Impressionist Frank Caliendo stopped by ESPN.com’s NFL Nation TV Thursday and offered hilarious takes in different voices on the current state of the NFL, joining host Paul Gutierrez (Oakland Raiders reporter), co-host Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Kevin Seifert (NFL national reporter).

Caliendo broke out many of his impressions, including his staple of staples, John Madden, and advised life-of-the-party rookie Johnny Manziel to keep on partying, in Madden’s voice, like Madden’s Raiders of the 1970s did as one of the league’s dominant teams of the era, both on and off the field.

Earlier in the day on ESPN Radio’s "Mike and Mike" show, Caliendo read LeBron James’ letter to the fans, his reason for returning to Cleveland, in the voice of Morgan Freeman. Caliendo shared some of it on the Spreecast as well.

Other NFL personalities Caliendo did impressions of included what is now his newest staple, Jon Gruden, while briefly taking the show into a Gruden family reunion and reminiscing on Harry Potter’s school of Hogwarts. He also did Will Ferrell doing Harry Caray.

Caliendo, who has had his own television show in the past, said he stopped counting how many voices he has in his repertoire, though it’s been reported he has at least 120 impressions, from former president George W. Bush to Mike Ditka, which he said is all about chewing gum and putting his index finger above his lip as a mustache. He wants to add a Peyton Manning impression, saying there’s some “Elvis” in the five-time NFL MVP’s voice.

And yes, Caliendo did some Charles Barkley while discussing how he comes up with ideas for impressions. Caliendo was on the show for 20 minutes.

Other topics discussed by Gutierrez, Harvey and Seifert included Ray Rice getting a reported two-game suspension, Tony Dungy’s recent assertion that he would not draft the openly gay Michael Sam because he would be too big a distraction, and a new home for the Raiders.

The show can be watched here:

 
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell officially announced a two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Rice
Rice
Rice’s suspension will begin on August 30. He will be eligible for reinstatement on Monday, September 12, following the Ravens’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rice may participate in all aspects of training camp and preseason games.

Rice may appeal this decision within three days.

In a letter to Rice, Goodell stated:

“As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.

“You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting. As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate.

“I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations.”
[+] EnlargeAaron Ross
AP PhotoAaron Ross, who signed with the Ravens this offseason, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury Thursday.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens lost Aaron Ross for the season after the veteran cornerback tore his Achilles tendon while taking the conditioning drill Thursday.

Ross, 31, who had played six of his seven NFL seasons for the New York Giants, was expected to compete for the Ravens' third cornerback spot. He was signed last month after trying out at minicamp.

Last season, Ross was placed on injured reserve after four games because of a back injury.

"That's a tough break for him," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh said there is no urgency to sign another free-agent cornerback. The Ravens' top backups include Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson and Dominique Franks, who was placed on the non-football injury list after failing the conditioning test.

"We have good players at corner. The guys are competing," Harbaugh said. "I expect a third corner from one of the guys who are already here. But if there is somebody out there who can bolster the competition, we'll bring them in."


(Read full post)


video

ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth joins "First Take" to discuss Ravens RB Ray Rice's two-game suspension for allegedly striking his then-fiancee.
video

Tom Jackson discusses Ravens RB Ray Rice's two-game suspension and $58,000 fine for allegedly striking his then-fiancée unconscious.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- If the Ravens want to improve the efficiency of their passing game, quarterback Joe Flacco has to build a rapport with new wide receiver Steve Smith.

So, as Baltimore Ravens training camp opens Thursday, Smith was asked where the chemistry stands with Flacco.

Smith
"Do you want me to lie to you or tell you the truth?," Smith asked.

When the reporter said the truth, Smith said, "Honestly, for me, I’ve been catching passes for quarterbacks for a lot of years, and I’ve been running routes for a lot of years. If you throw me the ball, there’s no chemistry. You throw me the ball [and if] it’s catchable, I’m going to snag it. That’s what practice is going to be there for. Practice is there to make mistakes, to understand what I need to do and how Joe operates. Then, my job at the end of the day is to make him look good.”

Where Smith needs to make Flacco look good is on the intermediate routes.

Since 2011, Smith has caught 99 passes of at least 15 yards, which is the third-most in the NFL over that span. Last season, the Ravens had 77 completions of at least 15 yards, which was the seventh-fewest in the league.

Flacco said he's been most impressed with Smith's ability to catch the ball.

"He catches everything with his hands, and he does a great job doing it," Flacco said. "He is strong to the ball, even though he’s not very high in stature. He is just strong to the ball and his hands are really, really good.”

