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RAVENS RUMORMILL: London, Contract Clauses & New Unis

Lombardi's Way RAVENS RUMORMILL: London, Contract Clauses & New Unis

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It is no secret that one of the Ravens’ offseason objectives was and is to find a free safety to pair up with Matt Elam. Word is that Ozzie Newsome and his merry band of capable front office execs had their collective sights set on former Bill Jairus Byrd. The Ravens were said to be close to a 5-year deal with the 3-time All Pro until the Saints came marching in.

Byrd was waiting to board a flight to Baltimore at Buffalo Niagara International Airport when his agent called to notify Byrd that he had redirected his travel plans to the Big Easy. The rest as they say is history.

To make matters worse the other FS the Ravens coveted was Malcolm Jenkins. Thinking they had a deal with Byrd, the Ravens throttled down on Jenkins. That left an opening for the Eagles to swoop in on the 2010 second-team All Pro leaving the Ravens empty handed. The team now hopes to fill the job opening in the 2014 NFL Draft. Otherwise they’ll lean on recently signed safety Darian Stewart.

Another of the vows Ozzie Newsome made during the State of the Ravens presser was to get bigger at the interior of the team’s offensive line. In other words he wanted someone bigger and better than Gino Gradkowski and the object of Ozzie’s desire was none other than Cleveland’s Alex Mack.

The Ravens were prepared to offer Mack nearly an identical deal that they gave to Eugene Monroe but Mack’s demands were a bit too extreme. Word is that he wanted $10M per season for the first 3 seasons, all of which would be guaranteed. And as ridiculous as it sounds he also demanded to wear No. 55. The Ravens then turned their attention towards Jeremy Zuttah.

Speaking of the No. 55, you’ve heard that the Ravens will honor Ray Lewis with a statue in his likeness to be placed in Unitas Plaza. The artist hired to handle the sculpting was Susan Luery, known for her work on the Babe Ruth statue at the entrance to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

You may recall that the Ruth statue portrays the native Baltimorean with a right-handed baseball glove. Luery’s first rendition of the Lewis statue had him wearing No. 55. The setback has the scheduled completion date – the Ravens home opener, in jeopardy.

This snafu has Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti a bit up in arms. Sources have indicated that as part of an effort to placate the team since last season’s World Champions did not host the season opener, the Ravens will host the first Sunday Night Football game in 2014 against the Carolina Panthers. The Ravens want to honor Ray Lewis and feature the statue prominently on the national stage.

While we’re on the subject of schedules there’s a very good chance that the Ravens will be playing across the pond at Wembley Stadium in 2015. The league has vowed to play more games in London and Steve Bisciotti has said often that he would like his team to be one of the participants.

The two games under consideration for Wembley are those against the Rams (scheduled at M&T) and a road game scheduled in Oakland. Only one will be selected. Wembley officials are campaigning for the game featuring the Raiders.

Back to potential free agent signings for a moment, LeGarrette Blount narrowed his choices to the Ravens and the Steelers. The Ravens offer was a near mirror image of the deal Blount ultimately signed with the Steelers. Blount initially was leaning the way of Baltimore and would have become a Raven if the team removed a conduct clause from the Blount offer.

Apparently the Ravens had some concerns about Blount’s extra curricular activities. You may recall that prior to last season’s AFC Championship game, Bill Belichick warned Blount, “Don’t be stupid” prior to their trip out to Denver where recreational usage of marijuana is permitted.

The Ravens wanted Blount to sign off on a deal whereby one positive test for pot would cancel out his contract. The Steelers weren’t concerned and ultimately landed the big back they sought to pair up with Le’Veon Bell. Blount has vowed revenge against Baltimore and will get his chance twice annually.

As you are probably aware CBS Sports will broadcast eight Thursday night games this season as part of their new primetime package. In the spirit of NBC with Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood and NFL Network with Priyanka Chopra, CBS plans to open their games with P!nk who will do a variation of her song “Get The Party Started” with altered lyrics befitting of the NFL.

It looks like the 10-2 point guard on 105.7 The Fan will be dishing to a new wingman soon. RSR has learned that Rob Long’s sidekick for 2 years, Vinny Cerrato is moving on. Cerrato has accepted the GM position with Charm City’s other professional football team, the Baltimore Mariners. No truth to the rumor suggesting that Albert Haynesworth is coming out of retirement to reconnect with his benefactor.

A replacement for Cerrato has not yet been named but we hear that Mark Viviano is considering a comeback and his dulcet tones could soon make their way back to the airwaves.

Staying with radio and CBS, the network is making a strong push to make 105.7 The Fan the home of the Ravens. If successful CBS plans to restore Scott Garceau to the play-by-play mic while his sidekicks we’re told will be Bruce Laird and Tony Siragusa.

Many variations of new NFL uniforms have been floated about, including a few forgettable renditions of a new-look Ravens uniform. And while the stodgy NFL debates such change, likely landing on something that fills their bank account best, the Ravens plan to go with their black jersey as the primary home uniform.

Early indications are that the league is requiring the team to use the white pants but will allow the black pants as part of the alternate uniform program.

Back in 2011 Joe Flacco contributed to the Ravens fourth round draft selection of Indiana Hoosier Tandon Doss. Doss, then thought to be a solid possession receiver with very good hands never approached the expectations that Flacco and the team had for the current Jaguar. But that selection did trigger an event that could have rippling effects.

A league agent speaking under the condition of anonymity has informed RSR that contained within Joe Flacco’s contract is a very unique and interesting clause. Apparently Flacco must be involved in any selection of a tight end or receiver after the first round of any draft as long as Flacco starts 75% or more of the team’s games the prior season.

Let’s just hope that his first contribution in the Ravens’ draft war room isn’t a sign of things to come.

Happy April Fool’s Day everyone!

Bronze Ray Lewis statue courtesy of RedSkins Fury on Ravens24x7 message board

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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. He also hosts Backfield in Motion with Justin Forsett seen on ABC2 every Saturday at 1PM. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. He ignores the passengers in cars beside him who laugh. Follow Tony's new Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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