugh has been assured by the IT department that they’ll be safe from any problems.

“My level of involvement has been every time I read something in The Wall Street Journal or New York Times that talks about how messed up Zoom is or some of these other deals that came out this morning, I immediately text it to our IT people,” Harbaugh said. 

The Ravens have been using the popular video conferencing site Zoom for their pre-draft meetings. 

“I’ve got some real concerns about that, and hopefully we’ll be okay,” Harbaugh said. “It’s kind of like that. We’ll see what happens. I really wouldn’t want the opposing coaches to have our playbook or our draft meetings. That would be preferable, if we can stay away from that.” 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE RAVENS TALK PODCAST

General manager Eric DeCosta, though, is a bit more confident than the head coach is.

“I have more confidence in Zoom than I do in Ozzie (Newsome), John, (owner Steve (Bisciotti) and team president Dick (Cass), with a copy of our draft board that they just leave in the car on their front seat or something like that,” DeCosta joked.

While the Ravens are focused on a virtual world as it relates to the NFL Draft, off-season workouts aren’t far behind. 

From there, the Ravens are waiting for word from the NFL on what their program over the summer could look like. That includes contingencies for both in-person and at-home workouts.

“I think it's up in the air just like it is with everything else with this situation,” Harbaugh said. “We've been told possibilities. We're kind of preparing for all that. The new CBA changes up some of the rules as far as what you're allowed to send them in their playbooks, some of the video teaching overlays, talk-overs and things like that.”

Harbaugh ensured they’ll be ready for any situation, but just like the rest of the NFL, and the country, the Ravens are playing a waiting game for what’s next.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: