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Harbaugh says Ngata didn't practice today because of family issue

Ravens Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata didn't practice today because of personal reasons and was excused from practice.

"Haloti's got a personal issue, a family issue he's dealing with," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That's all that is."

Harbaugh didn't have an update on wide receiver Deonte Thompson, who remains sidelined with a sprained left foot suffered in the first preseason game.

Harbaugh commented on the release of several players, including tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, inside linebacker Bryan Hall and wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard (Towson, McDonogh).

Hall had lost roughly 50 pounds to convert from defensive tackle.

"Bryan, he takes off 50 pounds or so and really played well," Harbaugh said. "It's a tough call. He had really played well. It's going to be tough with the numbers, but we think he has a chance to make it somewhere. We loved his attitude every day and work ethic."

In the case of Shiancoe, his release followed the signing of tight end Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson returning to practice from a slightly torn right hamstring. It created a larger crowd at tight end.

"That's fair," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh is upbeat about undrafted rookie tight end Matt Furstenburg, a former Maryland player.

"Matt's done well," Harbaugh said. "He's in the hunt. He'll get a chance Thursday night to make an even stronger case."

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor returned to practice after being evaluated for a possible concussion.

"That's something we deal with very carefully," Harbaugh said. "We don't anticipate any problems."

Harbaugh made no announcements on various competitions, including the center battle between Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley and at strong safety where veteran James Ihedigbo is trying to hold off rookie first-round pick Matt Elam. Gradkowski is regarded as the frontrunner to start at center.

"It's pretty much the status quo," Harbaugh said. "We have some ideas on that. We're probably not ready to release that right now. We're not 100 percent on any of it."

awilson@baltsun.com

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