Late For Work 3/5: Current, Former Ravens React To ‘Bountygate’

Hines ‘would love’ to be a Raven. What does future hold for Evans? Suggs in Hall of Fame.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 9:16 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Current, Former Ravens Weigh In On ‘Bountygate’

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could hand down one of the harshest punishments ever in the history of the league, reports ESPN, for the New Orleans Saints’ involvement in “Bountygate” – the scheme in which players were paid extra money for injuring opponents and knocking them out of a game.

Now the Associated Press reports the NFL is looking into the possibility that other teams implemented a bounty system.

Asked if he knew of any bounty situation in Baltimore where there may have been monetary value placed on hits, Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson definitively answered:

No, not that I’m aware of,” Johnson told WBAL 1090 AM.

He admitted that he wasn’t fully aware of the Saints’ situation, but he doesn’t understand how any player could perform well under a bounty system.

“In my mind, if I’m out there thinking about an extra thousand I could get for hitting somebody, I’m probably not playing very well,” he said. “I should be thinking about my coverage, my rush.”

Johnson’s hit on the Steelers’ Ward in the 2011 season-opener will forever be remembered by Ravens fans. Double J put Ward flat on his back with his feet pointing skyward, becoming the No. 1 hit of the season.

Asked if he got extra money for laying out the most-loathed Steeler, Johnson assured he didn’t.

“I’m sure there were a lot of people that wanted to pay me for it, but no, I didn’t get paid,” he said.

Here are other Ravens’, former and current, takes on “Bountygate.”

Brendon Ayanbadejo: Play by the rules and make big hits (Twitter). “Call it a bounty call it a bonus as long as you play within the confines of the game anything goes!!! … Like i said call it what you want, play by the rules, make big plays, make big hits, WIN!!! And celebrate … That’s very rare [to injure opponents].”

Trevor Pryce: Players get paid for big hits, not injuring opponents (New York Times). “It’s pretty much standard operating procedure. … It is said, yes, knock his helmet off, get an extra $10,000. Or $100,000 if a guy gets carted off the field. That stuff is all said in jest, in a tongue-in-cheek way. It’s like betting on the sun not coming up. It’s not like the Saints are playing against Holy Trinity College. They’re playing against other N.F.L. players. I don’t think teams really mean it that way. Now, a big hit is different. Getting rewarded for a big hit, they do that in college. You get a sticker on your helmet.”

Bart Scott:  Malicious intent would be obvious (New York Times). “You can’t just read the words, you have to know the intent. Knocking someone out doesn’t mean you’re doing something dirty. It’s no different than when the Detroit Pistons played Michael Jordan and every time he went to the hole, they were physical with him. No one was literally trying to hurt him. To a certain extent, the league could investigate every team and find the same exact stuff.”

Rex Ryan: I’ve never coached bounties (New York Daily News): “This is something that is being handled by the NFL office. I’ve never condoned it and I’ve never coached it.”

Pit Columnist: Ward ‘Would Love’ To Be A Raven

This will certainly add fuel to the Hines-to-Baltimore fire.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette scribe Ed Bouchette told Pittsburgh’s 93.7 FM that he thinks Steelers nemesis Hines Ward “would love to play in Baltimore.”

“I don’t think he’s thinking of legacies right now,” he said of Ward. “These guys want to play… once they quit, they’re done.”

Bouchette said Pittsburgh would have been the “perfect spot” for Ward, but the coaching staff didn’t want him.

The question that begs to be asked is whether the Ravens coaching staff would want the aging veteran.

While it’s not out of the realm of possibility, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley doesn’t see it happening.

“I can’t see the Ravens bringing in Ward because they already have a possession receiver in Anquan Boldin and they want to keep getting faster at wide receiver,” he wrote.

“And I can’t see the Ravens welcoming Ward in the locker room after all of those blindside shots on safety Ed Reed.”

Our own Ryan Mink and Garrett Downing pondered the same question in the Flock Mailbag.

What Does Future Hold For Lee Evans?

Inquiring minds want to know what the future could hold for receiver Lee Evans now that he has officially been released from the Ravens.

Technically, General Manager Ozzie Newsome left the door open for the eight-year veteran to return to Baltimore. Expect some speculation there.

Don’t plan on a reunion with the Bills, says Buffalo News’ Jay Skurski, who “can’t envision a scenario” in which Evans returns there.

A Browns fan asked Hensley about the prospect of Evans playing in Cleveland. No there as well. The AFC North blogger believes Evans’ NFL career might be over.

I believe Evans is done,” Hensley wrote. “His body is starting to break down, and his confidence is shot. Evans was one of the most durable wide receivers in the game, playing in the first 109 games of his career. But he has now missed 10 of his past 19 regular-season games because of injuries. His numbers have declined for the past four seasons, dropping from 63 catches in 2008 to four in 2011.

“The Browns definitely need a deep threat, but they need a deep threat who will get out on the field. Evans is a huge question mark.”

Suggs’ Uniform Preserved In Hall of Fame

He’s not a Hall of Famer (yet), but Terrell Suggs will always be remembered there.

His entire uniform from the 2011 season was donated to the Hall of Fame to commemorate his performance last season, for which he earned the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award.

“We appreciate Terrell and the Ravens sending these mementos to us,” the Hall of Fame’s curator Jason Aikens said. “This helps us achieve our mission of preserving the game’s great history and the players who’ve made an impact on the game.” 

Quick Hits

  • Suggs says the lockout made him better. … “Last year, to be totally honest with you, I had the time of my life during the lockout and wasn’t in a hurry to get back to work. I think that’s why, in total, I ended up having the season that I did. A lot of guys ended up pushing themselves too hard and ended up getting hurt trying to get ready for mini-camps and OTAs. Fortunately we didn’t have that burden on our shoulders and that’s why I think I had a great year.” [WHB in Kansas City]
  • “[Vontaze Burfict] is looking more like a second-rounder now,” wrote Hensley. “But I don’t see him falling to the bottom of that round. So, if the Ravens want him, they probably would have to move up in the second or trade back from the first.” [ESPN]
  • SI_PeterKing: RT @ElRocco337: Ravens had bounties on Ward/Mendenhall and NFL did nothing. Now the NFL cares? … Prove it. [Twitter]
  • Could running back Marshawn Lynch’s new deal, worth $31 million over four years serve as a template to Rice’s contract? …  ”No, the Marshawn Lynch deal is no guidepost for a Ray Rice deal,” wrote Ravens Insider Aaron Wilson. “Different economic plane entirely. Rice will make much more than him.” [Twitter]
  • Hensley used to think Rice wouldn’t hold out after getting the franchise tag. He’s not so sure anymore … “Now, I think there’s a good chance that Rice will miss at least the first couple weeks of training camp, and he shouldn’t be vilified for it. Rice is well within his rights to do so. By putting the tag on Rice, the Ravens are only on the hook for this season. The team has given no long-term security to Rice, so why should he risk long-term consequences by participating in a full training camp?” [ESPN]

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