The last thing the Baltimore Ravens needed this offseason was more bad news.
Just as the team is trying to bounce back from missing the playoffs for a third consecutive year, promising young cornerback Marlon Humphrey was arrested in Alabama for allegedly stealing a cell phone charger from an Uber driver. Humphrey was charged with third-degree robbery, spent a few hours in a Tuscaloosa County Jail and was later released on $2,500 bond.
The Ravens are still gathering details and Humphrey could eventually be exonerated, according to his attorney.
The team issued a terse statement on the matter: “Marlon told us that it was a misunderstanding regarding a $15 telephone charger, which he thought was his. Our understanding is that he has been interviewed by University of Alabama Police and is cooperating. We are monitoring the situation.”
In short, though, it’s a headache the Ravens do not need right now.
It’s been four months since several players took a knee during the National Anthem in London, and many fans remain angry. One of the Ravens’ goals this offseason should be to reconcile — one way or another — with that portion of the fan base.
A player arrest is not going to help that cause.
In addition, owner Steve Bisciotti announced that he will meet with the media on Feb 2. However, he apparently will not be joined by team President Dick Cass, General Manager Ozzie Newsome or Coach John Harbaugh. Nonetheless, this is a critical time for the fans to hear the owner’s voice about the direction of the team.
The rest of the Ravens brass will likely be available at the pre-draft press conference in the spring. This event is sometimes called “The Liars’ Luncheon” because the team rarely tips its hand with its plans. The discussion that day will likely revolve around football, rather than addressing some of the outside noise.
If the case against Humphrey moves to a grand jury, it could take three to six months to resolve. Either way, the Ravens might need to add depth at cornerback, especially if Jimmy Smith is out for the opening portion of the season with a torn Achilles. The potential return cornerback Tavon Young from a knee injury will certainly help.
These issues will be ironed out over the next several weeks.
Bisciotti likely had a lot to say about the team’s shortfalls during his meeting with front office staff and Harbaugh last week in Florida. He might elaborate on those views when he meets with the media.
The hope among fans is there is an effective plan in place to get the Ravens back to the upper echelon of NFL teams. The only way to accomplish that goal is to win games.
A solution that might easier said than done.