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The Baltimore Ravens' unyielding effort to land a big-play receiver finally paid off Friday when nine-year veteran Michael Crabtree signed a three-year contract.
Hours after disclosing that the Ravens voided the contract of Washington Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant following a failed physical [url=http://www.giantscheapshops.com/cheap-authentic-saquon-barkley-jersey]Authentic Saquon Barkley Jersey[/url] , general manager Ozzie Newsome landed Crabtree, who played the past three seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Crabtree toured the Ravens' complex Friday morning and signed in the late afternoon.
"I always imagined myself being a Raven when I was little," Crabtree said. "I came here, loved it and signed on the dotted line."
In two games over the past two years with Oakland, the former 49ers star scorched Baltimore for 13 catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns.
Facing the Ravens in the 2012 Super Bowl, Crabtree had five receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown for San Francisco in a 34-31 loss.
"Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game," Newsome said. "He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field."
The 30-year-old Crabtree played six seasons with San Francisco before joining the Raiders. He has 579 career receptions for 6,870 yards and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games.
The 6-1, 215-pound Crabtree has totaled at least 85 catches in a season three times, including a career-high 89 in 2016. He has twice surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in a season.
Crabtree joins former Arizona receiver John Brown as new potential targets for quarterback Joe Flacco, who directed a lackluster passing attack that last year ranked 27th in the NFL.
Almost as soon as the Ravens cleared out their lockers following a 9-7 finish in 2017, Newsome set out to improve the weakest facet of a team that's missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons.
"If you dial it back to a year ago [url=http://www.minnesotatwinsteamshop.com/authentic-michael-pineda-jersey]Authentic Michael Pineda Jersey[/url] , we talked about how we wanted to get our defense stronger, and we did that. Then we said we wanted to run the football and we were able to do that," Newsome said Friday morning, speaking with Brown at his side. "The next piece is to get a better passing game. If we give Joe some weapons, and we improve in the passing game, maybe that will be enough to help us get over the hump."
Newsome said he withdrew Grant's four-year contract offer following the exam and after consulting with team doctors and outside physicians.
"That's not a football decision," Newsome said. "That's a medical condition that I have no control over."
Though Grant never missed a game in his four years with the Redskins, Newsome said the physical found an issue with his ankle.
"We knew he had had an ankle injury in the latter part of the season with the Redskins," Newsome said. "But he had passed their postseason physical, so we had no indication that it could have been there."
Brown played four seasons with Arizona before signing a one-year contract this week with Baltimore.
"The thing about John is, he can take the top off of the defense," Newsome said. "A lot of times when you go with a vertical receiver, they have a very limited route tree. John does not. John can run every route in the route tree. The other aspect of this that attracted John to us is that we feel like his best football is still in front of him."
Brown, two years removed from a 1,000-yard season, expects to ring up big numbers with Baltimore.
"I felt like this was the best fit for me," he said. "They like to use a lot of receivers with speed. I feel like I can come in and help this team."
Newsome said he "has not closed the door" on re-signing receivers Michael Campanaro and Mike Wallace [url=http://www.authenticsatlantafalcons.com]Falcons Elite Jerseys[/url] , and has been "having conversations" with several tight ends.
As major leaguers Trea Turner, Sean Newcomb and Josh Hader face up to racist and homophobic tweets they sent as teenagers, publicist Lauren Walsh recalls how she dealt with a football player who had offensive Facebook posts years before he prepared for the NFL draft.
She went through his whole social media history, taking down any posts that even raised an eyebrow.
Scrubbing tweets, Instagram posts and other comments, captions and status updates has grown into a top priority for LW Branding, Walsh’s company that has helped 40 NFL athletes with image control in the past 3 1/2 years.
”Any client that we take on, that’s generally the first step we do in the process,” Walsh said. ”This can take someone down in an instant. All it takes is one tweet. Now, he’s going to be known for this. This is what people are talking about.”
