John Harbaugh shows love for Ravens fans

The Baltimore Ravens have become a part of many families in the city and surrounding areas. That is what happens when a team’s mindset and style of play embodies the city where it is located. Winning a couple of Super Bowls and being a perennial contender doesn’t hurt either.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is one of the two coaches who have brought a championship to Baltimore. He is the son of a coach and was raised with a tremendous work ethic and toughness. It’s no wonder he is close to the Ravens fans.

Plans to have 7,500 fans at M&T Bank Stadium for Ravens games have not materialized as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter everyone’s way of living. Harbaugh took time on Monday, October 12, 2020 to let the fans know he was thinking about them.

“I just want to say, we miss our fans. We have a great fan base; that stadium would’ve been rocking and rolling “ yesterday and they would’ve been fired up for what they saw. I think they would’ve been really into the game,” Harbaugh said about last Sunday’s game.

He went on to recreate the scene when he drives into the stadium and sees the fans tailgating. Harbaugh said he loves seeing the high-fives and smiling faces as well as the “not so smiling ones.”

The drum line at Ravens home games is one of his favorite parts of the game day experience.

“The thing that’s really cool at the game is the drum corps. I don’t know if the people on TV get a chance to hear that or not, but that drum corps is first- rate,” Harbaugh said with excitement. “It kind of reminds you of Friday night lights out there. I hope it’s a tradition. I’m going to put pressure on [Ravens president] Dick Cass right now. That needs to be a tradition that we carry forward here in the future, inside the stadium and outside the stadium, maybe even in the tailgating [lots] when that comes back. That drum corps is really … it’s football, to me, and it really makes a statement.”

The Ravens fan experience isn’t just at home games. When they take the show on the road, fans go with them. That doesn’t go unnoticed by Harbaugh. He hopes to have the fans back at some point as the Ravens make their push towards a third Super Bowl trophy.

“We have great fans, even on the road. We miss you. We hear you. We know you’re out there. We know you’re cheering, and we really appreciate you. I just wanted to say that. So, thanks to all the people who are watching and care. We’ll see you soon when this whole thing gets back to normal,” Harbaugh added.

The New Normal: Black Quarterbacks Matter

I am an 86-year-old author and retired educator. This does not necessarily make me an expert on football. However, my grandson, Austin Fendley, a recent graduate from the University of Texas and an avid football fan, knows as much about the subject as many coaches and sports commentators. Also, he and I are “two peas in a pod” about racism. We have watched with interest as more and more Blacks have been named starting quarterbacks on the national football scene. Capitalizing on our strengths, we decided to co-author this article.

Since the earliest days of professional and college football, the number of Black play- ers has increased exponentially. However, the ratio of Black players and Black quarter- backs remains disproportional with 67 percent Black players and 17 percent Black quarterbacks. The Canadian Football League was more open to welcoming Black play- ers than the leagues in America were. As an example, Warren Moon was not selected in America until he had won five Grey Cup championships in Canada. Moon became the first Black Houston Oilers’ quarterback in 1984, and his success shattered the stereotype that Blacks could not succeed as a quarterback. He ushered more successful black quar- terbacks into the National Football League (NFL) in the 1980s. When Moon first be- came the Oilers’ quarterback, I remember hearing people say he was not smart enough to function as an NFL-caliber quarterback. I happily watched him prove them wrong.

The number of Black quarterbacks in the American professional leagues has grown, and Michael Vick was drafted in 2001, as the first Black to be taken with the first over- all pick in the NFL draft.

In 2017, longtime quarterback, Eli Manning, was benched and was replaced with Geno Smith who was Black. Since the inception of the game, two Black quarterbacks and one multiracial led their teams to a Super Bowl victory: Doug Williams in 1988; Russell Wilson in 2014; and Patrick Mahomes in 2020.

America has, in fact, made progress in naming Black quarterbacks on the professional fields. Still, many of them have experienced racial issues. For example, Deshaun Wat- son, the Houston Texans’ quarterback stated that he did not want to be called a dual- threat quarterback because the term is traditionally used to stereotype Black quarterbacks. In 2018, racial remarks were made about him after he made a bad deci- sion during a game. A superintendent of a school district outside Houston remarked, “When you need precision decision making you can’t count on a Black quarterback.” Fortunately, that superintendent came under fire and he later resigned.

After reading a story about Deshaun’s upbringing, we were reminded that he gives credit to his mother who was a single parent of four children and living in the proj- ects. His mother held down a fulltime job and after she got off work, she would spend the next few hours volunteering at a homeless shelter. That made her eligible to be the recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home. In 2011, when Deshaun was in high school, his mother was diagnosed with stage-five tongue cancer forcing him to function as a high school quarterback and as a caretaker raising two of his siblings. Given the history of Deshaun and his mother, and the hardships the family faced, the challenges of being a Black quarterback did not seem to be an insurmountable task.

A proven truism over the last two seasons is that we are clearly in the age of Black quarterbacks. The remarkable advancement of blacks to master the game’s most impor- tant position proves those who thought they lacked the leadership skills and intelli- gence are wrong. Clear evidence with 10 Black quarterbacks starting the first week of the 2020 NFL season reiterates that the new normal— Black Quarterbacks Matter.

For 61 years, Dr. Bertie Simmons, Ed.D., author of Whispers of Hope: The Story of My Life, was a dedicated educator in the Houston Independent School District (HISD). Simmons came out of retirement to serve as principal of Furr High School in 1999. During her more than 17 year tenure, she was instrumental in revitalizing the school and creating transformational opportunities for some of Houston’s most disadvantaged students.

Ravens Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews becoming potent duo

Two years ago, the Baltimore Ravens decided it was time to re-energize their offense. The team traded back into the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft and selected Lamar Jackson, one of the most electrifying prospects at that time. The Ravens added tight end Mark Andrews in the third round of that same draft.

The two showed flashes as rookies, but last season was truly a breakout year for them. Jackson led the league with 36 passing touchdowns and was named NFL MVP. Andrews was on the receiving end of 10 of Jackson’s passing touchdowns, solidifying himself as one of the most dangerous tight ends in the league.

The Jackson-to-Andrews connection hooked up two times for touchdowns in the season opener, but failed to get into the end zone in the next two games against the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. They got back on track on Sunday, October 4, 2020 in the Ravens’ 31-17 win over the Washington Football Team when Jackson found Andrews for two touchdowns.

“It felt wonderful. Our chemistry, really, never left. It was just a hiccup in the [Kansas City] game, I guess. We’re good— it was great to have the chemistry going today,” Jackson said after the game.

“It’s great. Any time you can find the end zone, and you can throw a couple touchdowns, it feels great,” Andrews added.

The chemistry and trust that a quarterback has in their tight ends is crucial for an offense like the Ravens that relies on throwing the ball between the hashes. So far this season, Andrews has 12 receptions for 166 yards and four touchdowns.

Andrews has become an ultra-reliable option for Jackson because the two work at it all the time. “We’re working hard in practice, and we’re just hitting our stride. We’re just going to keep on getting better. When you have a guy like [No.] 8 [Lamar Jackson], it’s just fun to go around and fly around and play games. It was a good win,” Andrews said.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has a front row seat to observe the work that Andrews and Jackson do every day. He can’t put an exact finger on what makes it work so well. All he knows is that it’s productive.

“I’ll tell you what, I wish I could honestly give you some kind of a scientific answer but it really is more art than science,” Harbaugh said. “I think, sometimes, it’s the throws. Sometimes, it’s the catch. Sometimes, it’s the coverage. Sometimes, it’s just the wind. Sometimes, it’s whatever, and that’s just the way football goes. No two games are ever the same, so you really can’t evaluate them in the same place. Those two guys have a great connection. I did call him Mark Jackson, coming off [the field] after the one touchdown.”

