Late For Work 1/25: Anyone Buying Big Ben Retiring? Colts Want Eric DeCosta

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Indianapolis Colts Want To Interview Eric DeCosta For GM Opening

Death, taxes and NFL teams trying to lure Eric DeCosta out of Baltimore.

The Indianapolis Colts have requested to interview the Ravens assistant general manager after firing GM Ryan Grigson, who held the post the last five years, according to the MMQB.com's Albert Breer.

DeCosta, 45, has not commented on whether he'd be interested in Indianapolis' general manager post. It's an appealing job considering the Colts have franchise quarterback Andrew Luck in place, and DeCosta has a relationship with Head Coach Chuck Pagano, who coached in Baltimore for four years.

But DeCosta has been clear in the past about his desire to remain with the Ravens, turning down numerous GM interviews over the years. 

"DeCosta has declined so many interviews for GM openings in recent years that he's going to start running out of teams to turn down," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "In fact, DeCosta might have to turn down a team for a second time."

Since 2009, DeCosta has turned down seven teams' requests for interviews, per Hensley, and one of those teams was the Colts. 

Indianapolis reportedly has a strong list of candidates to choose from, which it will need if history repeats itself and DeCosta opts to stay in Baltimore.

DeCosta started at the Ravens with an entry-level position in 1996, and has worked his way up the personnel ladder to become General Manager Ozzie Newsome's right-hand man. Owner Steve Bisciotti has made his best efforts to keep DeCosta in Baltimore with a contract that reportedly compensates him at the level of an NFL GM and sets him up as the general manager when Newsome decides to retire.

Newsome, 60, is asked annually when he will retire, and he hasn't shown any indication that the end is in sight. DeCosta has said on many occasions that he likes it in Baltimore, where his family has roots and he enjoys strong working relationships that he's forged over the last 20 years.

"I have the best of both worlds," Bisciotti said last year. "I have two GMs, and everybody in the league knows that.

"If it wasn't for his relationship with Ozzie, he wouldn't still be here. He has too much at stake here in his relationship with Ozzie, and Ozzie's relationship with him is just strong. It's a testament to [DeCosta]. He has family in this area. I'm very fortunate that he has family in this area. I think he's as patient as can be. I think that if you watched him run our draft, you'd know why he's content to be an assistant GM. At this stage, I've watched Ozzie grow to depend on Eric more and more every year. I don't see either of them going anywhere for many years."

Big Ben Won't Commit To Playing Next Season … Anyone Buying He'd Really Retire?

I'm confused.

Are we heading into another Ravens-Steelers rivalry week when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's game status in jeopardy? Or is this the offseason?

Big Ben has figured out how to make his career status a mystery too.

Oh, the drama.

Roethlisberger hinted at a possible retirement on his weekly appearance with Pittsburgh's 93.7 The Fan Tuesday, saying he isn't making any definitive decisions right now, but will use the offseason to think about his future.

"I was talking to my wife about it last night and I've talked to my agent about it and [to] Coach about it," Roethlisberger said. "I'm going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options, to consider health and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there's going to be a next season, all those things. I think that's, in my point of my career and my age, that's the prudent and smart thing to do every year."

When asked point-blank if he'll play next season, Roethlisberger reiterated that he needs time to think.

I can almost hear outside linebacker Terrell Suggs' voice now, repeating the same words he used in Week 9 when a knee injury put Big Ben's playing status in doubt: "Don't fall for that."

"I'm not buying it. He's got about $18 million reasons to return," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Ron Fritz. "It's just Big Ben craving attention. He'll be back. Mark my word."

TheMMQB.com's Peter King speculated that the quarterback's comments are more a reflection of his frustration with three people: wide receiver Antonio Brown for his selfishness and immaturity, Head Coach Mike Tomlin for not stopping Brown's behavior, and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley for an offense that struggled in the postseason despite explosive weapons.

"So I think Roethlisberger will meet with Tomlin at some point soon, and probably with the brass, and probably with Haley," King wrote. "Those meetings need to be had. And I think Roethlisberger will come back at age 35, for his 14th year. But he'll be heard first."

Urschel Featured On HBO Real Sports

It sure is fascinating to know that a burly 300-pound football player is also a math whiz who is working on his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), focusing on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra and machine learning (whatever that means).

That fascination is why Ravens guard John Urschel, 25, was featured on HBO's Real Sports Tuesday night.

But his quarterback, Joe Flacco, isn't too impressed, at least not when it comes to applying that knowledge to the football field.

On a scale from one to a million, how important is it that the man blocking for him is vying for a PhD?

"Probably zero," Flacco said with a smile in the video below, adding that he'd simply settle for Urschel to get the snap count consistently correct.

Well, the rest of us are sure impressed.

And many wonder why Urschel would put his "beautiful mind" at risk every time he steps onto the football field. He admitted that he felt the effects of a concussion, suffered in August 2015, for more than three weeks before he felt like he was operating at his normal level when reading advanced math papers.

"I recognize that this is somewhat irrational, but I am doing it," Urschel said on the show. "It's more important to me that I'm able to do the two things I love. I don't know if people have really done things that I've done before. I don't know if they'll do it after me. But I enjoy carving out my own path and not listening to what people say I can and I can't do."

Urschel and some other mathematicians also just released a new manuscript on max likelihood estimation of determinantal point processes (not sure what that is either).

PFF Names Yanda NFL's Best Guard

Pro Football Focus (PFF) is handing out its 2016 NFL season awards, and Marshal Yanda was named the best guard in all of football.

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It's not surprising that Yanda got the honor, but that shouldn't diminish how impressive it is, especially in a year where the six-time Pro Bowler had to switch positions because of a shoulder injury.

"Many offensive linemen have talked about the difficulty of switching positions from the left to right side of the offensive line," wrote PFF's Sam Monson. "To achieve it seamlessly is impressive over an offseason, but to do it over the course of a season without skipping a beat is extraordinary, and that's exactly what Marshal Yanda was able to do for the Ravens when injuries struck. Yanda played like the best guard in the game on the right side for six games before doing exactly the same thing on the left side for seven, with only injury preventing him from having the chance to really distance himself from the chasing pack."

Get Ready To See Flacco Busses Around Baltimore

Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland Transit Administration will unveil five buses featuring pictures of Flacco at a news conference this afternoon, according to The Baltimore Sun.

"The promotion is part of BaltimoreLink, $135 million overhaul of the MTA bus system's routes that Hogan says will make service more reliable and better connect the city's transportation network. Rollout of the new routes is to begin in June," explained The Sun's Colin Campbell.

Apparently, the buses will have a Maryland-flag colored theme and include in-game photos of Flacco and Ravens logos, with the slogan "Linking You to the Places that Matter Most."

No word yet on whether the back of the bus will look like this:

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