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Late For Work 7/13: London Team Goes Into Frenzy At Lewis Pep Talk

Ravens/Rice in a stalemate. Leach 21st-best player in AFC North. Reed’s interview alarming.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, July 13th, 2012 at 9:03 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

London Team Goes Into Frenzy At Lewis Pep Talk

The crowd literally went wild when linebacker Ray Lewis was announced as the motivational speaker.

The London Warriors are an amateur football team (not soccer, American football) and they were looking for a little extra inspiration before their clash this weekend with the London Blitz, the reigning BAFA National Leagues champions.

Who knew Lewis was so popular across the pond?

The Warriors players had no idea Lewis was about to walk on stage before them, but when coach Tony Allen announced the arrival of “No. 52,” the local school auditorium erupted, spiraling into a frenzy.

Lewis then dropped on the Warriors one of his trademark pump-up talks, which can partly be seen in the video below.

“They wrote me a long letter telling me how impactful it would be if I could share some time with them and speak with them,” Lewis told NFLUK.com’s Inside The Huddle podcast. “They told me they didn’t have the money, and I said that for something like that, I’m not looking for money. I told my team ‘I want to go to London. … I want to go talk to the Warriors.’ ”

Lewis said he made no other plans while in England.

His sole purpose was to spend three days coaching up the Warriors and getting to know players individually to help them with whatever they may be going through.

“The London Warriors’ story resonated with me for a number of reasons but mostly because of where the kids come from – most of the kids come from neighborhoods like I came from,” Lewis said. “Ninety percent of these young men are either going through or have been going through the same things I went through. They just need some form of motivation and, for me, that was the reason I came over here.”

Ravens/Rice In A Stalemate

With only one weekend to go until franchised players can work out long-term deals with their respective teams, CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora says only three or four deals will actually be struck.

Ray Rice’s contract is not listed as one of few that is likely to get done. Of course anything could change as the deadline approaches, but something huge would have to happen.

“[S]ources said there is still a stalemate between Baltimore and its star runner, Ray Rice,” wrote La Canfora. “It would take a major reversal over the weekend to get this kick-started.”

Rice isn’t the only one who probably won’t get a deal done by the deadline.

Here’s the status of the other remaining franchised players, according to La Canfora:

Saints quarterback Drew Brees: “I still believe this gets done, but it very well could go down to the wire.”

Bears running back Matt Forte: There has been “considerable progress” and the “prognosis looks promising.”

Raiders safety Tyvon Branch: The closest of all franchised players to a deal. “It’s a matter of when, and not if, he gets a new deal.”

Patriots receiver Wes Welker: 50/50 chance he’ll get a deal.

Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe: Talks have gone nowhere and “there doesn’t appear to be much impetus to securing a longer deal now.”

Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer: Dallas is “content” to see Spencer play another year to better determine his value.

Defensive lineman Cliff Avril: “It would take a major swing in those talks to foresee a deal as it stands right now.”

Kickers Josh Scobee (Jags), Phil Dawson (Browns) and Mike Nugent (Bengals): “I’d be very surprised if any of the three kickers got long-term deals.”

Vonta Leach 21st-Best Player in AFC North

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley is ranking the top 25 players in the AFC North, revealing yesterday that fullback Vonta Leach comes in at No. 21.

“A fullback on the top 25 list? I know, this pick will draw some criticism,” wrote Hensley. “To be honest, I was tempted to place Leach higher because of his impact on the running game.”

To showcase that impact, all you have to do is look at the difference in Rice’s production from 2010 to 2011, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Without Leach two years ago, Rice averaged 4.0 yards per carry and scored five rushing touchdowns. Those numbers grew with Leach leading the way, as Rice averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored 12 rushing touchdowns last season.

“If you don’t believe Leach deserves to be on this list, just ask the NFL linebackers who got walloped by him,” Hensley wrote.

Baltimore Building Baltimore

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tweeted out this video with Marques Ogden, a former Raven and brother to future Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden, who is making a big effort to put Baltimore residents to work by building Baltimore.

Ogden is the CEO of a company called Kayden Premier Enterprises, Inc., which is a Baltimore-based, minority-owned company that is certified in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and with the federal government.

About half of his employees (17 of 32) are from East Baltimore, the area they are working to improve. He gives residents who may have a checkered past a second chance. Check it out.

Quick Hits

  • “Ed Reed’s latest salvo regarding his intentions for 2012 certainly is more alarming than anything he has previously lobbed at the Ravens,” wrote John Eisenberg. “[A]fter this latest interview, it seems entirely possible that Reed will not be on hand for the start of training camp, which begins next week. And who knows how long he might sit out?” [CSNBaltimore.com]
  • @RavensInsider (Aaron Wilson): As I pointed out in my article, one roadblock to even doing an extension for Ed Reed is he currently has no agent to represent him [Twitter]
  • @Ravens: The #UnderArmour signs are up in the field house [Twitter]
  • Check out the RL52 deck of cards. It’s a fitness program Lewis uses to share his philosophy of “using muscle confusion to achieve fitness gains and a version of his own system for training with a deck of cards.” There’s a deck for all levels – rookie, amateur and Pro – for the price of $74.95. [RL52Cycling.com]
  • I sure wish I was chillin’ in Haiti right now too. Soak it up … @TorreySmithWR: Sea Turtles!!  [Twitter]
  • Football Outsiders Editor-In-Chief Aaron Schatz sticks up for quarterback Joe Flacco, saying, “Baltimore fans who don’t like Flacco should ask themselves what they would be getting instead.” [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Priest Holmes said he suffered multiple head-to-head shots while playing for the Ravens and Chiefs, and many of those hits changed the color of the sky. [NFL.com]
  • Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones is fighting for a starting job. [Carroll County Times]

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