The Ravens hope to keep riding the Jackson to Andrews connection as they march through the season. Right now, the Ravens (3-1) sit behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) in the AFC North standings. Andrews has never scored a receiving touchdown against the Steelers. Baltimore would like to see that happen when the Ravens host the Steelers later this month.

Ravens gear up for showdown with Chiefs

An already hot start for the Baltimore Ravens will reach an even higher level of hype as they get ready for a prime time showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams have a 2-0 record and feature the last two players to be named MVP.

Lamar Jackson is the reigning MVP and looking to follow 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes’ progression from top player in the league to Super Bowl champion. Jackson is already off to an excellent start, after completing 77 percent of his passes to go along with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Monday Night’s Chiefs vs. Ravens game will have big time implications for the playoffs since these two teams are likely to have the best record. A Ravens’ win in Baltimore this week could mean the AFC Championship will go through M&T Bank Stadium instead of Kansas City.

The game also features two Super Bowl winning coaches in John Harbaugh and Andy Reid. To make things even more interesting, Harbaugh coached special teams and defensive backs for Reid before being named the Ravens head coach.

There is no doubt that this game is special for Harbaugh. Normally, coaches don’t get into the pregame hype, especially right after a win. That wasn’t the case for Harbaugh.

“You can’t help it, you think about it,” Harbaugh said. “It’s probably the first thing that goes into your mind once you get in the locker room. You kind of start talking about the game and then everybody is talking about it in the locker room, about the next one, too. Honestly, it’s that way every week, but Ravens gear up for showdown with Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Jackson led Baltimore to 15 points in the fourth quarter but they couldn’t pull out the win.

Despite the loss, Baltimore held the top seed in the playoffs while Kansas City was the number two seed. The rematch, which would have been a dream matchup was eliminated by the Tennessee Titans when they defeated the Ravens, ending Baltimore’s 14-2 season on a sour note.

Jackson and the Ravens are on a redemption tour this year. They’ll host the Titans later. But first up to bat will be the Chiefs. Both teams stand in the way of Jackson’s ultimate goal, to win it all. That’s all that matters to him.

When asked about his past accomplishments such as winning the Heisman Trohy and having an MVP award, Jackson made it clear that the Lombardi trophy is the one he has his eyes set on.

“I’m focused on winning a bigger trophy,” Jackson said. this probably as much as any week, we’re thinking about the next one,” Harbaugh said after Baltimore’s convincing 33-16 win over the Houston Texans.

“I don’t think you can ignore it. You can’t sit there and pretend. Every game is important, they all count for wins, and you don’t want to mess up one that the fans or somebody else might not think is important. But who wouldn’t get excited for a game like this? When you’re playing a team that is the defending champs, the favorites to win the whole thing again— going forward— the type of players they have, the coaches they have? You’re going to get excited about it. It’s not something that we downplay. We don’t ignore it. We try to embrace it and make the most of it.”

The Chiefs and Ravens were on a collision course for the AFC Championship last season. They had a week 3 clash that was one for the ages when the Chiefs beat the Ravens 33-28

Ravens Lamar Jackson shows he can win from the pocket

Lamar Jackson’s passing ability was criticized before the 2017 NFL Draft despite throwing for 9,043 yards, 69 touchdowns and finishing with a 142.9 quarterback rating at Louisville. Jackson won the Heisman trophy in 2016.

As a rookie, Jackson’s explosive running, style was showcased by the Baltimore Ravens during their improbable run to an AFC North title. Critics challenged Jackson’s passing ability once again after his rookie season.

Jackson answered by throwing for an NFL best 31 touchdown passes last season while leading the Ravens to a franchise high 14-2 record. In only his second season, Jackson was named the NFL Most Valuable Player, becoming the second player to receive a unanimous selection for the award.

