Lombardi's Way RUMOR MILL: A Ray Lewis Comeback? Draft Day Trades and More

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In the 2013 NFL Draft the Baltimore Ravens have 12 picks and given the depth on the roster, it is highly unlikely that the team will have room on their 53-man roster to accommodate them all. Therefore don’t be surprised to see them trade up and sacrifice a couple of picks or trade 2013 picks for higher selections in 2014.

Word is the Ravens will look to take a quarterback in 2014 as they prepare for the possible departure of Joe Flacco. Keep in mind that Flacco’s deal is structured very much like a 3-year deal and the Ravens just might want to groom an heir apparent and have him ready to take the reins of the offense during the 2016 season.

With the 11th pick in Round 2 of the 2010 NFL Draft the Ravens selected Sergio Kindle. However the team nearly made a swap with the Buffalo Bills to move up two spots in front of New England to select Rob Gronkowski. Now that he’s no longer with the team, we’ve recently learned that it was none other than Cam Cameron who convinced Ozzie Newsome to kill that deal.

Cameron believed that Gronk was not the kind of player who could be effective in his offensive scheme, preferring a more vertical threat at the position. One round later the Ravens selected Ed Dickson even though Ravens’ TE Coach Wade Harman preferred Jimmy Graham who ended up with the New Orleans Saints.

Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome pulled off what many have labeled a “rabbit out of the hat” when the team signed Elvis Dumervil. The club is excited about pairing the former Bronco up with Terrell Suggs to give the Ravens a solid one-two punch in their pass rush for years to come.

Word is that Dumervil actually took less money to become a Raven than the payola included in the final offer extended by John Elway in Denver. But that might simply be the local spin on the deal.

Recently we’ve heard that the quarterback nemesis is still recovering from knee surgery that he underwent just days after the Broncos fell to the Ravens in the Divisional Playoff Game. There’s no definitive word on how this will affect Dumervil’s season in 2013 but one insider thinks it could limit him a bit through October.

Ravens fans are clearly up in arms and feel disrespected by the NFL for not moving the league’s opening night to Wednesday September 4 from Thursday September 5. The Jewish Holiday Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown on the 4th, has been used as a convenient excuse for the league not to accommodate the Ravens who have a scheduling conflict with the Orioles.

However, a source close to RSR has shared that the Rooney Family, which owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, vehemently opposed the Wednesday opening citing weaker TV ratings and that they believed such a move would be an unfair advantage for the Ravens giving them an extra day of rest for their second opponent which could be Pittsburgh.

Two very unpopular Ravens moves were the trade of Anquan Boldin and the release of Bernard Pollard. Give the Ravens credit for taking the high road and the accompanying criticisms without going public with the real reasoning behind these controversial decisions.

From what we’ve been able to gather, Boldin was offered an extension over 2 seasons and could have received the $6M due him in 2013 as an upfront bonus if he agreed to lower the total payout to $10M over 2 seasons. He declined.

Pollard’s situation was much different. After the Ravens loss to the Broncos back in December, Pollard laid into Joe Flacco for the pick 6 that dramatically changed the momentum of the game. The incident was never totally forgotten but instead professionally set aside for the good of the team. Teammates knew that the move was coming shortly after the close of the season and that’s why few if any were surprised by Pollard’s release.

The players have since made amends but owner Steve Bisciotti had seen enough of Pollard’s antics and ordered what amounted to a Code Red to get rid of the hard-hitting and oft penalized safety.

Expect some lineup changes at Sports talker 105.7 The Fan. Word is that Scott Garceau’s sidekick Jeremy Conn will soon be following in the footsteps of sports handicapper Brandon Lane and is heading for Vegas. Insiders say don’t be shocked to see a return of the controversial lightening rod named Anita Marks.

The station also expects the return of Mark Viviano, likely in the morning drive slot now covered by the engaging tandem of Norris & Davis whose contracts are about to expire. Viviano’s probable sidekick is likely to be Glenn Younes who now mans the 6-9PM slot. Expect a formal announcement later this month.

You’ve heard that the Maryland Stadium Authority has approved some great new enhancements to M&T Bank Stadium that will be implemented over the next 2 seasons. Yet that hasn’t made all fans happy, particularly those who have been clamoring for an escalator to the stadium’s upper deck.

Finally those cries have been heard and the Ravens have a solution.

By the 2014 season a two-tiered escalator will be installed on the north end of the stadium, just west of Unitas Plaza.

Fans interested in using the escalator can purchase what amounts to an EZ Pass wristband when they pay for their season tickets. The team believes that such controls are needed to mitigate potential injury risks if the escalator is used by too many. There’s no definitive word on the costs of this EZ Pass but early estimates are $100 per season.

With a Super Bowl Trophy comes greater notoriety. As the NFL tries to expand its brand globally they are now considering the defending World Champions to be the host of the league’s annual contest at Wembley Stadium in London. And those plans could be as early as the 2013 season.

Ravens fans who like to travel with the team, get your passports ready!

You have probably heard that Ray Lewis is campaigning to be on the cover of Madden 14. Placing a retired player on the cover would amount to an unprecedented move by game maker EA Sports.  However a spokesperson from EA speaking under the condition on anonymity, has shared that he would not be surprised if Lewis changes his mind about retirement. Ozzie Newsome is said to be open to the idea since the team lost out in the Dannell Ellerbe sweepstakes. Getting Ray in under the cap could be challenging and such a move would undoubtedly put an end to the team’s current plan to bring back Bart Scott.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is the founder EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com. His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Report and Armchair Quarterback both seen and heard on Fanimal Radio. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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