Recent stories by Kevin Van Valkenburg
10:52 PM EST, January 22, 2012
It took Ray Lewis a long time to put his suit on after the AFC championship was over on Sunday. He got dressed in silence, he made sure his tie was straight and his jacket wasn't wrinkled. Then, he stood in the eye of a small media storm, smiled into the cameras, and put to bed questions about his future.
10:23 PM EST, January 22, 2012
Joe Flacco didn't have a clear view of the play. But in his gut, in that moment, he was convinced he'd just thrown a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lee Evans with 27 seconds left in the AFC championship game. The Ravens were going to the Super Bowl, and the quarterback had just made it happen. Flacco raised his arms, began to run down the Baltimore sideline through a sea of bodies, and got ready to let loose a cathartic, celebratory roar.
10:01 PM EST, January 21, 2012
In 2007, Steve Bisciotti made his first major decision as the majority owner of the Baltimore Ravens. He fired Brian Billick, in part because the team had just gone 5-11 to miss the playoffs for the third time in four years, but also because he wanted to change the entire culture of the organization. He wanted someone who possessed not only a first-rate football mind, but also someone who would deal with the players, the media, the community, the fans and the support staff differently.
9:34 PM EST, January 12, 2012
The Ravens locker room, even on the quietest of days, is a churning, bubbling storm of music and voices. Most of the time, it feels as chaotic as a busy train station, as crowded and lively as a food market. A high-stakes game of bean bag toss in the middle of the room fuels perpetual shouting and arguing. Terrell Suggs' frequently leaves movies blaring on the Blu-ray player set up in his locker, but he ignores the dialogue to rib his teammates, or the media, with his booming voice. Terrence Cody has music thumping from his iPod speakers so frequently, his teammates dubbed the area surrounding his locker as "Patterson Park," and Cody responded by writing those words on a piece of athletic tape, then slapping it on the wall above his locker.
8:04 PM EST, December 26, 2011
It's no mystery how high the stakes will be for the Ravens in their regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. But what is a mystery — and will likely remain one until kickoff — is what kind team is going to show up.
6:32 PM EST, January 19, 2012
On the eve of the NFL playoffs, Ricky Williams was standing in front of his locker with a book in his hand when a reporter approached him and started to ask a few questions. The reporter wanted to talk about what an interesting and strange trip his career has been, especially now that it might be drawing to a close, but he didn't want to offend Williams by suggesting he should hang up his cleats any time soon.
4:08 PM EST, December 25, 2011
In the second quarter of the Ravens' 20-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on Saturday, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice perfectly executed what was perhaps the prettiest scoring play this season for Baltimore.
8:42 PM EST, December 15, 2011
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith strolled into the locker room this week looking like a man without a concern in the world, right up until the second he realized a reporter was standing in front of his locker, notebook in hand. Smith leaned his head back, sized up his inquisitor, and raised his eyebrows with skepticism.
6:08 PM EST, December 30, 2011
There was a time, and it really wasn't that long ago, when there wasn't a running back in the league who could make the Ravens defense look mortal. For the better part of a decade, Baltimore went after ball carriers like a pack of hungry lions, surrounding them with vicious efficiency before planting them on the turf.
8:54 PM EST, December 11, 2011
It's been difficult to come up with new and interesting ways to describe the effect Terrell Suggs is having on opposing teams this year, but John Harbaugh might have managed to boil the praise of Suggs down to succinct perfection on Sunday.
6:30 PM EST, December 22, 2011
There was a time, years ago, when Ravens running back Anthony Allen and his father, Amos, had a regular ritual. They'd close up the martial arts studio where Amos was an instructor, and they'd head to Winn Dixie.
7:42 PM EST, December 19, 2011
If you only look at the statistics from the Ravens' 34-14 loss to the Chargers on Sunday night, you could easily surmise that the team had trouble protecting Joe Flacco. Baltimore's fourth-year quarterback was sacked five times, and three of those were at the hands of former Ravens linebacker Antwan Barnes.
10:15 PM EST, December 10, 2011
If you really want to appreciate the violence of football when the Ravens take on the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday, take your eyes off Ray Rice and Joe Flacco for a second and focus on right guard Marshal Yanda.
10:08 PM EST, December 2, 2011
Each week, when Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb shows up to do his radio show at the Al Packer Ford dealership in White Marsh, fans eagerly await, the majority of them hungry to get his autograph. During commercial breaks, they stand in line until it's their turn to shuffle forward and enthusiastically thrust a football, a picture, a jersey or a hat into his hands.
12:13 AM EST, November 26, 2011
Over the course of his Ravens career, Terrell Suggs has not only earned the right to speak his mind from time to time, he's also learned that sometimes the best way to make a point with the coaching staff is to inject a little humor into his comments.
