THE GRAPEVINE: It’s gettin’ hot in here!

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Haloti Ngata is seeking a new contract and the Ravens appear determined to get it done for the Pro Bowl defensive tackle – but it won’t be easy. Word is that the starting point for discussions between Ngata’s representatives and the Ravens is the Albert Haynesworth contract. If that’s the case look for Haloti to get hit with the franchise tag faster than Ozzie Newsome can say, “Ngata chance!”

Hundreds of Steelers’ fans in Harford County gathered together for a charity basketball game thanks to the efforts of North Harford High’s varsity football coach Ken Brinkman. That’s right, I did say Steelers fans – Harford County, MARYLAND. Seven Steelers made their way to North Harford High including Santonio Holmes, Charlie Batch, Dennis Dixon, Deshea Townsend and Anthony Madison. Unfortunately most in attendance fell ill due to a batch of improperly aged Iron City Lite.

Brinkman set up the event to raise money for Ben Roethlisberger’s legal expenses for the alleged inappropriate sexual behavior. Apparently the star quarterback’s liquidity is tied up in Pittsburgh area real estate and given the allegations against him Pittsburgh area banks are not inclined to provide Roethlisberger a bridge loan until his roster bonus comes due. And with good reason…the Steelers might not pay that bonus. 

The Rooney Family is completely up in arms in Pittsburgh over Roethlisberger and no one should expect the classy Rooney family to look the other way in the case of their star quarterback. Despite the two Super Bowl wins with Big Ben under center, this proud franchise from what we hear is looking to move Roethlisberger before the huge 8 digit roster bonus becomes due. Word is the Cleveland Browns are interested and Mike Holmgren has already prepared a package that would include Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas plus a few picks in 2010 and 2011.

It isn’t often that impact players like Roethlisberger are traded within a division but given the competitive nature of the Rooneys it makes sense. They may prefer to take their shots at Roethlisberger a couple times per season.

The NFL Draft is just 3 weeks away and the rumors are hot and heavy. One rumor has the Ravens sending Mark Clayton and next year’s No. 2 pick to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for the Chiefs’ second round pick, the 36th overall in 2010. The Ravens would then trade their second round pick in 2010 to the Chiefs in exchange for the Chiefs’ third and fifth round picks in 2010. The deal is a complicated one and hinges on Clayton’s willingness to accept a three year, $6.5 million deal, $5 million of which would be guaranteed. Clayton however is balking on the deal because he wants to go into radio following his playing career and a local sports talker has promised the former Sooner his own talk show for the coming season.

Who said talk was cheap?

Jared Gaither’s name has been front and center in the rumor mill recently and this bit of news will only serve to fan the flames of controversy. Gaither, a player who has never been accused of being fiery or passionate was recently spotted in the Reisterstown area filming an episode of CBS’ Criminal Minds. Gaither reportedly is a huge fan of the series and landed a bit part as an athlete who ventured into politics and has loosely connected ties to a serial killer.

Word on the street is that Gaither was so enamored with the bit part that he now wants to seriously pursue that career path and it could explain why he has been a passive participant in the team’s offseason conditioning program.

We were disappointed when he shot us down to blog for 24×7 and now we’re even more disappointed. Fox 45’s and 105.7 The Fan’s Bruce Cunningham has been named Baltimore’s Blogger of the Year by DCRTV Digest. The award recognizes journalistic achievement on the web. From what we hear Cunningham’s brilliant piece entitled, Enough Already, a riveting account of Baltimore’s snowfall clinched the award for the Ravens’ PA guy.

Speaking of public address, the NFL will now take the handcuffs and mute button off the home team’s game day experience. Scoreboard operators and PA guys can now use props and video to stir the home town team into a frenzy creating an even more dramatic home field advantage.

But before we all have visions of sugar plums and the league’s best 12th man dancing in our collective head, you might want to slow down. A civic activist named Joel Louder who is the President of a not-for-profit organization called The Greater Good for Federal Hill has already approached the City Council about a noise ordinance on Sundays. Louder claims that the NFL’s new policy puts local area churches at risk. Let’s pray that Louder loses this battle.

Many have questioned whether or not Ed Reed will return to patrol the middle of the Ravens’ secondary. Even those close to Reed say that it’s 50-50 whether or not Reed once again dons the purple and black. However one source at the New Orleans Times-Picayune who hails from Reed’s hometown of St. Rose, Louisiana stated that Reed has told the athletic director at his alma mater Destrehan High School that he plans on coaching the Crazy Cajuns this fall.

Anita Marks may not be leaving the Baltimore sports talk landscape after all. Press Box recently landed a daily gig on Fox 1370 and the news has leaked that the host will be none other than Ms. Marks. Her friendly relationship with Press Box mastermind Stan Charles certainly didn’t hurt her cause. Deepening the ties are reports that Marks has been romantically linked to Charles’ nephew Josh of Dead Poets’ Society fame and currently starring in the CBS Series, The Good Wife. Josh for those that don’t know, is a diehard Ravens fan. Apparently Marks doesn’t hold that against him.

Dancing with the Stars is in full bloom and Ravens’ divisional rival Chad Ochocinco is waltzing and tangoing his way into our living rooms a couple nights per week. Now we are hearing that Ochocinco who is a good friend of Ray Lewis, has convinced the face of the Ravens to take his Nelly-It’s-Getting-Hot-in-Here act to the hardwood floors where other footballers like Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Warren Sapp and Jason Taylor have fared well.  If Ray does in fact put on those dancing shoes, you have to wonder if 2010 could be his swansong season.

Happy April Fool’s Day everyone!

 
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About Tony Lombardi

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. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

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