By Matt Vensel
8:00 AM CST, January 31, 2013
Every morning, Monday through Friday, blogger Matt Vensel will hook you up with reading material -- mostly on the Ravens but with some other Baltimore sports stuff, too -- to skim through as you slug down coffee and slack off at the start of your workday. That way he’ll have an excuse to do the same to start his workday, too.
RUNNING IT BACK
On Wednesday, Ray Lewis gave a stronger denial when asked about deer antler spray and PEDs. ... Joe Flacco's play in the playoffs is reaching historic levels. ... Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is proud of his team, but he wants to avoid the spotlight. ... Ed Reed said he could definitely see himself playing for the New England Patriots if he doesn't stay with the Ravens. ... The Harbaughs expects mixed emotions after the Super Bowl.
RAVENS STUFF, BUT NOT FROM US
The Ravens were inspired by Muhammad Ali. ... Ray Lewis symbolizes what is good and bad about the NFL. ... Joe Flacco has transformed the Ravens. ... Elite status or not, Flacco is in a good place. ... Ed Reed can't walk away from football. ... The Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers can get physical in the trenches.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
49ers cornerback Chris Culliver said he wouldn't accept an openly-gay teammate. ... Culliver shows that equality hasn't reached the NFL yet. ... 49ers defensive end Justin Smith just does his job -- and he's pretty good at it. ... ... The 49ers will have three options with Alex Smith after the Super Bowl. ... Will the Ravens be ready for Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers read-option offense?
SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE DAY
Each day this week, I will break down a key matchup from Sunday’s Super Bowl. Today's is the battle between 49ers linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman and Ravens back Ray Rice.
OUTSIDE OF BALTIMORE
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver announced his retirement. ... Marshall Faulk still feels cheated by the Patriots. ... Brett Keisel thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers will rebound in 2013. ... The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to sign Dennis Dixon, who is on the Ravens' practice squad. ... What should the Kansas City Chiefs do with the top overall pick in the NFL draft?
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