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Gus Edwards sees ‘unfinished business’ with Ravens; top receivers held out of practice | NOTES

Right before Ravens running back Gus Edwards was about to put pen to paper on his new contract extension, he grabbed his phone to call his father, who is currently in Liberia.

When he got in touch with his dad, he happened to be at the house where Edwards’ family lived for five years before moving to the United States.

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After agreeing to a two-year deal worth a reported $10 million that will keep him in Baltimore through the 2023 season, Edwards posted a picture of the house to his Instagram Stories, a reminder of his long journey to become an NFL running back.

“I knew from the get that I wanted to be in Baltimore. I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business here,” Edwards said in a virtual news conference Tuesday after the Ravens’ third open practice of organized team activities. “I’m comfortable here, I’m happy here and it works for me. One way or another, I was hoping to stay.”

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Edwards, signed as an undrafted rookie in 2018, has seen the Ravens offense go from the league’s most pass-happy to a record-breaking, run-first unit, and he’s been a focal point with his physical, downhill running style.

As the offense enters another season with quarterback Lamar Jackson, Edwards said the unit continues to “add more sauce” and become more versatile. For him, that effort includes being more of an option as a receiver this season. Paired with second-year back J.K. Dobbins for the foreseeable future, he sees a one-two punch that could rival any in the league.

“We’re dangerous,” he said.

"I just knew from the get that I wanted to be in Baltimore," said Edwards. "I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business here."

Harbaugh doesn’t rule out James return in 2021

In his first comments since it was reported Monday that the Ravens were signing former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, coach John Harbaugh did not rule out a midseason return for the 29-year-old who tore his Achilles tendon in April while training.

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Harbaugh said it was a “good possibility” that James could return in “November, December, maybe.”

“I wouldn’t say we’re counting on that, but it’s certainly something that you know is possible,” Harbaugh added, noting that former Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs partially tore his Achilles in April 2012 and returned to the field six months later.

James was released by the Broncos in May after the injury, which he suffered away from the team facility, and has filed a grievance to recoup $15 million in lost wages.

According to media reports, James’ signing, which is contingent on him passing a physical but won’t include his current injury, is for two years and up to $9 million. It also reportedly includes just $500,000 in guaranteed money for the upcoming season, essentially allowing James to rehab while the Ravens don’t commit a significant sum of money in the first year of the deal.

“We’ll just see what happens,” Harbaugh said. “It’s always good to have another good player who’s a really good person and a hardworking guy and we’re happy to have him.”

"I think it's a great signing," said Harbaugh on the signing of OT Ja'Wuan James. "I'm just very, very pleased to have him. He's a highly-decorated player."

Attendance

About 65 players were working out in the Ravens’ third and final open practice Tuesday before mandatory minicamp begins next week.

Wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Rashod Bateman, who were present for the first two open practices, were notably absent.

Harbaugh said Bateman, the No. 27 overall pick in April’s draft, was dealing with “tenderness and some tightness from all the running he’s been doing.” Bateman was also held out of team drills during the first open practice for precautionary reasons.

Brown had “muscle-type issues” similar to Bateman, Harbaugh said.

“Those guys are going through that. We’ve got other guys, especially the receivers and the [defensive backs], they do a lot of running so that comes up a little bit in this heat,” he said.

Extra points

>> A week after coordinator Greg Roman said the offense would “love to really have a threat out of the backfield,” Dobbins was heavily involved as a pass-catcher in Tuesday’s session. He hauled in several passes, including a leaping grab in the back of the end zone and one on a wheel route that would have been ruled a touchdown.

“He’s made strides,” Harbaugh said. “One of the main points of emphasis has been to involve our running backs in the passing game more going forward here in this offseason.”

>> Harbaugh opened his news conference by offering his condolences to outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, whose great-grandmother recently died. McPhee was absent from voluntary workouts taking care of her in Florida.

>> Former Ravens wide receiver and current Morgan State tight ends coach Jacoby Jones was in attendance to watch practice, sporting an orange Bears cap.

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