Tuesday, April 01, 2008

THE RUMORMILL: In Owings Mills and around the NFL

Pacman Jones and his agent have failed to create much interest in the trade market for the services of the talented but troubled corner of the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are open to any reasonable or even unreasonable offer for Jones but so far only the Dallas Cowboys have had any mildly serious conversations with Jeff Fisher & Co. – until now.

Word is that the Ravens have secretly met with Pacman and the discussions are said to have gone well. We could not confirm what Ravens’ representative met with Jones but we did hear some unconfirmed reports that the meeting took place at a small club on Broadway in Fells Point. If a Pacman Jones trade happens it will likely take place just after the Ravens first selection in the ’08 draft.

Many believe that the Ravens’ first pick will be Matt Ryan if he’s available. However recent reports suggest that the Ravens interest in the Boston College quarterback has cooled. Apparently while doing an exhaustive background check on Ryan which included a careful tracing of his genealogy, it was discovered that Ryan’s great, great grandmother was a second cousin of Kyle Boller’s great, great uncle. No one from the Ravens would confirm or deny this discovery.

Should the Ravens ignore Ryan’s not so flattering heritage and select him anyway, it would leave the team with four quarterbacks – a number the Ravens are apparently comfortable with. John Harbaugh as you well know is a special teams coaching ace and he’s had discussions with Kyle Boller about contributing to Jerry Rosburg’s unit. Early signs point towards Boller being assigned to the all hands team and he could spell Yamon Figurs as the punt returner, a move very reminiscent of Joe Theismann early in his career.

New NFLPA president and Titans center Kevin Mawae is doing battle these days for his long-haired constituents. The league’s owners are considering measures that would place limitations on the length of a player’s hair. Mawae isn’t keen on the idea and he has hired the creators of American Crew to design a comfortable clip that players could insert into their helmets. The clip would evenly distribute the long locks in such a way that they would actually serve as an additional cushion inside the helmet, providing more protection against blows to the head. If successful Mawae believes that the clip could mitigate many career ending concussions and it could influence more players to emulate the styles of Troy Polamalu, Ricky Williams, Steven Jackson, Lawrence Maroney, Bob Sanders and Mike McKenzie.

Phil Savage is known to be a rather sensitive guy who takes to criticism the way a vampire takes to sunlight. Recently Tony Grossi from the Cleveland Plain Dealer questioned Savage about dealing away the team’s entire Day 1 of the 2008 NFL Draft. Grossi pointed out that Savage headed up one of the league’s worst drafts back in 2004 just before he left Baltimore for Cleveland. Now that the Browns have no picks until the fourth round, Grossi insinuated that Savage could be moving on from Cleveland during or after the 2008 season, leaving the Browns with a mess of a draft class comparable to that of the Ravens in ‘04. Savage abruptly ended the presser with the Cleveland media and was later seen in his office with puffy red eyes. When asked about the disturbing development Savage claimed that it was simply an allergic reaction to some cupcakes that his mother dropped off earlier in the day.

Brian Billick
was a very vocal detractor of the 45 man roster and rightly so. If you pay 53 players, why can’t you play 53, right? Well apparently the league has finally seen the light and they are about to correct this egregious error. Beginning in 2008 all teams can suit up 53 players. Coaches must designate the first 45 players and of the remaining 16 players on the roster (8 from the active roster and 8 from the practice squad), 8 will be voted on to the 53 man game day roster submitted 90 minutes prior to kick off.

In a move made by Commissioner Roger Goodell to give fans a say in their team, the 16 players not among the first 45 will be posted on the official website of each team every Friday morning in the form of a poll. The 8 players receiving the most votes will be activated on the following Sunday. John Harbaugh is said to be delighted with this development because he’s heard that Ravens fans are among the league’s most astute and this gives his club a competitive edge.

Speaking of an edge, Steve Bisciotti is said to be leaning towards a move that might give paying customers at M&T Bank Stadium and edgier and more entertaining vibe during commercial breaks. Bisciotti wants to replace the Ravens Marching Band with local legendary rock band The Ravyns. Rob Fahey and Dave Bell of the Ravyns apparently convinced Bisciotti at a benefit party that fans would prefer their classic rock and roll sounds during breaks to those of a marching band. Financial advisors to Bisciotti also calculated the revenues that the team could generate by filling the seats occupied by the band with paying customers. Word is that Bisciotti will give the Comcast Center crazies who support the Terps first dibs on those newly available seats just behind the east end zone. This could upset Ravens fans on the PSL waiting list.

