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Robert Griffin III: 'I completely understand' Andrew Luck's decision

Robert Griffin III: 'I completely understand' Andrew Luck's decision

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Late Saturday evening, as Ravens players and coaches ended their nights, news of Andrew Luck’s retirement reverberated throughout the league. 

At their homes, offensive coordinator Greg Roman and quarterback Robert Griffin III — both of whom knew Luck personally — called his retirement shocking.

“I had the opportunity to work with Andrew Luck at Stanford University and it was a great experience working with him,” Roman said. “Obviously, he’s a very talented football player, but he’s a very talented human being as well. I was slightly shocked.”

Roman, the tight ends and offensive tackles coach at Stanford in 2009 and 2010, had worked with Luck early in his Cardinal career. 

In 2010, Luck finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Cam Newton in an offense that was designed by Roman.

“I sent him a text, and I’m sure I’ll talk to him here in the near future,” Roman said. “Andrew, I can’t speak enough for his character and the kind of person he is. He’s a special person and I wish he and his family nothing but the best.”

In the 2011 season, after Roman had left to be the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator, Luck placed second in the Heisman voting once again. This time, he finished behind Griffin.

Luck, 29, and Griffin had been linked for the majority of their careers, starting in the Heisman race in 2011. But Griffin said the two had been linked much earlier than that.

“I’ve always been competing against Andrew silently,” Griffin said. “We both grew up in Texas, we were almost teammates at Stanford. We got to meet through the awards season in college football. At the Heisman, not everybody knows this, but they give you an option to go out and see the city or you can bring all the guys with you. Made the decision to bring everybody with us and it drew us all closer. I’ve always been rooting for him since.”

The two became the first and second overall picks — to the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins — in April of 2012. Since then, the two’s careers had significant hardships. 

Griffin won Rookie of The Year, but suffered a devastating knee injury in the playoffs and never returned to his rookie year status in Washington.

He returned and started games in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, but never regained his firm grip on the position, partially due to a dislocated ankle in the second game of the 2014 season.

He left the Redskins after the 2015 season and then spent a year in Cleveland before he was out of the game altogether in 2017. It’s on that level where Griffin can relate, in some ways, to what Luck is going through.

“When I was out of football in 2017, I can’t say I was to the point where I was making the decision to retire,” Griffin began. “But, I was at the point where you’re tired of being injured, tired of being hurt and tired of going through that process. I think he called it pain, injury, rehab, and just repeating that process over and over and over. I can completely understand where he’s coming from.”

Luck had injury problems of his own in his career, of which the injuries were not insignificant. 

Added up, Luck decided it was best for him to retire. The news broke, however, during a Colts preseason game. That left time for Indianapolis fans to find out the news, and let their displeasure heard in the form of booing as Luck left the field.

“We’re looked at as superheroes and not human beings,” Griffin said. “For him to have that human element, to express it in the press conference after the game, go and talk to the media and answer questions, I thought that was really big.”

With Luck out of the game, the top two picks linked in everyone’s minds from an increasingly-infamous 2012 draft is now down to one.

Everyone in the NFL, however, in former teammates or competitors know just how special of a career that Luck had.

“For a guy to go out and do what he’s done in his six or seven years, it’s been amazing,” Ravens special teams coach Chris Horton said. “That guy, whatever he is going to do, has made the right decision for himself and that’s really what it comes down to. This game of football, we all love it. I saw his press conference, and he just talked about how much he loved football. It’s true, but we all also understand that at some point we’ve got to think about life after football a little bit.”

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Ravens lead all teams in Pro Bowl votes, but still have bigger aspirations

Ravens lead all teams in Pro Bowl votes, but still have bigger aspirations

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The unique aspect of the Pro Bowl is that no player on a contending team actually wants to play in the game. 

That’s the position the Ravens are in, as they top the league with six players on the roster currently leading in Pro Bowl voting. 

Quarterback Lamar Jackson, fullback Patrick Ricard, tackle Orlando Brown Jr., guard Marshal Yanda, kicker Justin Tucker and cornerback Marcus Peters all lead their position groups in voting. 

Jackson leads all vote-getters by nearly 30,000 votes, ahead of second-place quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

But the Ravens, while flattered by the voting, aren’t ready to concern themselves with the Pro Bowl.

“Yes, I've seen it, but I'm not really worried about the Pro Bowl voting or Pro Bowl,” Jackson said. “I'm trying to win games. That's all I can say. I'm trying to win, trying to get to the Super Bowl. Pro Bowl, if it comes, it comes, but I want to go to the Super Bowl. That's my goal.”

Jackson is currently an MVP candidate in an apparent two-quarterback race between Russell Wilson and him. 

Ricard, Brown and Yanda are part of perhaps the NFL’s best offense, while Tucker has missed just one field goal and one extra point all season. Peters has two defensive touchdowns in four games with the Ravens.

“Obviously it's a blessing, but what's important to me is making it to the Super Bowl,” Brown said. “And obviously, that's a long way away. I understand that individual accolades come with winning, but ultimately, I want to do what's best for this franchise and this team and bring home a Super Bowl.”

Since the Pro Bowl is played the weekend before the Super Bowl, players on Super Bowl teams don’t participate in the game. 

So while the Ravens might add to their list of six with players like Mark Andrews, Marlon Humphrey and Ronnie Stanley, the goal is to have them not play at all.

“I think at the end of the day it’s cool, it’s definitely cool for guys to be getting voted in,” Andrews said. “I think it speaks to the team, it speaks for everybody in the locker room being able to play. It’s a team game. For me, I think it’d be awesome to be voted to the Pro Bowl, no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, there’s only one goal in my mind and that’s to win a Super Bowl.”

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Eric Weddle claims he won’t give up Ravens’ secrets to Rams

Eric Weddle claims he won’t give up Ravens’ secrets to Rams

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Eric Weddle, at least publicly, claims he won’t give up intel about his old team. 

Weddle spoke with ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry and said he won’t give up any of the Ravens’ secrets to the Rams. Weddle played for the Ravens for three seasons prior to leaving for Los Angeles last offseason. 

"I could tell them a lot of stuff, but that's just not who I am," Weddle told Thiry. "So we're going to play it on the field, and the best team is going to win."

Weddle has a good relationship, even still, with Ravens players and coaches. But for at least this week, there’s been radio silence.

John Harbaugh isn’t concerned about whether or not Weddle will give up information either way. 

“I don’t think it’s that big a deal,” Harbaugh said. “Everything is on tape. It’s not anything that they can’t figure out just by watching the tape.”

In Baltimore, Weddle was praised for his ability to put the defense in the right spots and was known as one of the smartest players in the secondary. 

Weddle, a 13-year veteran, signed a two-year, $10.5 million contract with Los Angeles after being released by the Ravens in March. Weddle was replaced with Earl Thomas. 

On the other side, the Ravens have new cornerback Marcus Peters, who was traded from the Rams to the Ravens in October. Peters was vague about if he’d make the same commitment Weddle did.

“I’m just focused on us,” Peters said when asked about giving intel to the Ravens. “We’re going to go down there. We have a game to play on Monday night and we’re just going to go out there and do our best.” 

As for how much his knowledge would help the Rams defense, Harbaugh said he’s more concerned with Weddle the player than Weddle the informant.

“Eric is a great guy,” Harbaugh said. “Much ado about nothing, to be honest with you. It’s more of a story than it is an issue. Eric is a great guy. He knows a lot of football. Just watch him play.”

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