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John Harbaugh has zero time for Ravens banter, media scrutiny

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USA TODAY Sports

John Harbaugh has zero time for Ravens banter, media scrutiny

On Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens will play the most crucial game of their 2018 season when they host division rival Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11 of the 2018 NFL Season.

Sitting at 4-5 and third in the AFC North, playoff contention and job security have filled the headlines of local media outlets. Mix in an injured quarterback to the equation, and suddenly this below .500 Ravens team has the attention of the nation.

The unwanted attention is something the Ravens have experienced before, having missed the playoffs each of the previous three seasons. However, the unwanted attention Baltimore is getting 11 weeks into the season is more potent than ever.

Head coach John Harbaugh isn't here for any of it.

"We’ll write the story of the Ravens’ 2018 season by how we play in the next seven weeks," Harbaugh said Monday via the team's website.

"That’s what our guys are juiced up for. All the other stuff is just fluff; it’s just noise; it’s just banter. It’s barroom talk. Turn on the TV, it’s two guys talking in the bar, supposedly – except it’s all choreographed, you know? ‘You take this side, I’ll take that side.’ It’s all B.S. We don’t care! We have to go play."

The Ravens enter this matchup with a fresh mentality and a fresh set of legs after spending Week 10 on their bye.

Three straight losses is enough to invade anyone's headspace after starting their season 3-1. But with seven games to play, Harbaugh is reminding his team they're in control of their own destiny. 

"I told the guys, ‘Have you watched the NFL? It’s week-to-week. This is how it goes. Crazy things happen.’ We’re right there. We’re in the hunt just like everybody else. We’re fighting."

Mathematically, the Ravens aren't out of the hunt yet. Despite their record, they are just one game out of the final wildcard spot in the AFC.

The 27% chance they have at the moment of making the playoffs is certainly nothing to write home about, but a win on Sunday makes January football look less far-fetched. 

"It will be determined over the course of the next seven games who is going to make the playoffs," Harbaugh said. "It won’t be determined by what’s gone before. It will be determined by what goes forward. If we want to be one of those teams, then we have to go earn it – make it happen. There are those who write history and those who make history. Well, you know what? If you have a chance to make history, then you write the history, too"

The head coach will be writing his own history over the next seven weeks as well. The reports that his job status is on the line after 11 seasons can be added to the laundry list of things Harbaugh's not worried about.

"Again, it’s just noise; it doesn’t matter; it means nothing. It’s not something that I’m going to think about or concern myself with. Neither are the players, neither is Steve [Bisciotti], neither is Kevin [Byrne], or Ozzie [Newsome] or anybody else. You know what we want to do as an organization? We want to win – that’s what we want to do. We want to win. We’re fighting as hard as we can – coaches, players – as an organization to win. That’s it. All the other stuff – who cares?”

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens hoping to re-sign Robert Griffin III, per report

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens hoping to re-sign Robert Griffin III, per report

Here's your Tuesday roundup of the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player's Notes: 

The Ravens are hoping to re-sign backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, Jeff Zrebiec of TheAthletic.com reports. Playing 2018 on a one-year, $1 million deal, Griffin III appeared in three games, completing 2-of-6 passes for 21 yards. Retaining RGIII would make a ton of sense for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson is their only signed QB at the moment.

Thinking about Jackson handing the ball off to running back Mark Ingram in 2019 certainly has fans excited, and for the Ravens' newest acquisition, he's got plans for the dynamic duo to change the game.

Ronnie Stanley is predicting a bright future for his QB. While speaking on NFL Network's Good Morning Football, the tackle had high regards for how Jackson handled himself his rookie season. 

Safety Tony Jefferson got candid about the Ravens' offseason moves while on NFL Total Access. He admitted that it "hurt a little bit" to see veteran teammates like Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley exit in free agency, but is excited to have a future Hall of Famer in Earl Thomas on his side. .

In AFC North news, the Bengals cut linebacker Vontaze Burfict after seven seasons. The former Pro Bowler played seven games in 2018, totaling 33 combined tackles and 17 assist. 

Looking Ahead: 

March 24-27: Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Az.

April 15: Voluntary OTA's may begin

April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

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Former Ravens great Haloti Ngata retires on top of the world... literally

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Former Ravens great Haloti Ngata retires on top of the world... literally

Defensive lineman Haloti Ngata is one of the greatest Ravens in the franchise’s short history. He made five Pro Bowls in nine years in Baltimore after being selected 12th overall in the 2006 draft, helped lead the team to its second Super Bowl victory in 2013, and was regularly considered one of the best defensive players in the sport.

And yet, his most impressive feat might be his retirement announcement.

Ngata announced this week on Instagram that he was retiring from the NFL after 13 seasons, but it wasn’t your standard retirement. 

The hulking lineman hiked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to post a picture with a customized banner announcing his playing career is over. The banner mentions going out from the NFL “on top,” a fitting phrase for a man standing at Africa’s highest point.

19,341 feet above sea level. For reference, that’s nearly 121 full-length football fields.

Ngata was always a man who embraced challenges, and climbing the world’s tallest free standing mountain certainly qualifies. He has an argument as a top-five player in team history, and now has an argument for top five retirement in league history as well.

The bar has now been set really, really high for future retirement announcements around sports. It’ll be tough to top this one, either in creativity or in literal height.

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