ABERDEEN — Joe Flacco pivoted smoothly, stepping into a throw with textbook form before accurately delivering the ball to his intended target.
Although the motion was a familiar one for the Baltimore Ravens’ starting quarterback, it was a different venue and sport Sunday as Flacco fielded a ground ball and threw a runner out at first base during offensive guard Ben Grubbs’ celebrity softball game Sunday at Ripken Stadium.
Such is life for an NFL player during a lockout that has lasted 86 days.
There might be reason for increased optimism, though, about the labor dispute following what’s been characterized as a productive meeting between owners and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith last week in Chicago.
“I try to be pretty positive about it,” Flacco told the Ravens24x7.com. “I have no idea what the meetings are about and what they mean and don’t mean. I’ m trying to stay optimistic about it. When it happens, it happens.
“Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later. I’m pretty positive we’re going to get something done and have a full season. We’ll be ready when it’s time to go.”
Ravens backup safety Haruki Nakamura noted that the attempted secrecy of the meeting failed, but was pleased by what he’s hearing about the dialogue that went on.
Supervised mediation talks for this week were cancelled because the owners and players’ representatives are engaged in confidential settlement discussions.
“I’m more optimistic about what came from it rather than them just getting together,” Nakamura said. “That they’re saying something actually came from it makes you feel that way. It’s progress. We’re not stuck in a stalemate. Obviously, we’re starting to figure it out. That’s the biggest thing.”
The boredom of a lockout that’s now in its third month is definitely setting in.
“I’m starting to look a little too big, these workouts are adding up,” Ravens second-round wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “It gets a little dull. Hopefully, something will get done soon. I have faith in them. I try to stay informed about what’s going on. I feel like it’s coming along.”
Rookies are affected negatively by the work stoppage as much as anyone.
For Ravens sixth-round quarterback Tyrod Taylor, a recent film session with Flacco, Smith and wide receiver Tandon Doss was invaluable.
He also obtained a copy of a complete playbook, courtesy of Flacco.
“I did learn a lot,” Taylor said. “We sat down and went over the playbook. Joe told us how to break it down. I try to study as much as I can because you can’t really watch a lot of film. We got a jumpstart.
“It’s one thing to look at the playbook and it’s another to put it into practice. It’s real tough, especially from the quarterback standpoint. You want to be able to watch film. It’s kind of difficult, but I’m not the only rookie quarterback going through this.”
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times