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If lockout drags on, don't expect many impact rookies

Well, hey there. First of all, my apologies for the lack of posts the last few days; it's been pretty busy around the MASN offices this week with MLB opening day approaching, and I've had minimal time to focus on the little football news that we've had going on. There hasn't exactly been a ton of NFL action lately with the lockout in full swing,

No knockout for Zbikowski, but he stays undefeated

Fighting last night in his third professional boxing match, Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski needed to put in a little more work than he had the previous two times he'd stepped inside the ring as a pro. Still, he came away with another victory. Zbikowski went the full four rounds with his opponent, Caleb "True Grit" Grummet, last night before getting a win by unanimous decision.

Ravens get two compensatory picks

It's been two years since the Ravens have been awarded a compensatory pick. This time around, they received two of them. The NFL announced today that the Ravens have been given two compensatory selections in this year's draft, both of which are fifth-rounders. Baltimore will get the 164th and 165th picks in April's draft, giving them nine total selections overall. The picks were handed out

Lockout makes post-draft protocol tricky

Under normal circumstances, players taken in the NFL Draft get to talk to their coaches, discuss an offseason workout program, and get an early look at the playbook immediately after being selected. Unfortunately for both the soon-to-be NFL rookies and their future teams, we're not currently operating under normal circumstances. Far from it. The NFL lockout - which has been in effect for nearly the

Nakamura, Flacco teaming up to help earthquake relief fund

Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura has been vocal in his efforts to raise awareness and funding for earthquake and tsunami relief programs in Japan, and now he'll be working with teammates to help contribute to the Red Cross International Relief Fund. Nakamura, who is of Japanese descent, is organizing "an afternoon of entertainment, autographs and family fun" from noon to 3 p.m. on April 2 at

Owners approve new kickoff rule

We'll see a new kickoff rule implemented the next time NFL games are played. Whenever that is. NFL owners passed a rule today which will move kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35. The rule that was passed is a modified version of one which was proposed last week by the competition committee. The original rule also included moving touchbacks to the 25-yard line

Rice in the mix for Madden cover

Who will end up on the cover of Madden 2012? For the first time, that decision is up to you, the fan. In the spirit of March Madness, ESPN.com has set up a bracket involving a player from each of the 32 NFL teams, and they're allowing fans to vote on who will grace the cover of the popular Madden video game this year. Representing

Rule proposal could impact Ravens' kicking game

Happy Tournament Day, everyone. Oh yeah, and St. Patty's Day as well. Two great events combined into one today. We know how Tom Zbikowski is spending his time during the NFL lockout, and with the football world put on hold for the time being, Chad Ochocinco has talked about wanting to join Zbikowski in the boxing ring for a charity match. But first, Ochocinco is

Where does Rice rank?

What's this? A post that in no way has to do with the NFL labor situation? Fa-antastic. ESPN.com put together a list of the NFL's top running backs yesterday, ranking the group based on the thoughts of their eight division bloggers. A familiar face made his way onto the list; Ravens running back Ray Rice ranked (how's that for some alliteration?) eighth in the league

Pettiness starting to play out

Welcome, everyone, to my favorite sports week of the year. I love football, have been a baseball fan all my life, and enjoy watching a Caps game as much as the next guy, especially in person. But, to me, there is nothing better than Week 1 of the NCAA Tournament. The drama, the intensity, the screaming Gus Johnson - it's all spectacular. As far as

Yet again, Zbikowski takes care of business

Another fight, another first-round knockout. Tom Zbikowski is making a habit of finishing off his opponents quickly. Zbikowski, the Ravens safety and boxer who was fighting professionally yesterday for the first time in nearly five years, didn't wait around long to finish off his opponent in his return to the ring. He knocked out Richard Bryant in just 1:45, boosting his pro boxing record to

It's official: We've got a lockout

And so it begins. According to the NFL Network, starting at midnight, the NFL owners locked out the players. You can consider this report official; the league owns the NFL Network, so it's a fairly credible source when it comes to these matters. The lockout is not surprising given that the players' union opted to decertify Friday afternoon. Weeks and weeks of mediation will now