7:05 PM EST, November 23, 2011
Every Tuesday morning during football season, a few minutes before the clock in his living room hits 10 a.m., Jack Harbaugh will step out his front door and soak up the cool air as he stands on his porch in Mequon, Wisc. Try as he might, he cannot resist fidgeting. Every few minutes, he'll glance up the street, eager to spot the FedEx truck the moment it materializes.
11:01 PM EST, November 11, 2011
Drafting and developing young players is the lifeblood of any successful NFL team, and there is no question the Ravens have a very good track record of not only landing good players with their first-round picks, but also unearthing hidden gems in the later rounds and in free agency.
9:35 PM EST, November 14, 2011
As one might expect, these are tense times at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.
12:46 AM EST, November 7, 2011
It was interesting to tune into sports talk radio in the Steel City prior to Sunday's game between the Ravens and Steelers, if only to hear an opposing city's take on quarterback Joe Flacco. For several hours, caller after caller checked in to state the belief that Flacco, who was just 1-5 in Heinz Field prior to last night, would never play well enough to lead the Ravens to a win.
8:33 PM EDT, October 30, 2011
Anquan Boldin had a look on his face in the second half of Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals that words could not possibly do justice. It might best be described as a mixture of desire, focus, self-confidence and rage.
9:30 PM EDT, October 29, 2011
Two days after the Ravens posted their worst offensive showing in years, Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco wrapped up practice by having a quiet conversation as they left the field. Calling it a conversation, however, might be a bit of a stretch.
8:37 PM EDT, October 13, 2011
It's hard to appreciate just how large Bryant McKinnie truly is unless you've stood next to him.
11:52 PM EDT, November 5, 2011
After years of watching the Ravens and the Steelers play a series of violent, important, memorable football games, it's not hard to make the case that this AFC North clash is the best rivalry in sports. Even though it hasn't been around for as long some of the most storied rivalries like Bears-Packers, Harvard-Yale or Red Sox-Yankees, it more than makes up for it in passion and in thunder.
5:05 PM EDT, October 22, 2011
Jarret Johnson still grimaces when he thinks about it.
10:26 PM EDT, October 9, 2011
We've reached the quarter pole of the NFL season, and it's probably fair to say we still don't quite know what to make of this Ravens team.
7:14 PM EDT, September 29, 2011
The day that Derrick Mason got the call from Ozzie Newsome informing him that the Baltimore Ravens were going to release him after six seasons also happened to be the day he watched his son, Derrick II, wrap up his first day of youth football practice.
10:30 PM EDT, September 19, 2011
If you're among the Ravens fans discouraged by the inconsistent play of Lee Evans and Domonique Foxworth, you have company in head coach John Harbaugh.
1:01 AM EDT, September 25, 2011
It's hard to find a quiet moment when you're a head coach in the NFL.
10:28 PM EDT, September 17, 2011
Ray Rice was in elementary school the first time he sat down in front of a chess set. He was 9-years-old.
8:52 PM EDT, September 14, 2011
Brian Matusz hasn't pitched in a game since the Orioles removed him from the rotation after he gave up five runs in 11/3 innings to the New York Yankees on Sept. 5, but manager Buck Showalter said he hasn't closed the door yet on Matusz's season, and that the 24-year-old left-hander has been working extremely hard this past week on his control problems.
8:25 PM EDT, September 4, 2011
When he was growing up in Towson, JF Thormann could not, in his wildest fantasies, have imagined a day when downtown Baltimore would be turned into a IndyCar racetrack.
9:23 PM EDT, September 3, 2011
Two of the most important car owners in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi, sat beside each other Saturday afternoon to discuss the rivalry between their teams as the IndyCar season heads toward its finish.
9:08 PM EDT, September 4, 2011
If there was one complaint about the Baltimore Grand Prix from IndyCar drivers Sunday, it was that the course could have used one more area where it was feasible to pass. The course was set up so that drivers had to be patient, and most of them were. But the one time a driver tried to press the issue, the result was chaos.
7:39 PM EDT, September 3, 2011
Simona De Silvestro stepped out of her hauler Saturday afternoon after an intense meeting with her race team, only to be greeted by a pleasant surprise.
2:29 AM EDT, August 31, 2011
LeBron James strolled into Hill Field House on Morgan State's campus Tuesday night wearing a white Nike T-shirt with words "Basketball Never Stops" stenciled on the front. He had a deathly serious look on his face. He handed out a few hugs, traded a series of low-key high-fives with acquaintances, but he didn't appear to be in the mood for conversation. After less than a minute, he drifted toward the floor and began silently shooting jumpers.
9:24 PM EDT, August 14, 2011
Jake Arrieta was back in the Orioles clubhouse Sunday with his right arm in a sling just a couple of days after Dr. Lewis Yocum removed a very large bone spur and some smaller bone chips from his right elbow.
7:36 PM EDT, August 13, 2011
Tim Anderson agrees that, with the way his luck has been trending, now would probably be a good time to buy himself a lottery ticket.