Steve Smith's effectiveness in the intermediate routes should compliment Torrey Smith's ability to catch passes deep downfield.

When asked what type of combination he makes with Torrey Smith, Steve Smith said, "I think you can call us, ‘The Law Firm: Smith, Smith & Associates.’”

Did Steve Smith just come up with that nickname?

“I’m pretty quick-witted, so I did actually come up with that."

Ray Rice suspended 2 games

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
10:20
AM ET
video

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been suspended for the first two games of this season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy following his offseason arrest for domestic violence.

The suspension, which was announced Thursday by the league, stems from Rice's altercation with then-fiancée Janay Palmer at an Atlantic City hotel in February.

Rice also was fined an additional regular-season game check but is eligible to participate in training camp and all of Baltimore's preseason games, the NFL announced.

"It is disappointing that I will not be with my teammates for the first two games of the season, but that's my fault," Rice said in a statement released by the Ravens. "As I said earlier, I failed in many ways. But, Janay and I have learned from this. We have become better as a couple and as parents. I am better because of everything we have experienced since that night. The counseling has helped tremendously.

"My goal is to earn back the trust of the people, especially the children, I let down because of this incident," Rice said. "I am a role model and I take that responsibility seriously. My actions going forward will show that."

Rice was fined a total of $529,411.24 -- the combined total of two game checks for this year and one check from last season.

Speaking about Rice's punishment after the team's first full-quad workout of training camp Thursday in Owings Mills, Maryland, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said: "It's not a big deal. It's just part of the process. We said from the beginning that the circumstances would determine the consequences. There are consequences when you make a mistake like that. I stand behind Ray. He's a heck of a guy. He's done everything right since. He makes a mistake. He's going to have to pay a consequence."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell informed Rice of the league's decision in a letter, saying that the league expects the three-time Pro Bowler to continue to attend counseling.

"The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public, and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game," Goodell wrote in his letter to Rice. "This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.

"You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting," Goodell wrote. "As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate."

Rice allegedly struck Palmer unconscious on Feb. 15 while in a casino elevator in Atlantic City. Video surfaced online showing Rice dragging an apparently unconscious Palmer out of the elevator. The couple has since married.

Rice pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May.

"We appreciate the thorough process the league office used to evaluate the incident with Ray Rice," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. "The time the commissioner spent with Ray and Janay is typical of the extra steps the NFL takes when making decisions regarding discipline issues. While not having Ray for the first two games is significant to our team, we respect the league's decision and believe it is fair.

"We also respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be." Newsome said. "That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect. We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again."

Under the personal conduct policy, the NFL can suspend a player even if he isn't charged or convicted of a crime. Rice met with Goodell on June 16.

"I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career," Goodell wrote to Rice. "I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations."

Rice will begin serving his suspension Aug. 30, and he will be eligible for reinstatement Sept. 12, the day after Baltimore plays a Thursday night game in Week 2 against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers


(Read full post)


Baltimore Ravens Preseason Live

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
9:00
AM ET
Welcome to Baltimore Ravens training camp! ESPN.com reporter Jamison Hensley has live updates and the latest news from Owings Mills, Maryland.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens take the field at 8:30 a.m. ET to start a training camp that has a much different feel from a year ago. In 2013, the Ravens began camp as the defending Super Bowl champions and the toast of the NFL.

Now, as linebacker Terrell Suggs put it, the Ravens start the summer with "a bad taste" in their mouths after missing the playoffs for the first time in John Harbaugh's seven seasons as coach.

"It is clear how something like that can be taken for granted," Suggs said. "When you make the playoffs the whole time that the coach has been here, it’s like, ‘OK, yeah. We’re going to go to the playoffs [again].’ When we missed it once, it was definitely a rude awakening. It sucks. It sucked to watch teams compete and teams that you played get the opportunity to win a championship. It sucks. It sucks, and it’s definitely something we don’t want to feel again.”

The Ravens will hold 17 practices over a 22-day period at training camp.

Their three public practices are on July 28 (M&T Bank Stadium), Aug. 4 (Navy-Marine Corps Stadium) and Aug. 8 (M&T Bank Stadium). The rest of the practices are at team headquarters and can only be attended by invitation.

The Ravens' first full-team practice Thursday morning is scheduled to end at 11 a.m. Harbaugh, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and wide receiver Torrey Smith will speak to the media following practice.

