GRAPEVINE: ALMOST OFFICIAL…OGDEN TO RETURN

Lombardi's Way GRAPEVINE: ALMOST OFFICIAL…OGDEN TO RETURN

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We learned this week that the Ravens will open their season on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.  24×7 has learned that the league seriously considered playing the game in Baltimore on September 10 since that was an off day for the Orioles in between two home series.  However Peter Angelos threatened legal action and pointed out some relatively ancient Maryland Blue Law that prevents any major public sporting event from taking place in the city of Baltimore on a Monday following a major sporting event that takes place on the preceding Sunday if the event is from a different sport.  The NFL considered calling Angelos’ bluff but opted instead to concede.
 
Since Steve McNair’s arrival, things have been very quiet for Kyle Boller at least when it comes to football.  But clearly things have been anything but quiet on Boller’s social calendar.  Reports have surfaced that after being spotted in San Francisco with actress Estella Warren he was later seen in Paris with supermodel Valeria Mazza (pictured) pairing up with Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen.  Word is that Brady is quietly campaigning for Boller to join him in New England after his contract expires in Baltimore although most believe that Boller wants to return to the West Coast and his old stomping grounds near the city by the bay. Estella Warren probably concurs.
 
David Carr has indicated that Baltimore is a team he would seriously consider if the numbers are right.  He has stated that Baltimore is a perfect match since Steve McNair would be the clear cut starter and it would allow Carr and entire season to absorb Brian Billick’s offensive system and also benefit from mentoring by McNair.  When questioned about such a move and its impact on Kyle Boller, a close friend of Carr’s, the former Texan stated rather bluntly, “Hey, business is business.”
 
Derrick Mason provided a bit of off the field drama late last season when he complained about being underutilized in the Ravens’ offense despite the team’s 13-3 regular season record.  Mason also volunteered to return punts when B.J. Sams went down just as he had earlier in his NFL career with the Tennessee Oilers and Titans.  Mason pointed out that in 2000 he averaged 13 yards per punt return with a TD and 5 returns over 20 yards without a fumble.  Apparently the Ravens gave the request very little organizational consideration.
 
Jamal Lewis was spotted recently in a Canton establishment and was asked about unflattering comments he made concerning the Ravens offensive line and organization.  Lewis chuckled at the question and then said, “I was just trying to get the new guys who will be blocking for me a little fired up.  I think my boys with the Ravens know where I’m coming from.  Besides, with my 2003 season, I probably made them millions.  They and their families should be thanking me.” 
 
When asked about the organization’s support of him during his trial and incarceration Lewis replied, “Look, they invested a ton in me and they wanted me out on the field as much as possible.  It wasn’t about me, it was about their investment.”  Lewis added, “But I do appreciate the prison where they helped set me up.  It was hardly a prison at all.  They had some good food there but come to think of it, that probably wasn’t a smart thing to do in the grand scheme of things.  I reported [to camp] 30 pounds heavier than I wanted to.”
 
Many have wondered why the Ravens didn’t try and pull off a tag and trade deal for Adalius Thomas and reap something more than a hopeful third round compensatory pick in ’08.  Sources tied to the club tell us that the Redskins were interested in such a deal and they were prepared to offer AD a contract even more lucrative than the one he signed in New England. The Redskins were said to be offering Ladell Betts along with a third round pick in 2008.  But the Ravens recognized that AD did not want to play in Washington and after sending Ozzie’s wife a dozen roses and a gift certificate to Michael’s Pub, Ozzie weakened and opted not to tag AD.  These decisions by the club aren’t as complicated as we sometimes make them out to be.
 
Should I stay or should I go now?  That is a question allegedly torturing Ravens’ All World Tackle Jonathan Ogden.  A fly on the wall of a Vegas country club overheard Ogden telling friends that he’s back to his offseason training regimen and he is planning to give it at least one more go.  The only possible set back could be that left big toe.  Word is that Ogden considered pulling a page out of the Ronnie Lott Handbook from the School of Hard Knocks and cut off the toe.  Doctors may have allowed that if it had been a toe other than that steering wheel digit.  
 
Mike Anderson played the role of good soldier in ’06 and has said very little about his inactivity despite earning $3 million last season.  Finally Anderson has broken his silence.
 
“When I agreed to come to Baltimore, I believed that I would be the man – that I would carry the load.  When they re-signed Jamal, I thought we would fight it out for the starter’s job and I took the approach, ‘May the best man win!’  But it didn’t work out that way and I was kicked to the curb.  There’s plenty left in these legs and if they want to pay me and let me sit, who am I to complain?  Besides, Baltimore is a great town and I absolutely love those crab cakes at Lager’s Pub.”
 
Much ado has been made about former roommates Pacman Jones and Chris Henry and how Commissioner Roger Goodell will deal with both.  Early indications originating from the Biltmore in Arizona where the owners just concluded their meetings suggest that Goodell will force the former Mountaineers into what amounts to a house arrest program.  The NFL will equip both players with 3 karat diamond studded earrings that will contain GPS Satellite chips so that the league will know the whereabouts of both at all times.  We’re told if the league even suspects any violations by either Jones or Henry, the penalty will be an automatic one year suspension for BOTH players and BOTH will have to return all monies paid to them during the 2007 season.  While no longer roommates, clearly the troubled pair will be heavily dependent upon the other.
 
Dan Cody was known in college for his tenaciousness and his determination to do whatever was necessary to get to the quarterback.  Besides the NFL and the Ravens scouting department, Hollywood also took notice.  24×7 has learned that the knee injury Cody suffered last season did not occur on a Ravens playing field but instead it happened on the set of Warner Bros. soon to be released picture starring Adam Sandler, Waterboy II.  Apparently Cody is the stunt double for Sandler and injured the knee after catapulting over an offensive tackle and a fullback to nail the unsuspecting quarterback from the blind side.  The Ravens are hopeful that a healthy Cody can do the same this season on the field at M&T Bank Stadium.  Cody’s orthopedic doctor, the reknowned Dr. Lirpa Loof is confident that the former Boomer Sooner will be 100% by the time the Ravens commence organized team activities.
 
And finally, Ravens fans have felt the cash flow crunch triggered by upward spiraling season ticket costs.  However there could be some relief in the not too distant future.  Unconfirmed sources have indicated that M&T Bank is struggling due to overextending themselves in an aggressive real estate market and they are expecting a significant amount of foreclosures particularly on jumbo loans. 
 
So what does this mean to Ravens season ticket holders?
 
Word is M&T Bank is sending fair warning to the Ravens that their advertising and branding budget is also M T and that there’s a good chance they will default on their agreement with the Ravens to pay millions for the naming rights of the stadium each year. 
 
So where’s the good news? 
 
The manufacturers of Welch’s Grape Jelly are prepared to double M&T’s offer if the additional proceeds are used to offset preseason ticket costs for the next ten years for Ravens PSL owners.  Ravens’ officials are said to be struggling with Welch’s demands that the stadium be called Welch’s Big Grape.  Stay tuned…
 
And by the way Happy April Fools…

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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