Late For Work 8/20: Cary Williams Declines Ravens’ Contract Offer

Birk sympathetic to refs, Boldin not. Dickson, Pitta recovering. Torrey fine or not?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, August 20th, 2012 at 9:19 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Williams Declines Ravens’ Contract Offer

Ravens cornerback Cary Williams declined a three-year contract extension offer from the Ravens worth about $15 million, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.

The 27 year old had signed his $1.972 million second-round tender in May and said at the time that he hoped the two sides would get back to the negotiating table.

Now, he is choosing to play out that tender in hopes of getting a better offer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

“My philosophy on doing that was just having confidence in myself,” Williams told Wilson. “I know myself, I know my ability. I know my work ethic. At the end of the day, the offer, I felt like I could always make that. I felt it wasn’t good enough and my agent said it wasn’t good enough. I love playing for the Ravens. I would love to be here, but right now we’re just in the negotiation stage.

“For me to say the money ain’t good, that wasn’t the case. It’s good money, but my job is to make the most money I possibly can for my family. I’m thinking about my daughter and any future children I want to have. I want some kind of security, and the deal we had wasn’t like that.”

Williams’ play was a pleasant surprise last season, as he emerged as a starter for the Ravens after a slow start to his NFL career. He was drafted by Tennessee in the seventh round out of Division II Washburn. The Ravens picked him up off the Titans’ practice squad in 2009.

Williams underwent surgery on his right hip last offseason after recording a career-high 77 tackles and 18 pass deflections in 2012. Williams says his hip is 100 percent, but he now favors his left hip because of overcompensation.

He will have to overcome any health obstacles, plus the competition from teammate Jimmy Smith, if he is going to get the contract he desires.

Just as he has his whole life, Williams is betting on himself.

“Cary was fired up about his value and what he’s worth after a successful year,” Marc Lillibridge, Williams’ agent, told Wilson. “We feel like if he can play as good or better than last season and lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl, then he’ll get his just due. I completely agree with that. You roll the dice on yourself your entire life.”

Wilson believes there could be  middle ground for Williams in the future, noting there are many starting cornerbacks that average above $5 million, but won’t get Nnamdi Asomugha, Darrelle Revis or even Lardarius Webb money.

Williams hopes that middle ground will be found in Baltimore.

“Although Williams turned down the Ravens’ contract offer, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s engaged in an exit strategy,” wrote Wilson. “Ideally, Williams would like to remain with the Ravens depending on the level of contract talks.”

Birk Sympathetic To Replacement Refs, Boldin Not So Much

After playing in two preseason games with the league’s replacement officials, Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin sees a need for change.

The 10-year veteran told The Sun’s Peter Schmuck, “they’ve really got to do something” about officiating. “Some of the calls out there … the way the game was being stopped. It just looked unprofessional,” Boldin said.

The officials have made a few blunders in each of the Ravens games, the most memorable from the first game when the official referred to Atlanta as Arizona on more than one occasion. In Friday’s contest against the Lions, the officiating crew needed nearly three minutes of conferences to figure out how to mark off an 18-yard facemask penalty on Detroit near the end of the first quarter.

The Lions team website writer Mike O’Hara said the refs were a “disgrace on any level of officiating football.”

But Ravens center Matt Birk is more sympathetic to the situation these men and women have suddenly found themselves in.

“They’ve been thrown into the fire on the biggest stage of the world,” he told Schmuck. “These guys have been thrown together and probably have never worked together before.”

In the video below, former Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira discusses the latest in the league’s negotiations with the referees.

Zenitz: Cundiff Coming Across As ‘Very Bitter’

After Friday’s home preseason debut, in which both incumbent kicker Billy Cundiff and rookie challenger Justin Tucker were perfect on field-goal attempts, Cundiff told reporters he isn’t competing against Tucker.

Instead, he said he is competing against himself because it’s his job to lose.

“The way the coaches have approached me and the way everybody in the organization has approached it is that if I kick well, this is my job,” Cundiff said after the game. “This isn’t necessarily a competition between myself and Justin. This is really a competition with myself and how good I can be.”

The Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz believes Cundiff’s comments aren’t coming across in a positive light.

Cundiff [is] coming across very bitter towards the competition with Tucker,” Zenitz tweeted. “Almost seems resentful that the comp. is even being viewed as close.”

J. Smith Developing ‘Serious Issue?’

Cornerback Jimmy Smith was right there in coverage with one of the league’s best wide receivers, Calvin Johnson, in Friday’s preseason contest. But Smith didn’t look for the ball at the last moment and ended up allowing a touchdown reception.

Turns out, he did the same thing in practice on Sunday, giving up another touchdown to 2011 Seattle Seahawks practice squad player Patrick Williams.’s Ray Frager says it’s a forgivable mistake against a man called “Megatron,” but not with a receiver trying to make the roster.

“So, is this a serious issue with Smith’s technique or concentration or some other cause?” asked Frager. “Preseason is the time to figure this stuff out.

“As others have pointed out, the absence of Terrell Suggs likely means more blitzing, which means more leaving cornerbacks by their lonesome. So you can’t have a corner who’s not able to locate that oblong brown thing flying through the air.”

Dickson, Pitta Still On Schedule For Season Opener

So far, so good.

Tight ends Ed Dickson (shoulder sprain) and Dennis Pitta (broken hand) are still on schedule to play in the Ravens season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, according to The Sun.

“It’s much better, a lot better,” Dickson said of his shoulder. “I can actually do some catching and stuff, and more conditioning. The progress is definitely pretty good. Hopefully I can get back there in a week or so. I’ll do anything possible to get out there for the season opener. I don’t want to miss those. I want to play [now], but I’m glad I still have these preseason games to get healthy.”

Pitta still isn’t cleared to catch any passes, but says he’ll be ready to go.

“With the hand, you’ve got to let the bone heal,” Pitta told The Sun. “We’re being smart with it and making sure that we’re doing all we can at the proper time. If we prepare right, we’ll be ready to go when the season starts.”

So Is T. Smith Fine Or Not?



Torrey Smith Returns To Practice

There were some conflicting opinions about how receiver Torrey Smith looked in his return to practice yesterday after being held out of a few days of practice last week and the Lions game.

“Doesn’t look like Torrey Smith is affected by that ankle,” tweeted Ryan Mink. “He’s flying around the field.”

But’s J. Michael Falgoust saw something completely different, saying Smith “hobbled” through parts of practice.

“Smith clearly favored the ankle when he had to come to a sudden stop, plant and push off. When Smith had to do that, he came away with a limp. Flacco went to Smith on a short pass over the middle that went off of his hands. Smith limped away.

“That could jeopardize Smith’s ability to play in Thursday’s home game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coach John Harbaugh is more optimistic.”

You can take a look at some footage of Smith from yesterday’s practice in the video to the right. It’s limited, but what do you think?

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