The Ravens could conceivably be without their entire starting linebacker corps in 2009. Terrell Suggs could be a free agent if he doesn’t sign a new contract with the Ravens. Bart Scott is in the last year of a three year pact he signed in 2006 and Ray Lewis’ deal expires after the 2008 season.

That said, don’t expect Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to let Lewis get away without a fight. Commenting on the possibility of this being Lewis’ last season as a Raven while at the owners’ meeting in Florida Bisciotti said, "If [Lewis] becomes a free agent next year, I think the Ravens would probably outbid other teams. We know Ray's value more than the other teams. We know the leadership he brings to the team. We know the commitment and the effort he gives to winning."

Expect the Ravens to overpay Lewis and also don’t be surprised if he is granted a say in personnel matters. Lewis has made it very clear to Ozzie Newsome that should the Ravens draft Keon Lattimore he would take it as a goodwill gesture and an acknowledgement of Lewis’ devotion to the organization.

Apparently Peter Angelos is making life difficult again for WNST. Drew Forrester for the second consecutive year has been denied a full season media credential despite the fact that he’s on air at the station no less than 20 hours per week. Word is this denial could be just the tip of the iceberg. Rumors are running rampant that indicate Angelos could buy WNST and apparently Nestor Aparicio who claims to own the controlling interest in the station is listening. But then again, Aparicio may have no choice but to listen. The building and the land upon which WNST operates is not owned by the station. Angelos is said to be in discussions with the owner of the building and real estate and if the O’s owner gets his number, some strongly believe that the property will become a development of single family homes and put WNST out of business.

Meanwhile at the station, The Fight Ungers bring their unique combination of sports and humor to the airwaves from 6-8 PM Monday through Friday. Our very own Scot Kleinfeld, aka The Media Watchdog, was asked to be the Ungers’ very first guest. Being the good sports they are, The Ungers invited Kleinfeld on to the program despite some not so flattering remarks made about The Ungers in an earlier edition of The Media Watchdog. Kleinfeld was willing to join The Ungers but the idea was nixed by the controlling fingers of Aparicio.

Spygate won’t go away. It remains a topic of conversation much to the chagrin of the Patriots and Commissioner Roger Goodell. Owners are said to be very perplexed over Goodell’s decision to destroy evidence and they are considering a move that would force Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick to wear a wire during each game so that the league is satisfied that the cheating has in fact ended.

The Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals were awarded the most compensatory picks in this year’s NFL draft, each receiving four picks. Interestingly enough, the Bengals compensatory picks come with a condition. The league is very eager to maintain its integrity and clean up whenever and wherever it can. The compensatory picks have not escaped scrutiny. Apparently the Bengals have been told that should they choose any player with the compensatory picks who has a criminal offense of any kind, even relatively harmless misdemeanors, that compensatory pick will be forfeited. The move doesn’t seem to bother Marvin Lewis who said after learning of the league’s condition, “We have learned our lesson and it is the consensus within our organization to draft choir boy types.” It will be interesting to see how such “types” mesh with the Bengals locker room.

Jonathan Ogden is in town and the topic of retirement lingers. Talk about beating a dead horse. But there is some news on the pending decision from the perennial Pro Bowler. Sources indicate that Ogden will return if he isn’t required to participate in training camp and if he is given veto power over Cam Cameron’s play selection. The Ravens are holding off on granting these concessions to J.O. until after the 2008 NFL Draft.

As you know the NFL is trying to brand its product as an international one. In 2009 the Ravens will be visiting the San Diego Chargers. We have been hearing that this desirable road trip contest will not be played in San Diego but instead, it will be played in Mexico City. More to follow on that when details become available, but in the meantime start stocking up on Aquafina.

