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March 4, 2009

Ravens: Everyone may now exhale

lewisgetty.jpgCan't say I'm surprised that the Ravens have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension with linebacker and team leader Ray Lewis. I never really doubted that he would be back, even though it seemed like the team eroded its own bargaining position a couple of times during the process.

Don't know that Ray played it right either, since he offended some fans with the way he seemed to court other teams in that NFL Network interview before the Pro Bowl, but all will be long forgotten by the time the Ravens open the 2009 season six months from now.

Ravens fans probably should be more relieved that the team signed veteran center Matt Birk today to replace the departed Jason Brown. That's a big fill right there.

Shameless radio plug: We're going to talk football on WBAL's Sportsline tonight. Ravens beat guy Jamison Hensley will join me during the first half of the show and Ravens announcer Gerry Sandusky will pop in during the final half hour. If you're outside of signal range, go to and click on the "Listen Live" icon. Should be fun.

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Posted by Peter Schmuck at 5:38 PM | | Comments (44)
Categories: Just football


*Gerry* Sandusky, Peter

Pete's reply: My bad. I'll fix it.

what time is the show? Im out here in Montana!!!!

Pete's reply: I'm sorry. It's 4 o'clock Mountain Time.

Hey Schmuckster,sounds good about the new Japanese pitcher,I get the impression some people like making a mountain out of a molehill.If he throws strikes and gets people out,I don't care if you refer to him as Japanese pitcher-insert any name here-the whole rest of the year.As for Ray Lewis,Mike Preston reported the NFLPA and the NFL are and I quote "pouring" over the contract that Ray signed.Knowing that Mike won't ever lower himself to answer my question and that I'll be lucky if it even gets posted,aside from the humorous misspelling,why exactly does that deserve comment?Isn't it their job to pore over every contract large or small,or am I missing something here.Since when should a player's status determine the legitimacy of any contract.Any insight that us average fan may not have?

Pete's reply: Not really. I'm guessing they have to approve the language of every contract.

Great News!!

I'm more excited abut Birk. I always thought Ray wasn't going anywhere but I hated losing Leonard.

Glad he's staying . Ozzie is the man .

the lovers spat is over ,the trial seperation did not work , i for one am glad he is here for good . ravens are lewis and lewis is a raven for life weather heis productive or not the things he teaches the younger players is priceless ,and on the other hand if he still produces thats a bonus win win . the suprise is birk being sighned, great for flacco and the ravens ,another smart move , now lets draft a speedburner reciver and lineman ,and we will be in the hunt again , i cant wait for football to start. go ravens

Free Agency Winners and Losers:

Winner : Rex Ryan. Signed two Raven defenders to solidify the Jets defense.

Winner : Bart Scott. He took $48 million bucks to play batman in Gotham City. Good luck, Bart.

Winner : Jim Leonhard. Parlayed his backup-role into a starting gig with the coach who liked him since college. Good Luck, Jim.

Winner : Jason Brown. Took $7 mil to play a position he is better at (guard, not center), for a developing team. Good luck, Jason, but next time shut your mouth, don't use the press to negotiate, it probably cost you an $8 mil deal with the Rams.

Winner : Domonique Foxworth. Used the final ten starts and 1 playoff game in Atlanta to get an overpriced contract with his hometown team.

Winner : Dawan Landry. A ghastly spinal injury didn't prevent his team from giving his job away.

Winner : Chuck Pagano. Ravens secondary will be younger, healthier, and better in '09 then in '08.

Winner : Ray Lewis. Gets to retire with the team that drafted him. HOF bust is already being carved, statue near Unitus at camden yards is on the way.

Winner (tie) : Tavares Gooden, Antawn Barnes, Prescott Burgess, Jameel Mcclain, Edgar Jones. All LBs go into camp knowing playing time is up for grabs with fair competition for Bart Scotts old job.

Winner : Chris Chester. Steady play over the second half after the Yanda injury convinced the staff losing JBrown was no big deal.

Winner: Marshall Yanda. Even after nasty injury, you can pencil this guy at any of the three positions open on the o-line.

Winner : Matt Birk. Most people thought he was using the ravens to drive up a contract with his hometown vikings. But the Harvard grad is too smart, and realizes the ravens have better coaches then he ever had in Minnesota.

Winner : OL Coach Matsko. Has a cagey vet with gas left in the tank (Birk) to help a young line.

