Ravens coach John Harbaugh just spoke for a little over an hour at the NFL owners meetings. At least half, if not more, of his talk was about potential rule changes and the need to simplify things for both the officials and fans. We'll have plenty on that later.
But first, several quick hits from his talk:
Harbaugh said that director of security Darren Sanders, team chaplain Johnny Shelton and director of player engagement Harry Swayne have spent some time over the past couple of days with the family of late cornerback Tray Walker, who died last Friday a day after his motorbike collided with an SUV. Harbaugh acknowledged that this is uncharted territory for the Ravens, but he did say that he has gathered advice from others, including Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher. Fisher spoke to Harbaugh about how the Rams dealt with the shooting of wide receiver Stedman Bailey this past year. Harbaugh said that team owner Steve Bisciotti will charter a plane in Baltimore and give players, their families and other organization members an opportunity to travel to Walker's funeral Saturday in South Florida.
In other matters, the Ravens have gotten good injury news on tight end Crockett Gillmore. It was originally feared that Gillmore would need both shoulders surgically repaired because of torn labrums. However, Harbaugh said that Gillmore now only needs surgery on one shoulder and he expects the starting tight end to be ready for organized team activities. Harbaugh also said that quarterback Joe Flacco continues to do well in rehab and the team is hopeful he'll be ready for the start of training camp. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who missed his entire rookie season because of a knee injury, is also coming along and the hope is that he's ready for OTAs. Harbaugh also said that he has exchanged text messages with Terrell Suggs, who has given good reports about his Achilles.
Harbaugh said that the team is planning to sign free-agent running back Trent Richardson. Richardson worked out for the Ravens earlier this offseason and team officials told him that they wanted him to get in better shape before he officially signs. Richardson is working on that and Harbaugh said that he has communicated with him throughout. Harbaugh said that the two sides have an "unofficial" agreement.
Harbaugh said that general manager Ozzie Newsome is still involved with the free-agent market, looking for potential deals. The team still hasn't ruled out re-signing Courtney Upshaw. Harbaugh also casually mentioned pass rusher Dwight Freeney as a guy who is still available.
Eugene Monroe is hardly entrenched as the Ravens' starting left tackle in 2016. Harbaugh mentioned that the team has options and he included starting right tackle Rick Wagner as one of them. Harbaugh said the team could still add a left tackle before the start of training camp. But as things stand, he said that it will be a competition at the position.
As for Monroe's advocacy on medical marijuana, which has gotten a lot of attention lately, Harbaugh said, "I promise you he does not speak for the organization."
Harbaugh didn't specifically mention any priorities, but he said that the team still needs to improve in a lot of areas. It's well-documented that the Ravens are still looking to add a left tackle, pass rusher and cornerback. As for an inside linebacker, Harbaugh said that the team likes some of the options on its active roster, which include Zachary Orr, Arthur Brown and Albert McClellan. Harbaugh also acknowledged the possibility of using one of his safeties in a linebacker-type role, like the Arizona Cardinals do with Deone Bucannon.
Harbaugh expressed disappointment with released safety Will Hill, who is facing a 10-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Harbaugh said that the suspension forced the team's hand, and that Hill needs to get his priorities in order.