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Late for Work 3/31: DeCosta Given Extra Incentive to Stay

Plus Jones explains his side of wrestling video and ‘significant interest’ in Matthews.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 9:12 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ravens Doing Everything to Secure DeCosta as GM-in-Waiting

Eric DeCosta is a very popular name around the league, especially when general manager vacancies pop up.  

Steve Bisciotti is acutely aware of DeCosta’s appeal to other teams, which is why the Ravens’ owner has done everything he can to secure DeCosta as the Ravens’ general manager-in-waiting.

 ”We worked out a nice new contract with Eric that gives him a lot of financial incentive to stay,” Bisciotti told The Baltimore Sun. “It’s not enough to stop him from leaving but enough to encourage him to stay. We addressed it right after the [last year's] draft. He was very appreciative and very happy.” 

So far, Bisciotti’s plan has worked.

DeCosta has been with the Ravens since the team’s inception in 1996, gradually moving up the ranks from area scout to director of player personnel. He remained loyal to the organization last year by removing himself as a candidate for the Seattle Seahawks’ general manager opening.

“With this new agreement, I think it would take a perfect job in the perfect city in order for Eric to say he’s not willing to be Ozzie’s successor,” Bisciotti added.

Since Newsome has shown no indication of leaving “anytime soon,” that perfect job could present itself while the “Wizard of Oz” is still in charge. But, ProFootballTalk’s Gregg Rosenthal says there is one other incentive for DeCosta to be selective about his next move.

“DeCosta’s predecessors haven’t fared too well leaving the Ravens nest,” wrote Rosenthal. ”Both Phil Savage and George Kokinis didn’t last long as general managers [in Cleveland].

“If nothing else, DeCosta’s new contract should help him avoid accepting any job offers from the Browns.”  

Jones Explains His Side of Wrestling Video

Yesterday, we highlighted a gem of a video in which 300-pound defensive tackle Kelly Gregg slammed fellow 300-pound defensive tackle Art Jones to the ground during a fun wrestling match in the Ravens locker room.

Being a two-time high school heavyweight state champion, Jones had a lot of pride on the line and responded to Ray Rice, who originally posted the video on Twitter, with a few explanations.

Artj97 @ RayRice27: as everyone can see I slipped trying to go for the big throw. Lol

RayRice27 @ Artj97: lol I got more footage bro keep it up lol

Art’s brother, Jon “Bones” Jones, is the current UFC light heavyweight champion and wasn’t too pleased with his older brother’s performance.

“Jonnybones: Oh no @ArtJ97!! What is this about?! I’m disappointed

Artj97 @ Jonnybones: hahah that video is 8 months old. Too funny all good fun. Kellys the man. We all know what would happen if I was serious.#Pin KG

Teammate Fabian Washington got in on all the fun too.

FABEWASH31: Just listen to Ray Lewis in the back ground. This is funny @artj97 @rayrice27

Artj97@FABEWASH31: hahah I know… too funny it was in usa today. Do the media really have anything else to talk about ? #goodtimes

The answer to your question is no, Art.

It’s a valid and understandable question, but during the lockout, this is prime content. That’s why I would ask Ray Rice to post the other footage he says he’s holding back. Come on, Ray!

Ravens Show ‘Significant Interest’ in Matthews with Third Meeting

The Ravens continue to show “significant interest” in Casey Matthews by bringing him to the team practice facility for their third meeting of the offseason, according to ESPN’s James Walker.

Matthews has already met with team officials at the Senior Bowl and at the NFL Combine. Yesterday, the Ravens held a private workout for the Oregon Duck.

“Baltimore will put Matthews through team-specific drills and get an up-close look at the middle linebacker. The Ravens are putting a strong effort into finding a pupil and possible successor to future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis in this draft.”

Mathews, who is projected to be a second- or third-round pick, recorded 73 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions last season.

Walker believes Matthews is partly getting a lot of pre-draft attention because of the success of his Super Bowl-winning brother, Clay Matthews Jr.

Heap Doesn’t Make Top-10 Cut

ESPN continued ranking the top 10 NFL players at each position. Focusing on tight ends this week, nobody from the AFC North made the list, including the Ravens’ Todd Heap.

So, Walker put together his own rankings of the AFC North tight ends and Heap was listed at No. 3 behind the Steelers’ Heath Miller (42 receptions, 512 yards, two touchdowns) and the Browns’ Ben Watson (68 receptions, 763 yards, three touchdowns).

Nabbing 40 catches for 599 yards, Heap enjoyed his most productive season since 2006 despite missing three games with a hamstring injury.

 ”Heap, a 10-year veteran, is on the downside of a productive career, but he continues to make plays for Baltimore,” wrote Walker. “Heap proved he can still stretch the field with an average of 15.0 yards per reception in 2010.”

Quick Hits

  • RavensInsider: After his Pro Day workout, Texas DE-OLB Sam Acho said he has interviews scheduled with the Ravens and Jets.
  • RavensInsider: Ravens worked out Lehigh offensive lineman Will Rackley today.
  • Jason La Canfora reported that 20 players have been invited to attend the 2011 NFL draft. Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn and Southern California offensive tackle Tyron Smith have already confirmed that they will attend. [NFL.com]
  • deemason85: I was asked why I was so happy this morning and my answer was bc God is good! Enjoy the day and be blessed people!!
  • NFL owners will pay $177 million on Thursday to complete their contributions to the player benefits program for the 2010 season. That payment will bring the total amount funded by the 32 teams for 2010 to $245 million. It is a payment the league has made by the end of March each year under its collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association. [Associated Press]
  • Concussions in football games are taken more seriously than ever before. And going forward, that will hold true in some video games.  EA Sports’ president said “Madden” will no longer allow concussed players to return to the field in the following quarter. [Associated Press]

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