And now the losers...

Losers: All the biitching, crying, whiners on this blog who keep badmouthing the players who want too much money, and declaring that Ozzie Newsome doesn't know what he is doing. If you are one of those people, start rooting for the team 40 miles south in the nations capital.

Because you don't bleed purple.

Football news in March is annoying Pete. Surprised your so in love with such a ridiculous sport.

Pete's reply: Give me a break here. One football entry in the last, what, 100 entries. I know this is going to come as a shock, but there are baseball fans who can walk and chew gum at the same time. There are a ton of Orioles fans who are also Ravens fans.

Thanks,but I was'nt turning blue in the face waiting for Ray to make up his mind.Having said this,"thank you",Ozzie;"thank you,Ray".It was actually funny watching grown men and women act narly when discussing the Ray Lewis Saga,Parts 1&2.Does he have part ownership of the team,now??


(that's me exhaling)

Sorry if they sign him. Waning ability, bad attitude, want the Ray era gone.


The guy will be 34 when the season starts, Scott should have been the the guy the Ravens protect, Rays best days are well behind him!

well it seems like we have adressed almost everything now its time for reciever.... Pete think ray will try to get ravens to bring in T.O? and you hear anything about tory holt getting released?

Pete's reply: I don't think TO and Ray are buddies, despite what Ray said on the NFL Network interview. Haven't heard anything on Holt.

Hey Doug... football, ridiculous? I'll tell you what's ridiculous, the state of baseball. And guess what big guy, that's coming from a former minor leaguer right here. Still play in my old age in a semipro league (90 games a year give or take a few pending playoff appearances).

Baseball is out of control. Salaries... steroids... the game has been ruined by money and greed.

The Orioles have no shot at anything this year or next. Maybe look them up 10 years from now when you might have an owner that spends some money. Be ready to pay $10 for a hot dog though. Yup, you heard it here. Orioles WILL finish last, again, this year. What's it like being one of 9,000 fans in the seats?

The only way you save baseball is ban anyone who has ever used steroids when they weren't supposed to (IE, 2001 on), erase the records of anyone who holds any that have been linked to steroid use (or start a new wing called 'Juiced' in the hall of fame), place a salary cap at $120 mil, end interleague play and get rid of the unbalanced schedule they have in place. I don't see how it's fair that we have to play the Red Sox and Yankees more than we have to play the Kansas City Royals or the Detroit Tigers.

You can keep the divisions and still have the rivalry nonsense but play all of the teams in the American League the same amount of time.

MLB baseball is a joke, a laughing stock. I lost interest in it years ago and would still be disenchanted even if the O's were doing well. I wish we could just skip baseball season and go right to Football season.

Again, this is coming from a baseball player.

I hope the NFL doesn't make the same mistakes baseball has. I'm afraid there's no fixing baseball at this point.

It's not a game anymore, it's a business. And the joke is on people like you.

And that's a shame.

Hey Keith,watch the Bart Scott era ,or at least the next three years and then let's compare the numbers.I'll still be willing to bet that Ray's are better and Baltimore will have a better defense than the Jets.How's Marvin Lewis done without Ray?How about AD,Hartwell,is he even still in the NFL?,Sharper?Does the system make the players or do the players make the system.A winner makes the players around him better.That's what Ray has always done.Like him or hate him is impact on this defense in undeniable.My grade for Ozzie,up to this point,B+.After the draft it just might be an A.

There's been a ton of linebackers that have left the Ravens and gone into obscurity. Lewis has made every Raven defensive player better by his playing hard every down. There's no doubt that Ray elevated Bart Scott's profile and thus the money.We'll see if he really makes any difference with the Jets.

Hey Danny - I hope your'e joking . Football is good anytime. If you don't like Pete writing about it , don't read it .

What, we're all supposed to forget like idiots all the garbage that Ray pulled? We'll just ignore that he said he'd rather retire than play here again?
Seriously, anyone who cheers Ray when he does that pre-game dance is just plain stupid and should be ashamed.

Yes, Ray's back and don't you know, his "heart's always been in Baltimore."
Yeah, and I've got a couple of bridges I'd like to sell you too -- cheap!

Let's all show some brains and boo this bum opening day.