Let the off-field battles begin

I'm back in Charm City after an uneventful flight back from Puerto Rico, and already, just five hours after the players' union decided to decertify, the NFL and the NFLPA have begun the public bickering. Both sides released statements through the media in an attempt to win over public opinion and make their case for why the other party is at fault, and not surprisingly,

Let's make a deal (updated)

As I sit at my gate in the San Juan airport waiting for my flight back to Baltimore, here's where things stand in the NFL labor talks with the 5 p.m. collective bargaining agreement deadline quickly approaching: With just minutes left for the the owners and players' union to come to an agreement (or to agree on another extension), the ball appears to be in

Wilson wants back in B-more

When cornerback Josh Wilson got traded to the Ravens just before the start of the 2010 season, he discussed how excited he was to play back in his home state. Now, even though he's likely to become an unrestricted free agent, Wilson says he's interested in staying in Charm City. Talking about his free agent plans yesterday on "The Norris & Davis Show" on 105.7

Last year's rookies would be hurt most by lockout

If you had asked me a couple months ago which group of NFL players I thought would be most affected by a possible lockout, I would have said the 2011 rookie class. If there is a work stoppage, the rookies won't get to talk to their new coaches at all during the lockout, they won't get a chance to study their playbooks, and they'll miss

Lockout could impact Cody's conditioning

As I write this, I'm sitting on a plane on my way to San Juan, Puerto Rico for five days. Rough life, I know. I needed to get some semblance of a vacation in between the football and baseball seasons. Last time I left the East Coast for a non-business trip was back in July. Five days in sunny Puerto Rico should do the trick.

At some point, Zbikowski will leave football for boxing

After making his pro boxing debut nearly five years ago, Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski will return to the ring a week from today to face heavyweight Richard Bryant in a four-round bout. But Zbikowski might not be done boxing after the final bell rings that night. The three-year NFL veteran, who started boxing when he was nine years old and has fought over 90 times

One extension leads to another

One extension has resulted in ... another extension. The NFL owners and players' union used yesterday's 24-hour extension of the collective bargaining agreement deadline to negotiate a second extension. This one will last seven days, making the new CBA deadline next Friday at 5 p.m. Seven more days to talk about negotiating sessions and a possible lockout. Lovely. The owners and players will have a

Tonight's CBA deadline becomes tomorrow's CBA deadline

You've gotta love the NFL. Tonight's midnight deadline for the owners and players to reach a new collective bargaining agreement and avoid a lockout - a deadline hyped up for months - has been pushed back by one day. Both sides have agreed on a 24-hour extension, although many in NFL circles believe that before this new deadline, we'll see another extension. That extension would

Ravens sign OT, see familiar face get released

In the midst of all the NFL labor madness, I have a few actual Ravens-related news items to pass along this afternoon. Yeah, it's a nice treat, isn't it? First, the Ravens have signed offensive tackle Eric VandenHeuvel, according to his agent. VandenHeuvel - and what an awesome name that is, by the way - played his college ball at Wisconsin. He checks in at

We've got under 10 hours to go, unless...

We're a little under 10 hours away from what has looked for weeks to be the inevitable start of an NFL lockout. All we've heard coming out of negotiating sessions between the owners and players' union is that the two sides were miles apart on all the key issues, and they weren't close to reaching a new collective bargaining agreement by tonight's midnight deadline. Now,

Here's one way to pass the time during a lockout

Come midnight tonight, barring a shocking - and I mean shocking - last-minute agreement between NFL owners and the players' union, we'll have a lockout on our hands. Teams will close their doors, players will not be allowed inside, and until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, all things NFL with the exception of the draft will be put on hold. It's a sad

Ngata will sign franchise tender, wait on long-term deal

The Ravens and Haloti Ngata couldn't get a long-term deal done, so a one-year, $12.5 million contract will have to do for now. Ngata, the Ravens' two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, will sign his franchise tender today, according to a source. That will lock him in for the 2011 season. Under the franchise tag, Ngata will make the average salary of the top five defensive

Does draft strategy change with CBA uncertainty?

Traditionally, the Ravens have attacked the NFL Draft with their patented "best player available" strategy. You rarely see general manager Ozzie Newsome reach to take a wide receiver just to fill a need when there are better options still on the board. You almost never see him draft a defensive back just because that might be the most convenient move given the makeup of the

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