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Late For Work 4/9: Ravens Are Favorites To Sign Brian Urlacher

Posted Apr 9, 2013

When will Ravens visit White House? Could Hopkins replace Boldin? Joe Unitas statement on Flacco casting.


Ravens Are Favorites To Sign Urlacher

Former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has been sitting on the free agent market for about three weeks with no real prospects of joining a team yet.

As of last Friday, Urlacher had only talked with a few teams, all of which are contenders and a signing is not imminent, per ProFootballTalk.com.

However, online sports book Bovada has the odds of Urlacher’s next landing spot, and Baltimore is the favorite with the New York Giants coming in second. Below are all the favorites and their odds:

Baltimore Ravens                  9/4

New York Giants                    5/2       

Cincinnati Bengals                 7/2       

Denver Broncos                     4/1       

Minnesota Vikings                  6/1       

Atlanta Falcons                      6/1       

Oakland Raiders                    8/1

When looking at the odds in context of the Ravens’ recent youth trend, especially on defense, it appears Bovada has overestimated the likelihood of an Urlacher-Ravens marriage. Urlacher will turn 35 in May, and the Ravens have parted ways with most of their players above the age of 30.

Linebacker Ray Lewis (37) and center Matt Birk (36) retired; safety Ed Reed (34) signed with the Houston Texans; linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (36) and guard Bobbie Williams (36) were released; receiver Anquan Boldin (32) was traded.

Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie (33) and nose tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu (34) haven’t been re-signed. The only players over 30 currently on the roster are cornerback Chris Johnson (33) and fullback Vonta Leach (31).

Urlacher’s production has slowed recently. He appeared in just 12 games last season and notched 68 tackles, his lowest career mark for a season (except for 2009 when he missed almost the entire season after sustaining a dislocated wrist in the season opener).

While Bovada has the Ravens as the favorites to land Urlacher, analysts have a different projection for another free-agent acquisition. Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby has been analysts’ popular projection for the Ravens after he was cut by the Dolphins following their signing of Dannell Ellerbe.

If the Ravens do decide to sign a veteran inside linebacker, it likely wouldn’t happen until after the draft.

When Will Ravens Visit White House?

Wide receiver Torrey Smith revealed that the date for the Ravens’ White House visit has been scheduled.

He just failed to say what that date is.

White House date and ring ceremony dates are set!!!!! I feel like we just won all over again thinking about it,” Smith tweeted.

Running back Damien Berry revealed on Instagram two weeks ago that the Ravens’ ring ceremony, a private event, is during the first week of June.

The president's tradition of recognizing sports champions by hosting a celebratory gathering in Washington D.C. can be traced as far back as President Andrew Johnson, who was in office from 1865-1869 and invited baseball teams to the White House.

The dates of the last five Super Bowl champion visits doesn’t offer much insight as to when this summer the Ravens may head down to visit with President Barack Obama.

Super Bowl XLVI Champion New York Giants visited June 8.
Super Bowl XLV Champion Green Bay Backers visited Aug. 13.
Super Bowl XLIV Champion New Orleans Saints visited Aug. 9.
Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers visited May 21.
Super Bowl XLII Champion New York Giants visited May 1.

President Obama has already congratulated Head Coach John Harbaugh and General Manager Ozzie Newsome, via phone, noting how impressed he was with how much adversity the Ravens overcame.

“If you could tell Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Jacoby Jones and Ray Lewis – tell them all how proud we are of them and I know I’m going to get a chance to congratulate you guys personally at the White House at some point, but in the meantime, just let everyone know that the whole country was proud with the way the team conducted itself,” Obama said in February.

Ravens Met With Hopkins, Could He Replace Boldin?

The Ravens met with Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins at the scouting combine and have maintained interest in the young prospect, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.

The Atlantic Coast Conference standout declared early for the draft after recording 82 catches for 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior and is projected to be a first-round pick.

Legendary talent evaluator Gil Brandt says he sees a young Anquan Boldin when he studies Hopkins’ tape.

“Hopkins plays faster than his [pre-draft workout] times,” Brandt wrote. “He has experience as a basketball player and inherently knows how to use his body to get in position to catch the football. He reminds me a lot of Anquan Boldin, though he's actually faster than Boldin was when he came out of Florida State. Hopkins is also very athletic.”

“If the Ravens believe that Hopkins may one day be a similar player to Boldin, they could scribble his name on their draft card when the finish off the first round of the NFL draft with the 32nd overall pick,” wrote The Sun’s Matt Vensel. “It is highly unlikely he will still be on the board when they are back on the clock at the end of the second.”

Joe Unitas Issues Statement On Flacco Casting

After announcing Flacco will portray Baltimore great Johnny Unitas in the upcoming film “Unitas We Stand,” some Unitas family members voiced their disapproval of casting Flacco to play the role.

Joe Unitas, the producer and co-writer of the film, issued a statement, via The Baltimore Sun, apologizing to Flacco for the criticism.

To whom it may concern:

Yesterday, in the wake of all the positive news about Joe Flacco’s involvement with our movie Unitas We Stand, John Unitas Jr, and his son JC Unitas chose to take a negative view on our decision to have Joe play my dad in the scenes of the ’58 championship game, and of the project itself.

First I’d like to apologize to Joe, his family, agent, and the Ravens organization for any embarrassment these comments may have caused. Joe is a respectable man, a great player, and very similar to my Dad in many ways. The Ravens organization is top notch and I respect them very much. Both deserve better.

These disparaging remarks come from two places, ignorance of the facts, and passion for a Father and Grandfather.

Because of our common respect for Dad I’m willing to overlook any negative comments made by any member of my family and to put aside petty issues from the past.  I would more than welcome an open discussion about Unitas We Stand and any potential involvement they might want to have. At the end of the day this movie is not about me riding the coattails of my father.  It’s about Dad...the challenges he faced, and unbelievable hardships he had to overcome along the way to achieving his goal of becoming a professional football player. It’s my hope that this movie will serve as a reminder to older generations, and inspire younger ones, that with hard work and dedication anything is possible. This is a story that, in my opinion, captures the real struggle of my Dad to become one of the greatest players of all time.  I’m grateful that Tom Callahan  has entrusted his book to me and my team to make a great movie that’s much bigger than football…it’s a true story about faith, determination, and the triumph of the human spirit. My Dad deserves the best and that’s why we are making this movie.

Joe Unitas

Quick Hits

  • There’s a ‘strong possibility’ the Broncos will host the Ravens in the season-opener. [Denver Post]
  • Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend won ESPN's bracket challenge. [USA Today]
  • A federal judge last week threw out a Baltimore security guard's copyright infringement case against National Football League Properties, saying there was no evidence the NFL had licensed the use of the Ravens logo he'd designed to a software company. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • @TheRealJacoby12: Shout out to @johnson80 [Andre Johnson] for being my guest and supporting me tonight.... [Twitter]
  • @EKD92 [Elvis Dumervil]: Awwe...yea! Big S/O to my #Cardinals. National Champs Well deserved [Twitter]

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