No quarterback besides Jackson has ever finished with 3,000 or more passing yards while rushing for over 1,000 yards. Jackson was virtually unstoppable.

His video game like highlights and countless big plays were still not good enough. To critics, the next requirement for Jackson was to win from the pocket.

Jackson completed 20 of his 25 pass attempts for 275 yards and three touchdowns in Baltimore’s 38-6 win over the Cleveland Browns to start the season. His three touchdown passes in the game was the ninth time he has done so since the start of the 2019 season. That’s more than Drew Brees (7), Patrick Mahomes (6), and Dak Prescott (6). If Jackson’s performance in the season opener is any indication, critics will need to find a new obstacle for him. “I thought he just showed great poise in the pocket the whole game. He had a good awareness of the rush. They were bringing it. They have really good pass rushers. They mixed up their coverage man, zone, different types of zone coverage and he had just a great feel for it,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday, September 14, 2020. “All those things were just really indicative of a well-played quarterback game. Lamar played an excellent game, and the passing game the drop-back passing game was really the main part of that. I thought he just did a great job.” Jackson worked hard during the offseason to improve as a passer. The effort carried over to training camp “I do. [It’s] just dedication” Jackson said when asked if he feels he has improved. “Coach ‘Urb [Quarterbacks coach James Urban] is doing a great job— the QB drills, being consistent, even though sometimes, we might just repeat it, just to keep that dialed in, in our heads and keep my body dialed in.”

Jackson’s favorite target Mark Andrews caught two of his touchdown passes on Sunday. The Ravens wisely paired Jackson with Andrews when they selected him in the third round after trading back into the first round to take Jackson. Jackson always tells Andrews his job is easier because of the top-level pass catching tight end.

“The guys is incredible; he was incredible last year. To me, he’s, obviously, the best player in the world, and his arm reflects that. It reflected that last year; it’s this year as well. He’s going to continue to grow, and he has. It’s just a blessing to be able to play with him. He says I make his job easy, but it’s the other way around for sure,” Andrews said.

Andrews isn’t the only teammate who noticed an improvement in Jackson’s game. Jackson connected with Marquise Brown five times for 101 yards on Sunday. Brown also shared a positive review of Jackson’s upgraded game.

“You can tell he’s a lot more comfortable, and he’s a lot more pinpoint with it. It’s now our job to be at the spot, because that’s where he’s putting it. He’s doing a good job of throwing it away from defenders and throwing it to where you can catch and run. So, he’s been doing a good job of just improving his game,” Brown said.

After losing at home in the last two divisional round playoff games, Jackson’s goal is to lead Baltimore to their third Super Bowl title. His improved play could be a reason they make it over the hump.

Morgan State University star athlete leaves legacy of talent and determination

Jordan Alexander Cofield possessed all of the critical attributes of a rising star. He was multitalented, courageous, intellectually and athletically gifted, and was also known for his unforgettable smile. Cofield 20, died in a motorcycle accident on August 22, 2020.

His mother, Dr. Chere M. Goode, recounted sweet memories of her baby boy who was born at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore City, as she choked back tears. Missing her child is still a fresh wound and the realization that she will never see more of her son’s dreams come to fruition is truly devastating.

Jordan was entering his junior year at Morgan State University (MSU) as a double business major who earned a reputation of shining on and off the football field. The football team’s wide receiver was also a track and field team member. He loved dressing in high-end attire, shopping and hanging out with friends and family, and of course football.

