Ray Lewis & Steve Smith Have An Amazing Day
There is nothing sweeter in life than to see your child succeed, which made Wednesday an especially sweet day for Ravens fathers Ray Lewis and Steve Smith Sr.
On National Signing Day, the two iconic men saw their sons commit to colleges and begin the next stages of their lives. Lewis's son, Rayshad, signed with Utah State University to play football. And Smith's son, Peyton, signed with DePaul University to play soccer.
Ray sees a lot of himself in his son, who was lightly recruited because of his undersized 5-foot-9, 165-pound frame despite being a key cog of the Class 5A state champion Bishop Moore High School in Orlando, Fla. The receiver/cornerback was overlooked by bigger schools, and instead had seven Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offers. Utah State was the first school to give him an offer last spring, and he rewarded them for their faith.
"I lived that … you're too small, you can't do this. It's the size, right?" Ray told the Sun Sentinel. "Then I started sharing that with him and I was like, 'You have no clue that your career is going exactly in the pattern of your father's.' I'm like, 'Man, everything that's starting to happen. People overlooking you, you're too small, all this … but you out-play the best people on the field every game.'
"Nobody can judge his heart. Nobody can judge my heart. … That's what this kid has. That one thing that I call, 'It.' When you have an 'It,' you can transition no matter where you go.'"
Ray came out of high school in 1993 as an undersized 6-foot-1, 195-pound linebacker, but someone at the University of Miami saw something in him and offered him the last scholarship left that year. The rest is history.
Rayshad had hoped he'd get a look from Power 5 conferences or his hometown University of Central Florida, but none came calling after an incredible senior season. He's not wasting time thinking about those that passed on him, and is focused on simply improving.
That doesn't mean his father isn't thinking about it.
"When the recruiting process started happening, I said, 'Oh, OK … yeah.' They will one day regret that decision," Ray said. "I can say that about myself because of everybody that did pass me up. … It turned out all right [for me]."
Meanwhile, it was also a proud day for the Smiths. Peyton took to Instagram to thank his family and friends for helping him fulfill his dream. Peyton scored 30 goals and had 28 assists last season to help his Carmel Christian Cougars to a 20-1-1 record in North Carolina.
Williams, Wagner Hit Performance Escalators
Defensive tackle Brandon Williams and right tackle Rick Wagner will both earn about an extra $1 million in 2016 after hitting their performance escalators, according to Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland.
The escalators were implemented by the 2011 CBA when the new rookie wage scale was introduced. It was a way to compensate for the lower pay top-drafted rookies would receive, and for removing the chance for lower-drafted rookies to become a restricted free agent (RFA) after their third year. The escalator will allow Williams and Wagner to be paid as RFAs after performing well.
They triggered the escalator after easily playing more the 35 percent of the snaps since being drafted.
"Williams and Wagner ended up being the only Ravens in the 2013 draft class to earn the escalator, but [fullback] Kyle Juszczyk came very close to earning the PPE," wrote McFarland. "He fell just short (33.7% according to FootballOutsiders.com) of the 35% threshold in 2015 (after reaching 42.2% in 2014)."
The increased salaries for Williams and Wagner will count against the cap.
Holy Bajezzers! Tyrod Taylor Sports $2,500 Hat
Well, this is just insane.
Former Ravens and current Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor wore a hat worth $2,500 while making media rounds in San Francisco.
At first, I thought this was a silly rumor, but, nope. Taylor confirms it in the video below.
What makes it so special? Apparently the Super Bowl hat is a limited edition, one of 50, that is complete with 24-karat gold to symbolize the gold theme the NFL is using to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the championship game.
Levi's Stadium Sinkhole That Ate Tucker's Foot Is Fixed
Remember the sinkhole at the 49ers' Levi's Stadium that ate kicker Justin Tucker's foot when missed a 45-yard field goal? Here's a reminder.
Good news for the Broncos and Panthers, who will play Super Bowl XL at the stadium on Sunday. Apparently the dreaded sinkhole has been fixed.
"I think we're in great shape," Ed Mangan, the league's field director, said in a phone interview Monday, per The Washington Post.
The NFL put down a new playing surface for Sunday's game, which it does for all Super Bowls played on natural grass fields.
Joey Bosa Falls To Ravens In Mock Draft
Chad Reuter, Ravens fans would love it if you're right.
But it just can't happen, right? Could the draft's top pass rusher, Ohio State's Joey Bosa, really fall to No. 6?
That's what Reuter, an NFL.com and CBS Sports draft analyst, predicted in his first mock draft. He has the following players going in order: OT Laremy Tunsil (Titans), QB Jared Goff (Browns), OT Ronnie Stanley (Chargers), QB Carson Wentz (Cowboys), CB/S Jalen Ramsey (Jaguars) and then Bosa to the Ravens.
The key is the inclusion of a second quarterback (Wentz) among the top five. The more quarterbacks selected in front of the Ravens, the better.
"Terrell Suggs is near the end and Courtney Upshaw is a free agent," wrote Reuter. "Bosa might not be quite as explosive as Suggs once was, but he's a damn fine player who will wreak havoc and play assignment-sure."