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  • The Baltimore Ravens' unyielding effort to land a big-play receiver finally paid off Friday when nine-year veteran Michael Crabtree signed a three-year contract.

     

    Hours after disclosing that the Ravens voided the contract of Washington Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant following a failed physical Russell Shepard Jersey , general manager Ozzie Newsome landed Crabtree, who played the past three seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

    Crabtree toured the Ravens' complex Friday morning and signed in the late afternoon.

    "I always imagined myself being a Raven when I was little," Crabtree said. "I came here, loved it and signed on the dotted line."

    In two games over the past two years with Oakland, the former 49ers star scorched Baltimore for 13 catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns.

    Facing the Ravens in the 2012 Super Bowl, Crabtree had five receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown for San Francisco in a 34-31 loss.

    "Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game," Newsome said. "He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field."

    The 30-year-old Crabtree played six seasons with San Francisco before joining the Raiders. He has 579 career receptions for 6,870 yards and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games.

    The 6-1, 215-pound Crabtree has totaled at least 85 catches in a season three times Braden Holtby Jersey , including a career-high 89 in 2016. He has twice surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in a season.

    Crabtree joins former Arizona receiver John Brown as new potential targets for quarterback Joe Flacco, who directed a lackluster passing attack that last year ranked 27th in the NFL.

    Almost as soon as the Ravens cleared out their lockers following a 9-7 finish in 2017, Newsome set out to improve the weakest facet of a team that's missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons.

    "If you dial it back to a year ago, we talked about how we wanted to get our defense stronger, and we did that. Then we said we wanted to run the football and we were able to do that," Newsome said Friday morning, speaking with Brown at his side. "The next piece is to get a better passing game. If we give Joe some weapons, and we improve in the passing game, maybe that will be enough to help us get over the hump."

    Newsome said he withdrew Grant's four-year contract offer following the exam and after consulting with team doctors and outside physicians.

    "That's not a football decision," Newsome said. "That's a medical condition that I have no control over."

    Though Grant never missed a game in his four years with the Redskins, Newsome said the physical found an issue with his ankle.

    "We knew he had had an ankle injury in the latter part of the season with the Redskins," Newsome said. "But he had passed their postseason physical Youth Dalton Schultz Jersey , so we had no indication that it could have been there."

    Brown played four seasons with Arizona before signing a one-year contract this week with Baltimore.

    "The thing about John is, he can take the top off of the defense," Newsome said. "A lot of times when you go with a vertical receiver, they have a very limited route tree. John does not. John can run every route in the route tree. The other aspect of this that attracted John to us is that we feel like his best football is still in front of him."

    Brown, two years removed from a 1,000-yard season, expects to ring up big numbers with Baltimore.

    "I felt like this was the best fit for me," he said. "They like to use a lot of receivers with speed. I feel like I can come in and help this team."

    Newsome said he "has not closed the door" on re-signing receivers Michael Campanaro and Mike Wallace, and has been "having conversations" with several tight ends.

    BOSTON — Having been officially eliminated from capturing the top spot in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics have to make sure they don’t suffer any further serious injuries in their final three games of the regular season.

    And they also have to find out who will finish in the seventh spot and provide the opposition in the first round of the playoffs.

    Three games in four days await Boston: Sunday at home against the Atlanta Hawks, Tuesday at Washington — one of the three potential playoff opponents — and Wednesday night at home against the Brooklyn Nets.

    The Celtics, who will be without Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis for the rest of the season and not knowing when Marcus Smart (thumb surgery) will return Adidas Jaromir Jagr Jersey , rested Al Horford and Jayson Tatum in Friday night’s victory over the Chicago Bulls. Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 32 points and Greg Monroe had his second career triple-double in the victory.

    Even though they won, the Celtics were eliminated from top-spot contention with the Toronto Raptors’ win over the Indiana Pacers, making these final three games meaningless.

    “We haven’t discussed at all about making any changes to our team, so that’s not even been a discussion,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said after Friday’s game. “I think at the end of the day, we’ll play at least one, maybe two of the games with our group — with the whole group — and we’ll go from there.

    “But we generally know what each guy’s going to bring to the table, what each guy does best, and how it’s going to fit together, and then it’ll be a matter of who we’re playing.”

    Jonathan Gibson, signed out of China for the final four games of the season, became an immediate fan favorite by basically getting off a plane and hitting three 3-pointers for nine points in nine minutes. He is not eligible for the postseason.

    Boston could also play Miami or Milwaukee in the first round. They are tied for sixth, one game ahead of the the eighth-place Wizards.

    The Hawks Abry Jones Jersey , losers of 13 of their last 16 and playing out the string, pulled off a surprise victory at Washington Friday night behind 23 points, five assists and four rebounds from Taurean Prince and 22 points from Tyler Dorsey.

    All this amid reports that have coach Mike Budenholzer is interested in getting the Milwaukee job.

    According to the Racine Journal Times:

    “Multiple sources said two current head coaches — Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers and Mike Budenholzer of Atlanta — have more than a passing interest in the Bucks’ job and coaching the NBA’s brightest young star in Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    “Some NBA officials said Budenholzer, who guided the Hawks to 60 wins just three seasons ago when he was accorded NBA’s Coach of the Year honors, also doesn’t want to be part of an extensive rebuild in Atlanta.”

    The article went on to that Budenholzer, the NBA Coach of the Year after guiding the Atlanta to 60 wins three years ago, doesn’t want to be part of an “extensive rebuild” with the Hawks.

    Budenholzer’s position in the Atlanta organization has changed with the arrival of new general manager Travis Schlenk, with Budenholzer losing say on player personnel. That could leave the door open for his departure.

    The Celtics have won the first three games against the Hawks this season. Irving had 65 points in two wins at Atlanta while Terry Rozier scored a then-career high 31 in the other victory, which came without Irving.

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