Hey Burt,

He's old and hurt now, you can't roll back the clock and look at what he's done, it's about what he'll be able to do the next 3 or 4 years! Marvin Lewis, how many tackles did he make for the Ravens? He's made just as many with the Bengals! Strange analogies your making. The point is good organizations know when to sever ties with great players who have passed their prime. Ray has been a great player and leader on this team, but his time has simply passed, why don't you think anyone else lined up to sign him?

Good organizations don't pay players for what theyv'e done, but what they can do. Ray Lewis has done a lot, but his gas tank is approaching EMPTY!

Relax Baseball fans , all Mr Schmuck did was make one paragraph about Ray Lewis , for bloggers who happen to be both O's/Ravens fan .

I hope the O's do well this season , otherwise the Ravens' off-season would be even more entertaining than O's losing streaks .

I'm not happy about it. I would have used Ray's money to sign Bart Scott. He's a better player now and will be playing well when Ray's gone. Besides, "bottom line," as he would say, Ray's a jerk.

Whats the possiblity of the Ravens getting a higher pick for the tampering being reported on the Rams part (Brown) deal. And why have we not heard more about this ? The sun has no reports, is it even true ?

Pete's reply: I doubt it. Every year, guys sign with other clubs right after the market opens. It's a wink-wink situation.

TO in Baltimore comments should be banned from all Ravens blogs.
Doesn't anybody remember his antics when he jilted the Ravens, then headed to Dallas.

Bring back Glenn Doughty from the Colts days....

He jilted the Ravens for Philly.

Biasinvain -
He bolted to Philly .

Like many from "Bawlamor," I'm both an O's and a Ravens fan; as well as, the Terps. And, as a sports fan I'm interested year round about what's going on with all of my favorite teams. So, thanks for taking a brief interlude from baseball spring training to talk about the FA state of the Ravens. Signing during free agency, a pro-bowl center (adding vetern leadership to young OL), a young corner (adding needed depth/speed), and a future HOF MLB (who's the leader/heart/soul of the "D") is not a bad day's work for any GM. [We've got plenty of depth at OLB - not to worry about missing Scott.] Ozzie's the man; and, he ain't done yet! Still FA's out there to bolster special teams and receiver; not to mention the NFL draft coming up. Can't wait to see what Oz does next.

Now that we have Birk in the fold, next Viking Pro Bowler report to the Castle... Darren Sharper, your table is waiting. The Ravens secondary has scared anyone lately, Sharper would change that and be a great influence on the young Safeties, If Dawan is healthy let him fight for a spot and prove it.

Pete - In Preston's and Hensley's recent columns about Ray Lewis, they both included John Unitas in the same vein as Montana, Rice and a few others HOF'ers who left their long-time teams for free-agent money at the end of their respective careers. That is blasphemous! As true Baltimore Colt fans from the time they arrived in 1953 to the time they were stolen in 1984, we know John was a true, loyal Colt - nothing else. He was forced out of Baltimore via the trade route by Idiot Irsay and his butt-boy GM, Joe Thomas, primarily due to a power struggle with Thomas (whose insidious ego, matching only that of Irsay himself, was the biggest contributing factor to the subsequent turmoil within our Colts at that time). Granted, during the 1972 season, John was hurting and had clearly reached the autumn of his magnificant career, but he was railroaded out of town ... he did not seek to go to San Diego for more money as inferred by Preston and Hensley when they grouped him in with the others ... Heck, free agency didn't even exist at that time! Please ask them to clarify or retract their comments as they are misleading and insulting to the golden memories of one of Baltimore's most beloved sports legends.

On a separate note, aside from occasional reading of Preston and Hensley, I normally read only two items daily in the Sun - your postings and the obituaries ... both are informative, accurate sans negativity, and are generally not repetitive in content ... but yours usually contains a little more humor!! Love your columns - especially when you bust the younger reporters. Thanks Pete.

Whilst I never suggested that we would "suck" per-se because of Newsome's overall handling of the team this year - it's hard to take a solid playoff team and ruin it in one go - I do think that we're not necessarily better off.

I mean:

Landry over Leonard? Much love to the loyalty of the Ravens to a guy who literally risked his neck for them, but I'm not sure I agree from a player standpoint.

Ray Lewis and not Bart Scott? The mad backer could have lead this team methinks, and is more versatile to boot.

A fast, somewhat overpaid corner, over Samari Rolle? For shame. All around. Samari is one of the best cover-corners out there, and he should be getting more respect. Not going to expound upon poor McAlister. Could boot Frank Walker instead, that kid is terrible.

