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Ravens' Michael Crabtree, Rams' Aqib Talib play nice in joint practice

One of the more intriguing storylines entering Monday’s joint practice was the will-they-or-won’t-they drama surrounding Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib, who had traded blows each of the past two seasons, with Talib snatching a chain from around Crabtree’s neck on both occasions.

Both players, however, practiced without any fireworks. They lined up against each other several times, but there was little contact and seemingly no verbal exchanges.

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Joint practices can devolve into fisticuffs. The Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles got into a training camp fracas in 2015, and the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers brawled several times in one preseason practice a year ago.

Coach John Harbaugh sounded pleased that there was no such acrimony Monday.

“I thought both teams were here to get better,” he said. “Both teams had an agenda, which was to improve. I can’t wait to get back and watch the tape, to be honest with you, and just see what we need to get better at. When you go against somebody else, it changes the dynamic just enough. I think you get a clearer indication of where you’re at. There are going to be guys that did well, and some other guys are going to have to step it up.”

Rams cornerback Aqib Talib, left, defends Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree during a joint training camp practice Monday.
Rams cornerback Aqib Talib, left, defends Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree during a joint training camp practice Monday. (Patrick Semansky / AP)

Extra points: As he promised, right guard Marshal Yanda practiced Monday for the first time since being activated from the team’s physically-unable-to-perform list after undergoing right shoulder surgery. Although he was limited to individual exercises, changing into a long-sleeve T-shirt and shorts for the remainder of the session, Harbaugh called the six-time Pro Bowl selection’s return “really important. … Seeing him out there today doing individual [drills] was good for my blood pressure. I’m happy to see it, and I just want to keep seeing him get better.” … In addition to Yanda, outside linebacker Tim Williams, safety Bennett Jackson and rookie cornerback Anthony Averett returned to practice. Jackson, however, walked back into the locker room after about 40 minutes. Wide receivers Tim White and Jaelon Acklin, guards Maurquice Shakir and Randin Crecelius and strong safety Tony Jefferson did not practice. Jefferson, who has been dealing with what Harbaugh described as “a pull,” attended practice in a shirt and shorts. Wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (upper-leg muscle), linebacker Bam Bradley (ACL) and cornerback Jaylen Hill (right ACL, MCL) remain on the PUP list. … Harbaugh said he plans to treat Thursday night’s preseason game against the Rams “like the first game.” That means the team’s projected starters on offense and defense likely will see very little action at M&T Bank Stadium. … Harbaugh opened his post-practice comments by honoring Tom Heckert, 51, who died Sunday night after serving as a front-office executive for the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. “I’d like to wish our condolences to the Heckert family for the passing of Tom Heckert,” Harbaugh said. “Many of us on our staff have worked with Tom Heckert over the years. Not a better guy, not a better father who loved his kids, one of the best GMs and one of the best personnel men ever in football. Just a pleasure to be around every day. So very sorry for his loss and for his family.” … Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan attended Monday’s practice.

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