“Football was the love of his life,” Goode said. “Well, he was on full-ride scholarship to Morgan, so he saved me a lot of money. I didn’t pay anything for his education, and he actually was on the Dean’s List at Morgan State. If you know anything about two-time athletes, and being on the Dean’s list, that’s like huge. He (Jordan) actually was an NFL (National Football League) prospect. They were looking at him already, although he was only a junior. They actually released a statement about him, saying that although he was small in stature… his speed was amazing. He was a speedster.”a Goode spoke proudly about her charming son who placed number one in 2019 in the men’s 60-yard dash out, of all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Goode added that whatever her son was determined to do, he was going to do it. The graduate of New Town High School, located in Owings Mills, became a football buff at eight years old. His family was proud of their star athlete who loved to blow kisses to his fans, whenever he made a touchdown. His mother says that she will probably miss capturing those moments on video the most. Jordan inherited the love of football from his parents. His father, Jeffrey Cofield was a part of the trio’s Dallas Cowboy fan club.

Jordan earned his own fan club. One of Goode’s favorite memories was the time when Ernest Jones, a former coach at MSU, came to their home in an effort to draft her son. Goode said that he informed them that he was not leaving without Cofield.

“That just made me so proud, like wow, my son’s dreams are coming into reality. Now he just smiled and said, ‘Mom, what am I going to do?’ I just said, ‘that’s up to you. You’re the one who has to put in the work,’” Goode said. “Jordan is really like the first one, especially from his father’s family and everything, to really go to a university, so everybody was really proud of him that he took his education seriously.” Dr. Cheryl Wood, Goode’s twin sister and Jordan’s aunt is also navigating through the loss of their family’s star.

“Our slogan for him and everything for the funeral was, ‘Everything he touched turned to gold,’” Wood said. “I loved his tenacity. He was a go-getter. I mean just to see somebody set something [in] their mind, and you already know, nothing is going to stop them. That’s who Jordan was.” Wood recounted a comical yet telling story. Her husband, James Wood, once remarked to a very young Jordan that he didn’t know his numbers beyond a certain point. He shocked his uncle, when he informed him that he did know them. The child rattled off his numbers way beyond the point at which he was challenged.

“To me, it’s a reminder of how smart he was academically,” Wood said. “And you know he was going to go far, because he was always like— ‘I’ll show you, not tell you.’”

Layers of loss accompany great disappointment. Jordan’s loved ones will never see him get married, have children or earn an expected NFL contract. However, Wood identified ways the community can support Jordan’s family. Praying for their strength is one; keeping Jordan’s memory alive is another.

“Don’t stop talking about him and his legacy in 20 short years,” Wood said. “I would just say if you want [something], go get it. Just don’t let anything stop you. And that’s what I would say was his mindset and his attitude.”

To support his mother and enable her some time off work during this time of bereavement, donations can be made via Cash App to $cheremgoode or Pay Pal via

NNPA President to Give Keynote in Forum on Social Justice Activism in Sports

National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., will deliver the keynote address for an upcoming social justice activism in sports forum hosted by the HeroZona Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona.

The forum, titled “One Team,” is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix.

The invitation-only event is supported by the RED Development, City of Phoenix District 8, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, MINT Social, Golden Rule Live, and the NNPA.

The forum, which will be live-streamed to the public at, will include prominent Arizona sports leaders, including executives from the NFL’s Cardinals, MLB’s Diamondbacks, and NBA’s Suns.

The participating panel of sports executives includes Arizona Cardinals Owner Michael J. Bidwell, Arizona Coyotes President & CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez, Phoenix Suns President & CEO Jason Rowley, Arizona Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall, and Arizona State University Athletic Director Ray Anderson.

The panel plan to discuss systemic racism in America and how major and minor league organizations can enact social change.

“Since the Black Lives Matter movement was reignited in May, major sports teams have ardently expressed their support for the cause by using their reach to advocate for change,” said U.S. Desert Storm Veteran Alan “AP” Powell, the founder of the HeroZona Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to empower Heroes in the community through entrepreneurship, employment, and education.

The group works with veterans, first responders, and those who bring social good to future generations and under-served communities. The foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for the men and women who serve their country and community each day.

“With such massive platforms, it is imperative that the community hear from these leaders on what steps they are taking to ensure that their organizations are not only standing up against racial injustice but also taking concrete actions to fix the systemic issues at hand,” Powell stated.