We also need a kick-return stopper that isn't Brendon. If he didn't make the tackle last season, we were gashed for huge yardage.

Now this isn't all to say I'm not excited to see the team play next season. Birk could be an incredible pickup, and we'll see about Foxworth obviously. But I agree with Stover getting kicked to the curb. *teehee*

I give you credit though Pete. I asked you if Ray'd be back a week ago and you called it. My question now is whether he offended enough of us thoroughly enough to keep his name out of the Baltimore sports legends category?

Ravens MVP=Ozzie Newsome

Ray Lewis = Bmore Middle Linebacker forever! Not hating but Bart Scott ain't no ray lewis and his numbers will be comparable with ray's over the next 3 years would be my guess. Which means the Ravens got the Bargain and signed their franchise player.

Scott's mouth was better than his game, the same can't be said for ray ray! My guess is Ray will in a Ravens uniform longer than either Ryan, Scott and Leonard(who I hated to see go) will be in a Jets uniform.

As for Football commentary now, who cares about baseball are there more teams than the Yankee's and Redsox? I hate both but until the O's can actually be 500 or above at the All star break I won't wattch or attend a game!

It's good to have Ray back. A lot goes on in FA. Many things are said, that aren't meant. Many things are talked about that were never even said and the emotions can run high.
I find Ray's new contract unique. It has options on the 2nd and 3rd years, but #52 will make $10M this year. Not so sure what the other $34M and 6 years is about, but I'm not taking the check to the bank. So, it doesn't affect me.....LOL
The Birk signing was crucial. This guy is gonna be a slight upgrade at the Center position. He's smart and a leader on the field and in the locker room . I'm not knocking Jason Brown, but to find this guy as his replacement was a bonus.
The jury is stil out on Foxworth, but we are seeing that Harbaugh wants speed and coverage at the CB slots.
Let's give the kid his due and we shall see how it translates on Sunday afternoons. I hope they found another hidden gem , with Domonique.

One added note. The Panthers released Ken Lucas today. Think we'll bring him in?

Pete's reply: Haven't heard anything like that.

So everyone thinks the soap opera that is Ray's stay with the Ravens is over, do they?


Let's view this from the crystal ball. I can't tell if this is one, two, three or four years from now -- that part is hazy -- but what is clear is the Ravens want Ray to retire and Ray feels he has one more year left, maybe two. The Ravens will have to decide whether to keep Ray in a diminished role and suck it up salary-wise, or release him with the possibility of him still going to another team anyway.

Ooooo, things started to look messy as the image was fading out. Stay tuned ...

Bad idea. He is not worth that money. Not even close. Look at the last three years. He's much slower, and doesn't even seem to have the tackling strength. He was run over by Brandon Jacobs. That NEVER used to happen. In an age where players love to say "they disrespected me with that offer", he disrespected a city that loved and adored him with his "dream of playing with the star on his helmet", etc. I'm sorry, but I tossed my "52" jersey in the Goodwill bin this off-season and will now sport my "20" or "5" jersey.

I certainly don't want you to back off from your Goodwill donation, Vince, but just to be fair, it wasn't Ray who said that. It was a Dallas player who said Ray said that.

I don't doubt he marketed himself around -- especially to DAL and NYJ -- but it is easy to believe a little exaggeration took place by a player who wanted Ray to bolster a Dallas defense. Just as it is easy to believe fans can have a thin skin about a player wanting the best deal for himself even if it means parting ways.

(Psst., he still led the team in tackles even though offenses are still designed to avoid him. At least he no longer has the pressure of living up to you.)

All you guys need around there now is a 'big wheel'. Cheering as the 12th player will inspire a lot of the older players to dig down deep and cheers-mania will make them feel fortunate to play in a college atmosphere like the 1-3year players' just left. We need to get your moneys' worth, "try it, they'll like it"(it'll inspire). On TV I saw 6games this year, the stadium 'is down a notch'. Beef up the frenzy !!

geesh, i quieted the crowd w/my critique of the fans

My guess is that Scott will do just fine in NY. The difference between Scott and the other LBs who left is that Ryan will be implementing the same system there. Ryan maximizes the strengths of his players so don't be surprised if the play of "bomb" Gholsten improves drastically next year.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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