Ravens rookie outside linebacker Tyus Bowser has made a habit of racing to the end zone and kneeling in prayer after player introductions before joining his teammates on the sideline for the national anthem.
But the organization’s second-round pick in April’s NFL draft made it clear that his pregame practice is not a form of protest.
“As I have done for every game of my college and pro career, I knelt to pray in the end zone prior to kickoff,” Bowser told ESPN.com Monday. “My actions were in no way, shape or form a protest. It was my normal routine I have done my entire career. As soon as I finished praying, I ran to the sideline with my teammates.”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kicked off player protests when he began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Other players joined in, and tensions rose quickly after President Donald J. Trump excoriated the NFL, team owners and players for allowing the protests to continue.
The scrutiny has died down somewhat, but the Ravens were quick to release a statement in support of Bowser, who has nine tackles and two sacks.
“The Ravens’ pregame timing was not normal,” the statement read. “We were behind on the time schedule, and we had to rush to the anthem because of television commitments. We understand completely how this could happen.”
End zone: Running back Alex Collins was unavailable to discuss his 75-yard, two-touchdown showing Sunday because of what the team described as “a significant migraine headache.” Harbaugh declined to address Collins’ migraines, which have cropped up before. “If he wants to answer that, he can,” Harbaugh said. “I can tell you this: Migraines are very real. But that would be a better question for him.” … The Ravens entered Monday night trailing the Pittsburgh Steelers by two games in the win column and leading the Cincinnati Bengals by the same number. So which team was Harbaugh planning to root for in Monday’s Steelers-Bengals game? “That’s a tough question,” he said. “If they both could lose, that’s what I’d be rooting for. But one of them has to lose, so that’s good.” … Less than 24 hours after Joe Flacco pantomimed Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s pre-game huddle viral video of eating a ‘W,’Harbaugh did not have much of a reaction to his quarterback’s culinary choice. “He ate his hand?” Harbaugh asked. “Literally?” Informed that Flacco sucked on his fingers, Harbaugh said, “I’m not gonna repeat that.”