The event will be moderated by ESPN host and CNN columnist LZ Granderson, while Chavis will deliver the keynote. “The NNPA acknowledges and supports the active engagement of professional sports athletes and leaders who publicly stand up or kneel down for the cause of racial and social justice, equality and freedom,” Chavis declared.

“The Black Press of America affirms that Black Lives Matter!”

For more information about the Bridge Forum, the HeroZona Foundation, and stream the upcoming event, visit

Ravens Continue Evaluation Process Without Benefit of Preseason

The process of sorting through a group of 90 players and narrowing the list to 53 is always a rigorous undertaking. This season, things are a bit tougher because the preseason games where eliminated. The Baltimore Ravens have a roster full of talent, including 12 pro-bowlers, which ties the 1973 Miami Dolphins for the most selections ever on an initial roster. This is an example of how well the Ravens evaluate talent.

Baltimore will need every bit of their talent for evaluation this year, as they get closer to roster cut down day.

“I think [executive vice president and general manager] Eric DeCosta and his staff are always in constant communication with the coaching staff, and they are always ‘gazing into their crystal ball,’ trying to stay ahead of the curve with things. They do a great job of that. So, I definitely think these are things that are discussed very openly and constantly,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “It’s our job to make the most of everything we can.”

Roman said the scrimmage the team had recently was like the first preseason game. It gave the players a chance to have a more live atmosphere that would be more similar to game day. That’s critical for the front office as they sort through what players they think will help contribute to a winning season.

Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale was pleased with the play of 2020 third-round pick Malik Harrison during the scrimmage.

“I think in the scrimmage the other night, he [Harrison] really started coming downhill and started showing some of his physicality. That just comes from getting more and more groomed in the system and understanding his responsibilities, and then just playing football. He’s going to be a force to deal with. He’s got length, he’s got power and he can play physical. So, he’s started to show that. I thought he really flashed that on Saturday,” Martindale said. their football careers. Martindale said it’s a unique experience for everyone. “Obviously, it’s different. There are guys who’ve made this team, undrafted free agents who’ve made this team off the fourth preseason game. Right there at the end, it was neck and neck with somebody else,” Martindale said.

There are starting jobs on the line. There are roster spots on the line also. Some players are literally playing for Martindale complimented how head coach John Harbaugh made the scrimmage as close to a game situation as possible. In his opinion, that helped everyone since they did special teams, offense and defense situations. But the evaluation process is going to be taxing due to other unprecedented variables.

“It’s going to be difficult; the cuts always are. I think it’s different this year, because you have a larger practice squad,” Martindale said. “You’ve really got to have guys with this virus that’s here, be ready to play, because you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

There is a degree of mystery since the Ravens weren’t able to play against another team in an actual game. The players are ready to see someone with a different color uniform on. The monotony can make days drag but Harbaugh feels good about where the team is.

“Without the preseason games and any kind of ‘measuring stick,’ I think the coaches would tell you— and I think the players would tell you the same way— we feel really good about where we’re at. We feel we’re as far along— from a football standpoint— that we could be,” Harbaugh said.

Ravens DeShon Elliott next man up after Earl Thomas release

The Baltimore Ravens signed veteran safety Earl Thomas last season to replace Eric Weddle who retired. But “the Earl Thomas experience” ended prematurely when Thomas was released on Sunday, August 23, 2020.

Thomas’ time with the Ravens came to a screeching halt after he punched fellow safety Chuck Carr during practice last Saturday. That transgression wasn’t the only contributing factor to Thomas’ release according to multiple reports.

Thomas was reportedly late for meetings and was not the most liked player in the locker room. A veteran’s committee met with head coach John Harbaugh and determined the Ravens would be better off without Thomas.

The Ravens are moving forward with their mission to win the third Super Bowl title in franchise history with the group of young safeties that are left.