Turner and Newcomb are the latest high-profile athlete s burned by reckless posts from years past. The 25-year-old Newcomb nearly threw a no-hitter for the Braves against the Dodgers on Sunday – a career defining moment that took a turn when he called reporters back into the clubhouse to apologize for offensive tweets sent in 2011 and 2012, when he was 18.
Homophobic and racially insensitive tweets by Turner from 2011 and 2012 surfaced Sunday night. The 25-year-old Turner, a shortstop for the Washington Nationals, apologized in a statement released by the team.
”I believe people who know me understand those regrettable actions do not reflect my values or who I am,” Turner said. ”But I understand the hurtful nature of such language and am sorry to have brought any negative light to the Nationals organization, myself or the game I love.”
Hader, who pitches for the Milwaukee Brewers, is still in apology mode after tweets from his past surfaced during the All-Star Game this month. He was given a standing ovation in his first game back in Milwaukee [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/ezekiel-elliott-jersey]Ezekiel Elliott Jersey Womens[/url] , and then booed when the Brewers made their first road trip of the second half of the season in San Francisco.
The trend touches many young athletes, with millions of posts from thousands of players who have been online since they were kids.
Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen apologized for a series of offensive tweets he sent while in high school that were revealed right before the NFL draft, when the Buffalo Bills selected him seventh overall. As Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo was celebrating being named most outstanding player of the Final Four, some of his old tweets that included racially insensitive and homophobic comments made headlines.
”This stuff happens all the time and it happens when they get their shining moment,” Walsh said. ”When all of us were 17, we weren’t thinking about where we were going to be in our lives seven years down the road.”
But athletes should start thinking about the bigger picture, as damage from slip-ups can be critical to coaches and executives, Walsh said.
The mistakes by Turner, Hader and Newcomb will be discussed by athletic departments, professional teams, agents and handlers looking to protect themselves and their players. As higher-ups grow more aware of the damage social media mishaps can cause, vetting could become more rigid as a key part of evaluating a multimillion-dollar investment.
”In light of recent events, that’s definitely something our staff will discuss to potentially eliminate the chance of a negative situation that puts a student-athlete in a bad light,” said Creighton spokesman Rob Anderson, who said he doesn’t know of any staffer going through a player’s entire social media history.
Varsity Monitor keeps up with social media and offers education programs for 15 Division I schools, including North Carolina, Texas and Florida. Chief executive Joe Purvis said business is at an all-time high since 2010 [url=http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-taron-johnson-jersey]Authentic Taron Johnson Jersey[/url] , with sales doubling in the past year.
It’s not just athletes who should be wary of their past mistakes, Purvis said.
”Sports recruiters and normal employment recruiters are now looking at social media profiles as well as resumes as a standard of that person’s character,” he said. ”If your social profiles have negative posts, they will assume you are negative.”
In the sports world, college might actually be too late to make changes. Social media can factor into whether an athlete is even offered a scholarship.
”We’ve stopped recruiting someone based on what kind of person he is after coaches had chances to assess everything in their life, including social media,” said Georgia Southern spokesman Bryan Johnston.
Most schools designate a member of each team’s coaching staff to monitor the social media channels of athletes. But the sheer volume of several hundred athletes per school makes it nearly impossible to keep up with everything.
Many schools have presentations early in the school year to educate students about the importance of being smart about social media. North Carolina brings in Derrick Mayes, a former NFL player and co-founder of 5.0 Communications, for ”scared straight” seminars to athletes.
”When the reputation of your university, of your program is judged by what a teenager is doing on social media, the more that you can do to try to minimize those surprises, the better for everybody,” North Carolina spokesman Steve Kirschner said.
Walsh suggests athletes and average Joes alike scrub their accounts once a year like a spring cleaning, leaving nothing to chance. And to use social media in a positive way.
”Be authentic,” she said. ”Define your brand and values. And then, you put.
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