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Should Elam be placed on injured reserve?

Should Elam be placed on injured reserve?

The news out of Owings Mills on Monday that safety Matt Elam will be out for some time with a knee injury could leave the Ravens with a tough call: Do they place Elam on injured reserve, with the chance to designate him for return at a later time? Do they keep him on the active roster, knowing he won't be available for at least the first few weeks? Or do they cut him, parting ways with their 2013 first-round pick who would solidify his status as one of their biggest draft whiffs. 

After practice on Monday, Harbaugh said Elam would have arthroscopic surgery and would be sidelined "some number of weeks into the early part of the season."

There are no easy answers, but the league's new IR-designated to return rule could come into play.


Since 2012, the NFL has had an IR-designated-to-return label, which allows each team to place one player on IR while leaving open the possibility of that player's return; previously, anyone placed on IR was automatically done for the season. Ray Lewis received the IR-DTR tag in 2012 and came back to win a Super Bowl. The Ravens used the designated-to-return label on tight end Dennis Pitta in 2013 and on defensive end Brent Urban last season.

Under a rule tweak this year, the team does not have to use the DTR label on a player when placing him on IR. So the Ravens could opt to place Elam on IR and later declare him designated to return. But as in the past, a team can use the IR-DTR tag only once, so if they choose that route with Elam, they can't do so with anyone else. And if the Ravens have another player on IR whom they designate for return, Elam would have to stay on IR for the entire season, which would effectively end his Ravens career.

Elam is in the final year of his contract after the Ravens declined to pick up his fifth-year option this past spring.

Regardless of what happens, it's a tough break for Elam, who has had a strong camp after missing all of last season. But the new IR-DTR rule gives the Ravens a little more wiggle room than in past years. Then again, the Ravens, already facing some very difficult decisions to arrive at a 53-man roster, could decide to simply part ways with Elam, knowing he won't be available until at least the middle portion of the season.

"It’s unfortunate for (Elam)," Harbaugh said, "but Ozzie will deal with it roster-wise however he decides to deal with it.”


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Adding Marcus Peters has John Harbaugh and the Ravens secondary pumped

Adding Marcus Peters has John Harbaugh and the Ravens secondary pumped

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Help is on the way for the Ravens secondary. 

With the addition of Marcus Peters, the Ravens are hopeful to boost a depleted secondary due to injuries. Tavon Young, Iman Marshall and Jimmy Smith have all missed significant time with injuries, and only Smith is set to return sooner rather than later. 

Peters, a former Pro Bowl cornerback, is what the Ravens are hoping will take their defense to a level they haven’t been at all season. 

“We’re looking forward to getting him in there,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ve known him for quite a long time, ever since the draft when he was coming out of Washington. We spent a lot of time with him in that process, and every chance we’ve had to cross paths since, it’s been very positive.”

After two seasons in Kansas City, he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. There, he played just over a season before being traded to Baltimore. 

In his 67 games in the NFL, Peters has 24 interceptions — a league-best during that time frame — and was selected to the Pro Bowl twice and named First Team All-Pro once. 

Peters figures to slide in on the opposite side of Marlon Humphrey, who is having a Pro Bowl caliber season. 

“I think that’s a great move,” Earl Thomas said. “I think we have two top-five corners playing on the same team with him and Marlon, so it’s definitely going to help out in the back end and the whole defense.”

Included in the imminent return of Smith, presumably either for the Seahawks or Patriots game, the Ravens cornerback depth is slowly inching to healthy. 

Peters will fly to Baltimore late Wednesday and be ready for practices on Thursday and Friday. Harbaugh said he’ll play on Sunday as much as he can. The Ravens have made it a sort of habit to get players quickly acclimated to the defense in recent weeks, something they’ll try and fastrack once again with Peters. 

The move also presents flexibility for the Ravens secondary as Brandon Carr could slide back to safety, something he did during training camp.

“Let’s move around, man,” Carr said. “Let’s keep the offense on their toes, let’s be aggressive, let’s make plays, so I’m all for it.”


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Pete Carroll has ‘nothing but great thoughts’ about former Seahawk safety Earl Thomas

Pete Carroll has ‘nothing but great thoughts’ about former Seahawk safety Earl Thomas

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he doesn’t harbor any negative thoughts or feelings about Earl Thomas. More specifically, about how Thomas' tenure ended in Seattle.

In a Wednesday conference call, Carroll said he loved coaching Thomas and hopes nothing but the best for him in Baltimore.

“I know that when we were together, we did everything we could to be great,” Carroll said. “Earl was an incredible competitor and I loved coaching him. And I like watching him play now. It’ll be fun playing against him.”

Thomas was a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time First Team All-Pro in Seattle under Carroll’s watch, but the relationship soured toward the end of Thomas’s time in Seattle. After a holdout last season, Thomas broke his leg in the team’s fourth game of the season. While being carted off, he flipped off the Seahawks sideline in his last time in the uniform. 

He signed a four-year, 55 million dollar deal in the offseason to play with the Ravens, officially ending his nine-year stint as a Seahawk. 

Carroll, however, said he has no issues with how the relationship ended.

“Not really, I wish he could’ve played with us and we could’ve stayed together forever,” Carroll said. “That was kind of always the thought. But it didn’t work out that way and guys have got to go on their way and they do their business and do their stuff. Earl was a great Seahawk, he was a blast to coach, we had a great time here doing the things we did.”

As for whether the two could reconnect on Sunday, both Thomas and Carroll said they won’t plan anything. Instead, they’ll let it happen organically.

“I have nothing but great thoughts about Earl,” Carroll said. “I have great respect for him. If I get a chance to visit with him, I’ll visit with him like I always do.”