Seattle is known for its coffee, rain, Microsoft and grunge music. They might now be known as the home of the Hock-a-burger. Apparently a Seahawks fan working at an area burger joint, got into a heated exchange with a Steelers fan over Super Bowl XL. While preparing the Steelers fan’s order, the proud member of Seattle’s 12th man added a little spice to the burger that originated from deep inside his left lung. To his surprise the Steelers fan ordered another burger done the same way.

Most would agree that Angelina Jolie is a gorgeous woman. Most would also agree that her elevator doesn’t make it to the top floor. We’ve seen her often in entertainment news usually stemming from her burgeoning desire to mother the world. Now she wants to reach out and touch the NFL and word is she’s hand picked Tony Romo to father a child. Romo is denying the rumors but a source close to Jessica Simpson said that Romo is indeed considering it and the idea has infuriated Simpson. She’s said to be open to Jolie’s request provided Simpson can engage in similar arrangements with Brad Pitt. All of this is yet another major distraction in Dallas and it could sway Jerry Jones away from further consideration of Pacman Jones.

And finally, many Ravens fans have asked about Dan Cody and his availability for the 2008 season. Once again, Cody is a workout warrior and participates more than any of his teammates in the vast strength and condition regiment created by Bob Rogucki. One Ravens official said that he happened to be in Owings Mills late on a Sunday night when power in the building failed. When guards were summoned to check the facility’s circuit breakers, they found Cody in the auxiliary generator room getting ready to hook the massive back up unit up to his stationary bike.

All indications are that Cody will give it a go again. He’s been practicing several unique spin moves that originate from the ground level. Defensive line Coach Clarence Brooks believes that if Cody can stay off his knees and disrupt the line of scrimmage by submarining offensive lineman, he’ll see the field more and he could clear the way for Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce to get to the quarterback with increasing regularity. Cody is open to anything that will let him play and has even suggested giving back some of the money that he’s been paid during his first three seasons. Ravens Capologist Pat Moriarty is said to be looking into the impact of such a reimbursement on the team’s cap situation. Moriarty was quoted as saying, “To not take advantage of this opportunity would be totally foolish and this organization doesn’t suffer fools very well.”


Anonymous said...

"Bisciotti wants to replace the Ravens Marching Band with local legendary rock band The Ravyns."

This is completely untrue, so you might want to check your sources. The Marching Ravens are secure with an investment of at least 10 years with the team.

BS said...

There is absolutely no way that half of this stuff is true...Boller on special teams; voting for the 53 man squad; J.O. wanting to call plays...where do you get this stuff? TL, I thought you were better than that.

LMAO said...

Phil Savage boo-hooing because of hurt feelings...The Ravyns...Jessica Simpson...the Dredlock gang...this stuff is classic...thanks for the laugh

Anonymous said...

its april fools day retards

Anonymous said...

Nestor is an idiot! He criticized Angelos for not coming on his show, etc and when someone criticizes him or his station, he doesn't want them on his station any more. What a hypocrite. I hope Angelos does buy that property and laughs when the building is flattened.

Anonymous said...

I do want us to go after Pacman. And I'll still feel that way tomorrow.

Space Cowboy said...

I'm not convinced this is all B.S. There's enough truth in here to make me believe some of it.

Ok, I'll play...for me it's all b.s. except for the following news items:

53 man squad
Marching Band
Ravens to play in Mexico City
Dan Cody

Anyone else wanna play?

Anonymous said...

There may be hints of truth in some of the jest, but its all bs.

Pacman - "we did hear some unconfirmed reports that the meeting took place at a small club on Broadway in Fells Point." - He's referring to a strip club, I'm sure.

The Matt Ryan bit we all know is a joke. Kyle Boller as a punt returner? funny stuff.

A 53 man squad where fans vote who makes the team?

Dan Cody rolling around on the ground ... come on.

It's all silliness.

Anonymous said...

Can I tell you how much I hate April Fools Day? How old do you have to be before you quit trying to fool people on your blog with fake stories? Grow up, y'all.

Anonymous said...

Yeesh. Where are everybody's senses of humor.


You know....FUN!!!

(Of course, I've been taken in by some of the better "Ask Brian" pieces myself. That's why....THIS year...I was keepin my eye out for the "April's Fools Day" entry. Nice one, T.L.)