Recent stories by Kevin Van Valkenburg

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis vows to return for next season

10:52 PM EST, January 22, 2012

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis vows to return for next season

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.

Flacco answers many critics, but Ravens still fall short

10:23 PM EST, January 22, 2012

Flacco answers many critics, but Ravens still fall short

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.

Similarities abound when looking at Ravens and Patriots

10:01 PM EST, January 21, 2012

Similarities abound when looking at Ravens and Patriots

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.

Cary Williams overcame abuse and anguish on way to NFL

9:34 PM EST, January 12, 2012

Cary Williams overcame abuse and anguish on way to NFL

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.

Can Ravens overcome injuries, inconsistent play?

8:04 PM EST, December 26, 2011

Can Ravens overcome injuries, inconsistent play?

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.

Ricky Williams has found peace with the Ravens

6:32 PM EST, January 19, 2012

Ricky Williams has found peace with the Ravens

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.

Passing game stands out as problem area for Ravens

4:08 PM EST, December 25, 2011

Passing game stands out as problem area for Ravens

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.

Jimmy Smith living up to expectations on the field — but not off it

8:42 PM EST, December 15, 2011

Jimmy Smith living up to expectations on the field — but not off it

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.

Bengals' Benson has caused Ravens problems

6:08 PM EST, December 30, 2011

Bengals' Benson has caused Ravens problems

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.

Suggs not interested in personal awards, just 'football immortality'

8:54 PM EST, December 11, 2011

Suggs not interested in personal awards, just 'football immortality'

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.

Allen and many of his Ravens teammate know how important it is to give back

6:30 PM EST, December 22, 2011

Allen and many of his Ravens teammate know how important it is to give back

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.

Ravens fault lack of execution for troubles against San Diego

7:42 PM EST, December 19, 2011

Ravens fault lack of execution for troubles against San Diego

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.

Quiet Yanda lowers boom for Ravens

10:15 PM EST, December 10, 2011

Quiet Yanda lowers boom for Ravens

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.

For Webb, stardom is just a way to help others

10:08 PM EST, December 2, 2011

For Webb, stardom is just a way to help others

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.

Suggs finds a steady diet of Rice plenty appetizing for Ravens

12:13 AM EST, November 26, 2011

Suggs finds a steady diet of Rice plenty appetizing for Ravens

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.

Father, sons and football: Thanksgiving for Harbaugh family at M&T Bank Stadium

7:05 PM EST, November 23, 2011

Father, sons and football: Thanksgiving for Harbaugh family at M&T Bank Stadium

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.

Assessing the Ravens' young talent

11:01 PM EST, November 11, 2011

Assessing the Ravens' young talent

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.

Resolute Harbaugh says Ravens will work through difficulties

9:35 PM EST, November 14, 2011

Resolute Harbaugh says Ravens will work through difficulties

As one might expect, these are tense times at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco answers doubters with last-minute drive

12:46 AM EST, November 7, 2011

Ravens QB Joe Flacco answers doubters with last-minute drive

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.

Boldin's ferocity resurrects the Ravens' offense

8:33 PM EDT, October 30, 2011

Boldin's ferocity resurrects the Ravens' offense

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.

The heat is on Cam Cameron as Ravens offense tries to bounce back

9:30 PM EDT, October 29, 2011

The heat is on Cam Cameron as Ravens offense tries to bounce back

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.

In new environment, McKinnie feels like old self

8:37 PM EDT, October 13, 2011

In new environment, McKinnie feels like old self

It's hard to appreciate just how large Bryant McKinnie truly is unless you've stood next to him.

Step into the rivalry: Ravens vs. Steelers

11:52 PM EDT, November 5, 2011

Step into the rivalry: Ravens vs. Steelers

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.

Double-J is more than just OK

5:05 PM EDT, October 22, 2011

Double-J is more than just OK

Jarret Johnson still grimaces when he thinks about it.

Projecting the rest of the Ravens' season

10:26 PM EDT, October 9, 2011

Projecting the rest of the Ravens' season

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.

Mason reflective as he prepares for return to Baltimore

7:14 PM EDT, September 29, 2011

Mason reflective as he prepares for return to Baltimore

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.

Deadline to sign Haloti Ngata to new deal is 4 p.m. Tuesday

10:30 PM EDT, September 19, 2011

Deadline to sign Haloti Ngata to new deal is 4 p.m. Tuesday

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.

From the same cloth: Harbaugh and Spagnuolo share special bond

1:01 AM EDT, September 25, 2011

From the same cloth: Harbaugh and Spagnuolo share special bond

It's hard to find a quiet moment when you're a head coach in the NFL.

Chess helped Ray Rice's world slow down

10:28 PM EDT, September 17, 2011

Chess helped Ray Rice's world slow down

Ray Rice was in elementary school the first time he sat down in front of a chess set. He was 9-years-old.

Orioles notes: Matusz could pitch again this year

8:52 PM EDT, September 14, 2011

Orioles notes: Matusz could pitch again this year

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.