Remember to follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for all of the latest news, observations and opinions throughout training camp.
The video of the Cleveland Browns fan urinating on Art Modell's grave is the most classless act in sports history.

Sadly, this is just one of many classless acts.

[+] EnlargeArt Modell
Richard Ellis/AFP/Getty ImagesSadly, the classless incident that took place at the grave of late Ravens owner Art Modell is not without precedent.
There's no argument it's a sorry commentary that a fan went to this length to do something utterly tasteless. What should make every fan cringe is that this isn't the first time something like this has happened.

Before anyone in Baltimore gets on a soap box, just google urination and Robert Irsay's grave. There is a photo of someone in a Todd Heap jersey relieving himself on the tombstone of the late Colts owner.

For that reason, no one should blame the entire Dawg Pound for the act of one fan. But every fan, whether you reside in Baltimore or Cleveland, should feel disgusted about this incident.

What kind of person would do something so disrespectful? Shouldn't someone have higher priorities in life? There is a line between being a fan and a fanatic. In the case of the unidentified Browns fan, he leaps over it.

The fan not only buys an Ed Reed jersey to camouflage himself but he also uses a catheter so -- I'm guessing here -- he could finish the job discreetly. Then, as if it was a source of pride, he put the video on YouTube.

It’s understandable if you still hate Modell, even though it's been 19 years since the relocation. It’s fine that you gnash your teeth every time you think of the two Super Bowl trophies that could be sitting in Cleveland.

But Modell was not a murderer. He was not a criminal. He moved a sports team.

I was 11 years old when Irsay uprooted the Colts and took their colors as well as their history to Indianapolis. I can honestly say there wasn't a moment over these 30 years when I thought of driving hundreds of miles to defile his grave site.

There was part of me that didn't want to write something more on this because you don't want to bring more publicity to this despicable act. But it's disturbing to see comments from readers who think this incident is funny and justified.

Stay classy, football fans.
video

Mark Schlereth discusses whether he agrees with Terrell Suggs' opinion that it's important for team leaders such as Joe Flacco to be vocal on the field.
video

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs acknowledged that he likes Joe Flacco's laid-back demeanor. He just wishes his quarterback got more heated at times.

"Joe's just Cool Joe. He's not the most vocal," Suggs said Wednesday, a day before the official start of training camp. "But sometimes we may need that. He may need to cuss somebody out. He may have to cuss me out. It's good to hear your quarterback get after somebody sometimes. I think it would be a good thing. At the end of the day, we still love Cool Joe."

Last year, Flacco and Suggs playfully exchanged verbal jabs throughout training camp practices. Suggs even acknowledged that Flacco had cussed him out before.

"But Joe knows how to do his subliminal slick shots," Suggs said. "We're looking for more direct."

This isn't the first time a teammate wanted Flacco to become more animated. During the Ravens' Super Bowl run two years ago, linebacker Ray Lewis said Flacco had to become more vocal to take over as a leader.

Flacco disagreed with Lewis at the time, saying, "There are a lot of different ways to lead. You've got to do it your own way."

Suggs, who is the senior member on the Ravens, said no one should try to replace Lewis.

"He's one of the greatest leaders ever," Suggs said. "There'll probably never be another Ray Lewis or another leader like that on the football field. You shouldn't even try to replicate that. There are a lot of leaders on this team, and I'm really looking forward to see Joe Flacco come into his own, be one of those premier, elite quarterbacks."


(Read full post)


video

A Cleveland Browns fan posted a video on YouTube showing himself urinating beside Art Modell's grave in Pikesville, Maryland.

The unidentified man in the video, titled "Browns Fan 'Pays Respects' to Modell," arrives at the gravesite dressed in a Baltimore Ravens Ed Reed jersey.

He then pulls it off to reveal a Browns Lyle Alzado No. 77 jersey and apparently urinates on Modell's grave out of the bottom of his pants leg using a catheter.

Afterward, he speaks to the camera.

"You know, Art, when you ... tried to kill the Cleveland Brownie, you didn't do so good, the Browns fans wouldn't let you, you piece of s---," he says. "I'm in rat land, and I'm going to use the words you used a few years ago.

"As far as pissing on your grave, I had no choice."

When Modell moved the team to Baltimore in 1996, he said he had "no choice."

The video has received more than 10,000 hits. A spokeswoman for the Druid Ridge Cemetery told The Baltimore Sun that the Browns fan's decision to urinate beside Modell's grave was "disappointing and disrespectful."

Police did not immediately respond to the paper on the situation and its legality.

Modell died in 2012.


(Read full post)


SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider