The Ravens are in the news for all the wrong reasons, as the team opens their first week of Organized Team Activity (OTA’s). An off season that started with an extension of Terrell Suggs, locking up possible free agents in Dennis Pitta and Eugene Monroe, a black cloud is hanging over the Under Amour Performance Center.
Ray Rice got it started with an arrest in February, after an assault to his then finance, now wife Janay Rice in an Atlantic City Casino. Fourth-round draft pick Lorenzo Taliaferro, was arrested during Memorial Day weekend on two counts of misdemeanor charges of destruction of property, and being drunk in public. This is not the kind of publicity Head Coach John Harbaugh wants the Ravens to be making. “You have to grow up faster than your pals,” he said.
A frustrated coach, stood up at the podium, and instead of shying away from the obvious, he answered the questions, with a message, not just to the players who have gotten themselves into legal issues this off season, and made it very clear where he wants current and future players to stand.
“You can’t go home and run around with your pals and think you’re in the same position they’re in.”
As far the players standing by their HC, they echoed a similar persona for current preventions, and ways to move forward from these issues. They have certainly caused more headaches than the organization anticipated after finishing 8-8 in 2013. The front office doesn’t want to keep having these kind of off the field issues, recur.
“We haven’t really had a problem with that since I’ve been here,” Joe Flacco said. After a .500 season, fans should see a sense of urgency to get back to the ultimate goal, winning a Super Bowl. Instead, the team is getting questions, not how they will to get back to Championship as they did in 2012, How to prevent these legal hindrances. One way to avoid these issues is avoiding alcohol altogether, Harbaugh pointed out during the media session after the OTA.
“How about we start off with the idea that we’re not going to go out and drink? How about if we start off with that? Because the other side of the coin is that we are supposed to be world-class athletes, Harbaugh said. “That is not what I would call an effective training method right there, to go out and drink too much.”
The whole organization understands the severity of the situation, and wants to try to move on. Harbaugh mentioned that Tuesday morning, he and Taliaferro spoke about what transpired over the weekend but also “Ran 18 full gassers.” After all the turmoil, and radio noise the last few weeks both Raven coaches and players seemed tired and ready to fast forward.
One of those players is Steve Smith, a new addition to the franchise this offseason and might have the most impact on the team. During his podium session, he praised a fresh start in a new city and admired the city for its history. “It’s really nice to see the historical part and see some things that you see in movies,” Smith said.
As far the problems with his current teammates, he is not going to come to different team and lecture players on teaching them form right from wrong.
“Nobody really cares what you have to say until they really know you care.”
His solution to all the madness is to have lunch, and to learn about player’s backgrounds before yapping about the do’s and don’ts of an NFL player in the locker-room.
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