The next man up in place of Thomas is third-year safety DeShon Elliott. John Harbaugh spoke about Elliott having an impact after being inserted into the starting lineup.

“I expect him to” Harbaugh said when asked about Elliott being a contributor. “He’s been practicing really well and worked hard through the offseason. It’s his time so here we go.”

Elliott was a standout at Texas and wasn’t used to being a backup to anyone. The Ravens selected Elliott in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Climbing the depth chart was an uphill battle for Elliott since he was behind Tony Jefferson and Weddle. Elliott had to learn patience since he has been in the NFL. Despite being a backup, Elliott prepared like he was a starter.

A fractured forearm ended Elliott’s rookie season before training camp was over. He was poised for a prominent role in Baltimore’s secondary last season but bad luck struck again when a knee injury landed him on injured reserve in October.

Elliott is gearing up for what he hopes will be his first full 16-game season of his young career.

“I think I got myself together physically, spiritually and mentally. I feel that God’s going to bless me with the things that I need to stay healthy this year,” Elliott said. “I will do the best that I can to stay healthy for my teammates and play for them. I love this team and I love this defense.”

Through the injuries and being stuck behind veterans on the depth chart, Elliott learned to be patient.The patient approach has paid off because now Elliott finds himself in line to be a starter at one of the Ravens safety spots as long as he stays healthy. He is pumped up about finally getting the opportunity to be a consistent contributor.

“I’m excited. Whether they pay me or not I would play this game. My health has been the only question I’ve had from everybody. I’ll do what I have to do to be productive for this team. Every day, I’m going to work my butt off. I’m trying to be here to win with my ‘homies,’ my brothers,” Elliott said.

Ravens would be good fit for Antonio Brown

From 2011 – 2018, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers had an intense rivalry with star wideout Antonio Brown being one of the key players. The thought of seeing Brown score touch- downs and dance in the end zone made Ravens’ fans sick.

Seeing Brown doing those same dances in the end zone wearing a Ravens jersey on is a pipe dream for quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson got to spend some time with Brown on the football field during the offseason and was thor- oughly impressed.

“I was like, ‘dang, there’s no quitting with him.’ That’s the type of guy we need in our locker room,” Jackson said. “It was nice throwing to Antonio Brown. I was hoping we would get him. I’m still hoping— a little bit.”

The Ravens had internal discussions about adding Brown to their roster according to multiple reports. Getting Brown to Baltimore would require a lot of work but it would offer heavy rewards.

Brown has seen his share of contro- versy throughout his career. The free agent was recently handed an eight- game suspension for multiple violations of the NFL’s persona conduct policy.

It will take a strong group of veterans and a coaching staff that can handle Brown. Head coach John Harbaugh is an experienced coach who has handled an assortment of personalities. The Ravens locker room has plenty of players in place who can handle the addition of Brown.

“I feel like the locker room here is different from any other locker room,”

Jackson said. “There’s a brotherhood going on, there’s none of that outside noise. It’s strictly inside; we worry about each other, we worry about what we have going on, we want to win.”Brown’s cousin Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is also on the roster. They joined Jackson for workouts during the offseason in Miami. An offense featuring both Browns, Mark Andrews, Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson would be hard to stop.

Brown’s stats are proof of what he can accomplish when the situation is right. Six consecutive seasons of 100 or more receptions is a rare accomplishment. Brown was undoubtedly one of the best receivers over that stretch. As Brown said on his Instagram account, Baltimore would get a talented player motivated to make the best of his next opportunities.

“I look forward to new beginnings. I want to be the best version of myself on and off the field, and I will do my best to be a great teammate. I appreciate the NFL giving me the opportunity to con- tinue to work on myself and improve. I am thankful and grateful for this oppor- tunity to play a game that I truly love, and I look forward to joining a new team soon. Thank you to my family and all those that have supported me. I will show the fans my appreciation for this second chance by having the best season of my career.”