Towson grad Thormann is now the brains behind Andretti racing

8:25 PM EDT, September 4, 2011

Towson grad Thormann is now the brains behind Andretti racing

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.

Penske and Ganassi prepare for another close finish

9:23 PM EDT, September 3, 2011

Penske and Ganassi prepare for another close finish

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.

Baltimore Grand Prix: Briscoe, Hunter-Reay play blame game over race-altering incident

9:08 PM EDT, September 4, 2011

Baltimore Grand Prix: Briscoe, Hunter-Reay play blame game over race-altering incident

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.

De Silvestro hopes her luck is turning after solid qualifying run

7:39 PM EDT, September 3, 2011

De Silvestro hopes her luck is turning after solid qualifying run

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.

Theater never stops between LeBron, Durant

2:29 AM EDT, August 31, 2011

Theater never stops between LeBron, Durant

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.

Arrieta relieved that elbow surgery went well

9:24 PM EDT, August 14, 2011

Arrieta relieved that elbow surgery went well

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.

Orioles fan catches home run balls on three straight nights

7:36 PM EDT, August 13, 2011

Orioles fan catches home run balls on three straight nights

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.

Local undrafted free agents finally get a chance

3:45 PM EDT, July 29, 2011

Local undrafted free agents finally get a chance

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.

Ravens hit hard by new salary cap, cut four popular veterans

10:22 PM EDT, July 25, 2011

Ravens hit hard by new salary cap, cut four popular veterans

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.

Showalter: Orioles' Matusz might have to pitch through decreased velocity

6:57 PM EDT, June 26, 2011

Showalter: Orioles' Matusz might have to pitch through decreased velocity

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.

Phelps faces questions heading into worlds — again

7:57 PM EDT, July 22, 2011

Phelps faces questions heading into worlds — again

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.

Taylor ready to prove he can be a QB in the NFL

10:00 PM EDT, July 23, 2011

Taylor ready to prove he can be a QB in the NFL

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.

Derby winner Animal Kingdom won't race again this season

7:24 PM EDT, June 29, 2011

Derby winner Animal Kingdom won't race again this season

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.

Phelps expands swimming education initiative

10:19 AM EDT, June 24, 2011

Phelps expands swimming education initiative

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.

Hutsell better prepared for pressure of PGA Championship

3:11 PM EDT, August 6, 2011

Hutsell better prepared for pressure of PGA Championship

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.

Selby's potential got him this far; now he must produce

9:37 PM EDT, June 24, 2011

Selby's potential got him this far; now he must produce

To Josh Selby, the Memphis Grizzlies represent a clean slate, and a team that doesn't care about his past, only his potential.

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter chasing 3,000

9:38 PM EDT, July 4, 2011

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter chasing 3,000

He is Mr. November, and every other month in which Major League Baseball is played.

As lockout drags on, payment for Ravens season tickets comes due

9:31 PM EDT, May 31, 2011

As lockout drags on, payment for Ravens season tickets comes due

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.

Animal Kingdom to miss several weeks with leg fracture

8:40 PM EDT, June 16, 2011

Animal Kingdom to miss several weeks with leg fracture

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.

Patience not a virtue for Orioles hitters

8:59 PM EDT, June 30, 2011

Patience not a virtue for Orioles hitters

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.

Dialed In passes Animal Kingdom as betting favorite

9:20 PM EDT, May 20, 2011

Dialed In passes Animal Kingdom as betting favorite

Trainer Graham Motion has made his final preparations for the Preakness, and feels confident Animal Kingdom will run well Saturday.

Greivis Vasquez: NBA player, sports diplomat

8:29 PM EDT, June 15, 2011

Greivis Vasquez: NBA player, sports diplomat

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.

Selby focused on becoming a steal in NBA draft

8:03 PM EDT, June 22, 2011

Selby focused on becoming a steal in NBA draft

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

Phelps competing in Annapolis swimming event this weekend

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

Paris Open next for Phelps

The long and arduous journey toward the 2012 Olympics in London is starting to take shape for swimmer Michael Phelps.

As he tries to focus on swimming again, Phelps continues tending to other interests

6:57 PM EDT, May 3, 2011

As he tries to focus on swimming again, Phelps continues tending to other interests

It has been quite awhile, arguably more than three years, since Michael Phelps was able to focus solely on the sport of swimming.

Tee times, not London, keeping Phelps busy

7:22 AM EDT, September 14, 2010

Tee times, not London, keeping Phelps busy

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 signs Phelps as spokesman

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.

Showalter hopes to avoid using Markakis at first again

10:37 PM EDT, June 3, 2011

Showalter hopes to avoid using Markakis at first again

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.

Organizers hope IndyCar race mingles sport, spectacle in Baltimore

7:33 PM EDT, June 2, 2010

Organizers hope IndyCar race mingles sport, spectacle in Baltimore

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

Ravens can't cash in, fall again to Colts

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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