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Ravens Insider The latest Baltimore Ravens news, notes and analysis
John Harbaugh upbeat about medical progress of defensive linemen Brent Urban, Kapron Lewis-Moore

The Ravens' defensive line absorbed two major hits last year in training camp when defensive ends Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore suffered season-ending injuries.

Now, Urban and Lewis-Moore have made significant progress to the point where coach John Harbaugh predicted they'll likely be full-go during organized team activities. Urban tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and Lewis-Moore tore his left Achilles tendon. Lewis-Moore was also sidelined for his entire rookie season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained during the BCS national title game while playing for Notre Dame.

"It's really important that Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore come on," Harbaugh said following his keynote graduation speech at Stevenson University. "Brent looks like he's 100 percent, Kap looks like he's really close to 100 percent."

After trading five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the Detroit Lions, the Ravens' defensive line is in transition as Timmy Jernigan is...

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John Harbaugh calls extra-point rule change a 'positive thing'

When the NFL increased the difficulty of the extra point this week by shifting it to the 15-yard line, the rule change was met with approval by Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

"The effort to move the line of scrimmage back on the point after touchdown, to me, is a good thing," Harbaugh said Thursday after his keynote speech at Stevenson University's graduation. "I think it's a positive thing. We're for it. We were fine with it the other way. I know Justin Tucker was kind of like saying stuff about it.

"But I think he realizes that it's going to give the better kickers an opportunity to shine a little bit. So, move it back and make it a little bit tougher. Make it more of a challenge, make that point mean more."

There were only two missed field goals from 33 yards last season, the equivalent distance of the revised extra point. During the NFL’s preseason experiment last season when extra points were snapped from the 15-yard line, kickers converted 94.3 percent of their kicks.

Last year, NFL...

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh delivers keynote address at Stevenson graduation

Ravens coach John Harbaugh delivered a stirring keynote address and drew heavy applause during the Stevenson University graduation today at its Greenspring campus.

Harbaugh received an honorary doctorate in humane letters, the school's highest academic honor given to those who have distinguished themselves in areas such as science, government, literature, culture or society.

For the past two years, Harbaugh was the top keynote speaker requested by the Stevenson students, faculty and staff committees that choose the keynote speaker.

"The faculty, tremendous teachers, it's a first-class academic institution," Harbaugh said during his first-ever commencement speech. "You're blessed to be here. To the class of 2015, pat yourself on the back. You did it. Tell the person next to you, 'Great job.' You're a team, right? I promise you, you will have connections to the Class of 2015, Stevenson University, for the rest of your life.

"I promise you, you will run into them somewhere in business or...

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Ray Rice's domestic violence charges dismissed by New Jersey judge

A New Jersey judge on Thursday dismissed domestic violence charges against former Ravens running back Ray Rice, who this week completed a pretrial intervention program.

The charges, dismissed by Judge Michael A. Donio, stemmed from Rice's physical altercation in February 2014 with his now-wife, Janay, in an Atlantic City casino elevator.

When a graphic video of the incident surfaced in September, Rice's $35 million contract was terminated and he was indefinitely suspended by the NFL. That suspension was lifted after an appeal heard by former federal judge Barbara S. Jones.

The NFL and Ravens were criticized by Jones and in the Mueller report, an investigation conducted by former FBI director Robert Mueller, for the handling of the incident. Rice was originally suspended for two games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before the discipline was increased.

Rice avoided jail time in the case when he was accepted into the pretrial intervention program as a first-time offender.

Rice recently...

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Ravens rookie lineman Leon Brown (Parkdale) hopes to land roster spot with hometown team

Leon Brown had an inkling that the Ravens were the right place for him to go as an undrafted free agent and reinforced that notion during a successful tryout at their rookie minicamp.

The undrafted rookie offensive lineman from Alabama is a Parkdale graduate who grew up in Riverdale.

"It's definitely an honor and a privilege being so close to home, so I embrace that," Brown said in a telephone interview. "It's good being able to see my family on our off days."

The 6-foot-5, 332-pound former junior college All-American also had an invite to try out for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but preferred the Ravens. Brown was upbeat about his opportunity with the Ravens after talking with the coaching staff.

"I chose the Ravens because I know they hav a strong tradition here having players come through here and leave out as Hall of Famers," Brown said. "I received positive and motivating feedback from the coaches during minicamp."

Brown's decision was influenced by two former teammates, linebacker Trey...

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Marshal Yanda ranked 79th on NFL Network list of top 100 players

Ravens All-Pro offensive guard Marshal Yanda is ranked 79th on the NFL Network annual list of top 100 players in the NFL.

Yanda, 30, is the lone guard to make the list so far.

Yanda was ranked 55th on the list last season, the first year he was selected.

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Yanda is entering the final year of a four-year, $20 million contract extension signed in 2012.

The Ravens have expressed a desire to sign Yanda to a contract extension.

A 2007 third-round draft pick from Iowa, Yanda signed a five-year, $32 million contract in 2011.

Yanda has built a reputation as a gritty, durable blocker willing to play through injuries.

Yanda has started 104 of 115 career games in eight NFL seasons.

awilson@baltsun.com

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