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Ravens QB Robert Griffin III ‘insisted’ on playing through hamstring injury vs. Steelers

"I think everybody did their best, I can say we're not batting a thousand, nobody did and nobody does," said Harbaugh on the Ravens COVID-19 preparedness.

Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III was visibly hobbled Wednesday afternoon as he attempted to rally an undermanned team to an upset victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On a late second-half run to the sideline, Griffin pulled up hobbling and did not put much pressure on his left leg but remained in the game. His limp reappeared early in the fourth quarter after taking a shotgun snap. Third-string quarterback Trace McSorley replaced Griffin on the team’s next possession with about seven minutes left and almost pulled off the comeback effort before the team lost, 19-14. The NBC broadcast showed an ice wrap around Griffin’s leg as he watched from the sideline.

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After the game, Griffin revealed that he pulled his hamstring for the first time in his career. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Thursday that Griffin “insisted” on finishing the game despite his limitations.

“He insisted that he could go and he wanted to go,” Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference. “I thought about making the change right when I saw it. He was insisting that he wanted to go so he did. I give him a lot of credit. He played through whatever degree it was at the time. You just go by what the player tells you.

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“He wanted to play. I give him credit for wanting to play. If it was more serious than that, then I would have taken him out. Or if he told me it would more serious than that, then I would have taken him out.”

Griffin said after the game he felt that if he didn’t get injured, the Ravens would have been able to win the game.

“It’s just unfortunate. There were a lot of emotions running through my head,” said Griffin, who completed seven of 12 passes for 33 yards and interception and added 68 rushing yards. “I didn’t want to quit on the team. I didn’t want to quit on my teammates. It was really emotional trying to fight through that and feeling like you let your guys down.”

In two possessions, McSorley completed two of six passes for 77 yards, including a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown to wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. McSorley also rushed three times for 16 yards.

It was the most extensive playing time of the second-year player’s career, and it came just two days after he was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list, which sidelined him for almost two weeks.

When asked whether McSorley’s lack of practice played a factor in keeping Griffin in the game, Harbaugh answered, “Probably, but it’s more about Robert. Robert wanted to play.”

Extra points

>> Harbaugh said that “on the injury front, there’s nothing really to announce. There’s no major, season-ending injuries.” Along with Griffin’s pulled hamstring, cornerback Jimmy Smith injured his groin and did not return to Wednesday’s game. Neither player would have practiced Thursday, according to the team’s estimated injury report.

>> Following the Denver Broncos’ COVID-19 situation in which three quarterbacks were sidelined as high-risk close contacts after another tested positive, leaving them with no quarterbacks to play in their 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints, more teams are discussing contingency plans to isolate a quarterback or prepare an emergency player in case of an outbreak. When asked if he would do something similar for punter Sam Koch, who is 7-for-7 on passes in his career, Harbaugh said, “No, he will not get any work at quarterback. We won’t need him as a backup.”

>> Defensive end Calais Campbell is the team’s nominee for the seventh annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. The award was created in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Rooney Sr. A panel of former players — Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler — will select eight finalists (four in the AFC and four in the NFC) from the 32 nominees.

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