3:45 PM EDT, July 29, 2011
On the days when it seemed like the NFL lockout might never end, former Maryland wide receiver LaQuan Williams would stand at the register of Sherman Williams, where he was holding down a part-time job, and try to block out his frustrations.
10:22 PM EDT, July 25, 2011
The city of Baltimore received a sobering reminder about the business side of professional football Monday when veterans Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Willis McGahee and Kelly Gregg were informed by the Ravens that the team has decided to release them from their contracts.
6:57 PM EDT, June 26, 2011
It's no secret that the Orioles are more than a little concerned with Brian Matusz's declining velocity. Matusz insists that he's healthy, and that might be true, but the radar gun doesn't lie. A player who once regularly threw 94 mph fastballs now tops out in the high 80s, and opposing hitters have been teeing off on him in his past three starts.
7:57 PM EDT, July 22, 2011
For all Michael Phelps has accomplished and for all the world records he has smashed, it has still become a bit of a tradition for the swimming world to doubt him on eve of the FINA World Championships.
10:00 PM EDT, July 23, 2011
Former Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, drafted by Baltimore in the sixth round this year, has a few things in common with Ravens fans right now.
7:24 PM EDT, June 29, 2011
Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who came up lame in the days following the Belmont Stakes, has a slab fracture in his left hind leg that will require surgery. He will not race again this season, according to Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin and trainer Graham Motion.
10:19 AM EDT, June 24, 2011
Ever since he started his foundation, Michael Phelps has been trying to educate Baltimore kids on water safety and attempting to save lives with swimming lessons. Now he's expanding that mission beyond the Baltimore area, and taking it nationwide.
3:11 PM EDT, August 6, 2011
There was a time, not all that long ago in the big picture of life, when golf was little more than a hobby to David Hutsell.
9:37 PM EDT, June 24, 2011
To Josh Selby, the Memphis Grizzlies represent a clean slate, and a team that doesn't care about his past, only his potential.
9:38 PM EDT, July 4, 2011
He is Mr. November, and every other month in which Major League Baseball is played.
9:31 PM EDT, May 31, 2011
If you happen to be a Ravens season-ticket holder, Wednesday marks the deadline where you and your bank account have to decide just how important it is to retain those season tickets in 2011, despite the fact that little progress has been made between the NFL Players Association and the league's owners as they try to reach a new labor agreement.
8:40 PM EDT, June 16, 2011
Kentucky Derby winnerAnimal Kingdom has a small fracture in the cannon bone in his left back leg and will be out of action for at least several weeks while doctors monitor his condition.
8:59 PM EDT, June 30, 2011
Anyone who has closely followed the Orioles this year is likely able to identify one of their biggest problems on offense, and that certainly includes manager Buck Showalter. The hitters just aren't particularly patient, especially in high-leverage situations.
9:20 PM EDT, May 20, 2011
Trainer Graham Motion has made his final preparations for the Preakness, and feels confident Animal Kingdom will run well Saturday.
8:29 PM EDT, June 15, 2011
Former Maryland Terrapin guard Greivis Vasquez, who is now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, is in his native Venezuela this week as part of a U.S. State Department "sports diplomacy" program that hopes to use athletes to improve international relations, especially between countries with strained relationships.
8:03 PM EDT, June 22, 2011
Several months ago, Josh Selby was talking on the phone to mentor Carmelo Anthony. It was just a friendly conversation between two men who know exactly what it feels like to be a basketball prodigy from inner city Baltimore.
March 4, 2010
Olympian Michael Phelps will be competing in four events at the Maryland Swimming Championships at the Naval Academy this weekend, and his participation is further proof of just how different swimming is from other sports.
1:07 AM EDT, May 21, 2010
The long and arduous journey toward the 2012 Olympics in London is starting to take shape for swimmer Michael Phelps.
6:57 PM EDT, May 3, 2011
It has been quite awhile, arguably more than three years, since Michael Phelps was able to focus solely on the sport of swimming.
7:22 AM EDT, September 14, 2010
Some days, Michael Phelps clearly wouldn't mind if he could swap the rest of his competitive swimming career and replace it with an amateur golfing career.
February 19, 2010
Under Armour, the athletic apparel brand that popularized the catch phrase "We must protect this house," can now boast that the metaphorical pool outside the house will also be protected.
10:37 PM EDT, June 3, 2011
Orioles manager Buck Showalter actually thought Nick Markakis looked halfway decent at first base when Baltimore's regular right fielder was asked to play there in a pinch during the team's final game against the Seattle Mariners. Showalter would prefer, however, to never see it happen again.
7:33 PM EDT, June 2, 2010
Pratt Street has a rich history in Baltimore lore. It's old enough that the street has been identified on city maps dating back as far as 1801.
November 23, 2009
Colts 17, Ravens 15
Moments after throwing a critical fourth-quarter interception in the red zone, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco angrily pulled down on his face mask and yelled.
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