Now that the preseason schedule has been set the Ravens have named their preseason broadcast team. Last year the club used the WBAL Radio feed for the games shown on WBAL TV and MASN. Recognizing the inefficiencies of that format, the team has opted to bring in Orioles announcer Jim Hunter as the play-by-play man and they are turning to Tony Kornheiser for color commentary.
Speaking of TV broadcasts, the NFL has announced their prime time games and the Ravens are looking at three. The Ravens will host a Monday Night game against the Denver Broncos and they will be on the road for Sunday Night games against both the Chargers and the Patriots. Dates have not yet been announced.
Mike Tomlin was recently on record endorsing the Ravens as the AFC North favorites: "You have to like Baltimore. They won 11 games last year with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback. They have a good football team. They have a great defense, they have a quarterback who proved he’s their quarterback of the future, he’s a guy on the rise. You have to respect that."
What wasn’t reported was the context of Tomlin’s comments…
Apparently the Steelers’ skipper made those comments on WISH 99.7 in Pittsburgh, a station known for its crotch humor. Word is that Tomlin mocked the Ravens and referred to their head coach as John “Softbaugh.” It didn’t end there. Tomlin later added some derogatory comments about Joe Flacco’s “eyebrow” and suggested that he try some Nair to split the “uni-brow.”
WNST has heavily promoted their website as of late and they are now leading with the web and not their rodent powered radio station. Rumor has it that station management is close to selling the 1570 location on the dial to a company owned by Dr. Phil McGraw, more popularly known as simply “Dr. Phil.” Insiders expect the new station format to be mental health and wellness, aka psycho-babble. WNST.net still plans on broadcasting their sports programs via the internet.
Darrius Heyward-Bey according to some sources had fallen out of favor with the Ravens’ scouting staff until his recent private workout with the team. The word most often used to describe DHB’s effort during the workout was “spectacular.” One source said that Heyward-Bey ran a blistering 4.1 40-yard dash and caught every pass thrown his way by Joe Flacco including a breathtaking one-handed toe tapping grab at the back of the end zone.
The Ravens Ring of Honor has certainly fielded more than its fair share of criticism, some of it from this very keyboard. According to one source the Ravens have been listening and apparently they agree with the critics.
Current members in the Ring except for Jonathan Ogden will be placed in a newly established group of distinction called the Inner Circle. The Ring of Honor will from this point forward include only perennial Pro Bowl players or those who like Ogden are sure-fire Hall of Famers.
Jason Brown’s new contract with the St. Louis Rams has yet to be approved by the league and if it isn’t approved by the time of the NFL Draft, some sources believe that Brown will be returned to the Ravens. If this happens, Brown will receive a one year contract equal to the average of the top 10 paid centers in the league. Should Brown return to the Ravens, look for a draft day trade between the Ravens and the Rams that might involve a swap of first round picks.
While we’re on the topic of the Ravens and Rams, insiders say that Torry Holt would already be a Raven if not for the contractual demands of Derrick Mason. Apparently if he isn’t extended at least one more season, Mason will retire should Holt arrive with a contract that is two years or longer. Until Mason’s contract is addressed, Holt who is a good friend of Mason’s will not visit Baltimore
Some stadium news…the Ravens are among the teams being considered to “host” a regular season game at Wembley Stadium during the 2010 season and that is something that is likely to upset PSL owners particularly during a season when ticket prices are normally held steady. You may recall that the team typically increases prices in odd numbered seasons.
M&T Bank Stadium is set to be the locale for the sequel to The Replacements which starred Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman. Both are said to be returning to star in the follow up which carries the working title, “Replaced Again.” Filming for the movie is scheduled to begin this October and there’s a chance that a scheduling conflict could arise with the Ravens. If that happens, Steve Bisciotti (who apparently will profit immensely from the film) and Orioles owner Peter Angelos have worked out an agreement to allow the Ravens to play at Oriole Park. As a final note on the filming of Replaced Again, word is that Bisciotti opted for the film instead of an M&T Bank Stadium date for U2. I guess he found what he was looking for.
Finally, Joe Flacco is expected to throw out the first pitch during Opening Day on Monday at OPACY. The Ravens signal caller is set to wear the new road jersey emblazoned with Baltimore on the front and the number 5 with B. Robinson across the back. Don’t be surprised to see Ed Reed joining Flacco wearing number 20 with F. Robinson along his shoulders. Reed is a very accomplished baseball player and some have even suggested that given his neck and shoulder nerve impingement that he take the game more seriously and take a swing (pun intended) at being the Baltimore area’s first two-time professional athlete. The buzz around Owings Mills is that Reed is seriously considering doing exactly that.
Happy April Fool’s Day!