RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Update on Kindle, New Rules & More

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Update on Kindle, New Rules & More

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NEW ORLEANS — Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Sergio Kindle would face potential punishment under the personal conduct policy if he’s convicted of a driving under the influence charge during the NFL lockout.

He’s due in Maryland district court May 18 after being arrested and charged in January in Savage.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello both affirmed at the annual league meetings that the personal conduct policy will be applied after the work stoppage is over. And the league intends to keep an eye on any arrests or other off-field issues that occur during the lockout.

"The personal conduct policy continues," Goodell said. "It applies to everybody in the league. I don’t know how it would apply to the players under this circumstance, but it’s something that I feel strongly about, that we owe to our fans.

"We owe it to our game, the respect for the people who played the game before us and that were involved with the game before us. That’s something that’s important to the league, that’s important to our fans and I believe it’s ultimately important to the people involved with the NFL."

If convicted, it’s unlikely that Kindle would face a harsh punishment from the league as it’s his only criminal offense since entering the league last year as a second-round draft pick from the University of Texas.

ZBIKOWSKI TO FIGHT SATURDAY: Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski won by technical knockout in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.

Now, he’s set to take on former cage fighting middleweight champion Caleb "True Grit" Grumment in Atlantic City Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall.

A former Gold Gloves champion, Zbikowski has won both of his professional bouts by first-round knockouts.

His last fight ended in less than two minutes with a powerful body blow against a so-so opponent. Grummet has fought one boxing match professionally with the fight ending in a draw.

"I would like to watch that, but I haven’t had a chance to see that yet," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings. "I blink and I miss it, right?"

Harbaugh said he’s not worried about Zbikowski getting hurt in the ring.

"Tom said there’s no risk of injury so I guess I’m taking him at his word," Harbaugh said. "That’s why my quote was keep your left up that’s the risk of injury, getting hit."

Zbikowski weighed in at 193 pounds for his Las Vegas fight.

He staying active and fit during the lockout, albeit with a different spot

"One good thing about it is he’s going to be in great shape," Harbaugh said. "You can’t get in football shape boxing just like I’m sure you can’t get in boxing shape unless you box. You can’t get in football shape unless you play football.

"I don’t worry about Zibby being in football shape. I know it’s very important to him. As a coach, I feel okay about that because I know football is very important to him."

RAVENS WORKING OUT HUDSON: The Ravens are scheduled to conduct an individual workout with Florida State lineman Rodney Hudson this week, according to his agent.

Hudson is also slated to work out for the Miami Dolphins.

He’s a two-time winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, recognized as the top offensive lineman in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Hudson is regarded as a hard-nosed lineman who plays with intensity.

"I have knowledge of the game and a willingness to learn," Hudson said. "I use good technique to do my job. I definitely have a nasty streak. I go into a different mode on the field."

KICKOFF RULE CHANGED: The NFL shifted kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, a move unpopular with teams that have good kickoff returners.

Initially, the competition committee had recommended a proposal moving touchbacks to the 25-yard line and eliminating the two-man wedge on kickoffs.

The Ravens voted in favor of a revised proposal that took out the touchback change and wedge rule.

"We can live with the ball at the 35-yard line, although to me that doesn’t help our football team," Harbaugh said. "Without question, I’d rather it all stay the same."

The NFL adopted the rules in the interest of player safety.

"It’ll eliminate some of the head and neck injuries," Harbaugh said. "It’s not specific enough to limit a blocking scheme. To me, it’s a reasonable, one-step approach. But it’ll be an advantage for the kickoff team, and help the defenses, generally.

"It really hurts the Browns, and the Bears, and the teams with great return guys. Half of it got rejected, so it got amended, so it got changed a lot. They respected everyone’s concerns about it."

Harbaugh said he thinks the committee might be going too far.

"I think we all agree that we don’t want to go overboard and you don’t want to do too much," Harbaugh said. "You want to work your way into what you have to do It’s such a huge change for the game. We’ve been kicking off since 1869.

"It’s kind of cool when the crowd gets all excited and the band is playing. It’s kind of anticlimactic. At the same time, it’s a conundrum. Everybody recognizes that you have these plays where guys are running full speed down the field and it’s like car wrecks all the time. So, how do you deal with that?

Harbaugh said he believes kickoffs won’t be as challenging to cover now.

"It’s going to be easier to cover a kick now," Harbaugh said. "The geometry of the play will change. The kicking team will be more on top of the return scheme, and plus they’ll be more touchbacks."

He expects faster players to be recruited for the kickoff team.

"You’ll see more speed," Harbaugh said. "But that’s already happened the last couple years, because the wedge has been eliminated."

LANDRY COULD BE IN DEMAND: Ravens strong safety Dawan Landry could become a fairly hot commodity if he’s ruled an unrestricted free agent due to a weak rookie draft class at his position.

"Dawan has earned everything he’s gotten," Harbaugh said. "I talked to Dawan in the past. Dawan wants to be a Raven and we want him to be a Raven. The economics is something he’ll have to decide on, but the opportunities are going to be there. In this market, how’s it going to go?"

AYANBADEJO ON THE MEND: Three-time Pro Bowl special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo never fully recovered from a torn quadriceps suffered during the 2009 season against the New England Patriots.

He underwent surgery and missed the first six game s of last season on the physically unable to perform list.

"I don’t think he was ever back to his old form last year, but he got better," Harbaugh said. "With another good offseason, he’s kind of back to form. The thing about Brendon is he’s really fast. The guy runs a 4.5 still and he takes care of himself. He’s going to be a big part of our team, injuries notwithstanding next year."

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh was amused by the false reports that he had attended the Missouri Pro Day workout to scout quarterback Blaine Gabbert and that the Ravens were going to conduct a private workout for the top draft prospect. Harbaugh was confused with his brother, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. "Maybe we’re scouting for each other to cover our tracks that way," he said. … The Ravens aren’t ruling out bringing back free agent reserve linebacker and special-teams contributor Prescott Burgess, their leading tackler in kick coverage for the past two seasons. "I can’t ever say I don’t want a guy back," Harbaugh said. "I want them all back. Yet you want to find a way to make your team better in different ways. I think he’s a proven special teams guy. He’s a proven backup linebacker and I think on another team he could possibly be a starting linebacker. That’s something that Prescott is going to have to decide. He’s got a role on our team if we can make it work."

 

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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