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Keller, Jets shoot for new memories in Seattle

Keller, Jets shoot for new memories in Seattle

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Dustin Keller vividly recalls the last time the Jets traveled to the unfriendly confines of Seattle.

He may not want to, of course. But he does nonetheless.

``It was 2008 ... and it was loud,'' Keller said. ``It snowed that day, so people were throwing snowballs at me. I was ducking a lot of them.''

The Jets could not manage any offense on Dec. 21, 2008, and lost, 13-3. The Seahawks - and their stadium and fans - had a lot to do with it.

``It was tough playing there, especially for me,'' Keller said. ``If you go into a game like this and not make any plans to handle (the noise), you could be in a load of trouble.''

OK, so CenturyLink Field might not be the best place for the Jets (3-5) to turn things around and get back in the AFC East race. But the schedule says they have to go, so they might as well be prepared. The Seahawks (5-4), who rely on the crowd and an intimidation factor second to none in the NFL, are 4-0 at home this season.

But confidence reigns - surprise, surprise - at Jets camp, as they prepare to board a flight.

``We're definitely going to the playoffs,'' defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson said, a day after defensive back Antonio Cromartie issued a similar motto. ``Make no mistake.''

Guarantees aside, New York, like most teams, has made the midweek preparations for Seattle. The loud music during practice, the whole bit. And Keller, of course, appreciates it. But he knows that he's going to watch things on his own, either way. There's only so much you can replicate.

``If I'm playing tight, it's a little easier because I'm close to the ball,'' Keller said. ``It's a little easier than playing the slot, because then I just see the ball and move when it's snapped. It's definitely a hard place to play and we have to be ready for it.''

Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold feels the same way.

``It's loud and it's a difficult place to play in,'' Mangold said. ``It's just something we have to deal with. It's the nature of the beast. If you try and change things up now, you'll get hurt. I don't think you can worry about the noise more than any other.''

Backup quarterback Tim Tebow has yet to experience Seattle and its fans, but he knows the Southeastern Conference. And it can't be as loud as some of the venues he played in as a Florida Gator.

Or is it?

``I'd have to say that LSU would have to be louder,'' Tebow said. ``I don't think anything is as loud as that. I've never been to Seattle, but college stadiums compared to the NFL is not too much in comparison, in my opinion, in terms of how loud the crowd is. I've been told that Seattle can definitely cause some problems, but we should be OK. It shouldn't be that big of an issue.''

Pro Bowl guard Brandon Moore feels like the team is ready, either way.

``The fans there are really into it and the team feeds off their energy,'' Moore said. ``It's definitely an advantage for them as a team. We just have to communicate more, be more demonstrative and be in tune with each other. We may not be able to silence then, but the key is not to get too distracted.''

It was easy to get distracted during practice this week, as coach Rex Ryan blasted in the tunes through the practice field loudspeakers. All different types of music, from all different time periods. Whatever he could find to get the job done.

``It's been helpful, having the music,'' tackle Austin Howard said. ``It's definitely loud. I don't know most of it, but it's loud. I think we'll be able to hear the calls on Sunday.''

As for the postseason talk, well, Ryan is OK with it. There's quite a bit of work ahead of the team, but at least it's thinking big, right?

``We're 3-5 and have a task in front of us,'' he said. ``It's a huge task and this is not the team we expected to have. But we're attacking things as if we're going to the playoffs. We're confident.

``Our intentions are to make the playoffs.''

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NOTES: Ryan will wear a special hat Sunday, honoring those in New York and New Jersey affected by Superstorm Sandy. ``The hat is to let people know that this organization realizes the people in our region,'' he said. ``Our thoughts and prayers are with them. If they see this hat, they'll know we're with them.'' ... Rookie DE Quinton Coples has a little bit of experience going against Seahawks starting quarterback Russell Wilson, because the two faced each other in college, Coples with North Carolina and Wilson at N.C. State. ``Last time we played him, I got two sacks. But we're good friends. I remind him of that,'' Coples said. ``He's a totally different player now than what he was in college.''

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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

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USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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