Flacco To Play Unitas In Film. Good Choice?
Flacco will play Unitas "under the helmet" during the final scenes depicting the Colt’s 1958 championship victory.
"I'm excited and honored by the opportunity to play Johnny Unitas,” Flacco said in a statement on the film’s official website.
Joe Unitas, producer and co-writer of the film, believes Flacco is the best choice to play his father because of the parallels he sees between the two quarterbacks.
“Obviously, the Baltimore ties are very important to me," Unitas told The Baltimore Sun. "A lot of the way Joe plays and his demeanor reminds me a lot of my dad. He's not a rah-rah guy. He throws a touchdown and maybe there's a little fist pump. He understands his job is all about winning and he does a phenomenal job leading the offense and the team and obviously they've developed a lot of trust after becoming a champion. He's an awesome teammate and great leader of the team. He does things the right way and is a good role model for kids and he gets what hard work is and does everything he can for the team."
Not everyone in the Unitas family agrees with Joe (Johnny’s son from his second marriage) and his decision to have Flacco play the role. John Jr. (Johnny’s son from his first marriage) not only disagrees with Flacco’s involvement, but also disagrees with the movie itself.
Nonetheless, Flacco is set to start filming this summer. Joe Unitas told The Sun that production will be planned in a way that won’t interfere with Flacco’s football schedule; training camp historically starts in late July and filming is set to begin July 15. The hope is for the entire movie to be filmed in Baltimore.
Joe Unitas would like the film to be released sometime around next year’s Super Bowl. Before that can happen, however, sufficient funds still need to be raised. So Joe Unitas and his team are accepting donations from NFL fans around the country through their website. (Another move John Jr. isn’t happy about.)
"We are under the gun to raise money," Joe Unitas said. "We've set up an opportunity for NFL fans from all over the country to invest into the film."
Are Ravens Bitter At Orioles?
As part of an annual tradition, about 100 Ravens staff members attended Orioles Opening Day last Friday. (I was one of them. It was a blast!)
The Ravens also sent footage for a video the Orioles composed to pay tribute to the Super Bowl champions.
Several Ravens players tweeted about their excitement for the Orioles’ 2013 season.
Orioles Manager Buck Showalter praised the Ravens before the game, saying: "I’m real proud of them, proud to be in a city that they’re a part of. The Ravens mean a lot to Baltimore.”
Despite it all, some are wondering whether the Ravens are bitter at the Orioles because a scheduling conflict prevented some invited Ravens representatives from participating in Opening Day ceremonies. They will try to reschedule for another game.
“Though both sides downplayed the issue, the absence of a Ravens representative on Opening Day is sure to fuel speculation of lingering bitterness between the organizations,” wrote The Sun’s Childs Walker.
And ESPN’s Jamison Hensley did just that – he speculated.
“Maybe I'm reading too much into this, and perhaps it's a coincidence that every single one of the invited Ravens had scheduling conflicts (just like the Ravens and Orioles have a scheduling conflict on Sept. 5),” wrote Hensley. “It seems strange that not one big-name member of the Ravens organization could have been present when the Orioles recognized their championship season.”
The Sun report didn’t say how many big-name Ravens were invited and declined due to the scheduling conflict.
Neither the Orioles nor the Ravens are showing signs of bitterness.
“If there's any tension, it does not reach to the Orioles clubhouse, where many players consider themselves Ravens fans,” wrote Walker. “When both teams were active last fall, Orioles players delighted in attending games at M&T Bank Stadium, where they received loud ovations anytime they appeared on the video boards. Outfielder Adam Jones traveled to watch the Ravens throughout the NFL playoffs.”
Ravens Work Out Buckeyes’ DE Williams
Baltimore is displaying “steady interest” in Ohio State defensive end/outside linebacker Nate Williams, including a private workout and meeting, according to The Sun’s Aaron Wilson.
“Williams draws high marks for toughness, aggressiveness strength, intelligence and instincts,” wrote Wilson. “The question marks on him are chiefly size, his knee injury [microfracture and arthroscopic surgery] and how he'll project to the NFL as an outside linebacker prospect. Draft analysts have compared him to everyone from Erik Walden to Lawrence Sidbury.”
After his surgery, Williams returned in his senior year and notched 40 tackles, 3 1/2 for a loss and two sacks. He is expected to be picked up in the seventh round of the draft or as a rookie free agent.
Checkout the 6-foot-3, 242-pound hybrid pass rusher’s combine workout video.
Steelers Still Relevant?
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says the Pittsburgh Steelers are “on the bubble” when it comes to being relevant, a.k.a. being included in the discussion as a team that could advance to the postseason.
Despite having one the league’s best quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger and a historically strong organizational structure, Mortensen says the defense has lost its way and Mel Kiper says the Steelers’ fear factor is gone.
The Steelers’ relevancy discussion can be heard in the video below.
Ravens’ Pre-Draft Starting Lineup
The Ravens roster is still in flux with the draft, training camp a few more waves of free agency to come. Still, Hensley put together a pre-draft starting lineup with players currently on the roster.
Some of the starters are obvious, including at quarterback and running back. Below are positions that are still up in the air, but Hensley believes these players would start if the season began today:
LDE: Art Jones or
- @untouchablejay4 [Suggs]: 2013 SIZZLE MOBILE!!! complements of #BallSoHardUniversity [Twitter]
- @vleach44: @TheRealJacoby12 Flacco coming for u in Hollywood [Twitter]
- “If the Ravens need more cap room, they will approach fullback
Vonta Leachabout taking a pay cut,” Hensley wrote. “He is due to make $3 million this year. It could lead to his release.” [ESPN]
- Ramon Harewood (@mvpbig) held a youth football camp in his home country of Barbados and he had the support of many teammates … @TorreySmithWR: Almost home...great trip to @Barbados happy to support my bro @mvpbig as he looks to change the mindset of their youth [Twitter]
- @RavensInsider: Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette private workouts with Colts, Panthers and Seahawks, per source. Interest: Texans, Ravens, Patriots, Jets [Twitter]
- @AlbertBreer: #PreempetiveBeatTweet RT @RavensInsider No, I don't think Ravens should pursue Rolando McClain now that he's being cut by the Raiders. [Twitter]
- Ayanbadejo: Up to four players could come out at once [ProFootballTalk.com]
- Ravens' GM Ozzie Newsome did what he had to this offseason and should be applauded. [CBSSports.com]
- Torrey Smith’s WrestleMania XXIX predictions. See if any of them panned out. [NFL.com]
- Rice offered support for Rutgers athletic director [ProFootballTalk.com]
- Below is an infographic of the top 10 average salaries at the quarterback position. [Foxsports.com]