Houston, we have a problem: Edge Justin Houston to sign with Steelers rival

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Steelers Wire 31 July, 2021 - 03:58pm 22 views

Will the Ravens sign Justin Houston?

The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to sign defensive end/outside linebacker Justin Houston to a one-year contract, a source confirmed to The Athletic on Saturday. The deal will have a base salary of $1.075 million with a $1 million signing bonus. The AthleticRavens, Justin Houston agree to 1-year deal: Source

Harbaugh on Justin Houston: 'I’m Excited About It'

NFL.com 01 August, 2021 - 05:44am

Houston can also serve as a mentor to some of the younger linebackers, such as Odafe Oweh, Daelin Hayes and Jaylon Ferguson.

"He’ll help those guys a lot," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Obviously, Pernell [McPhee] is a great leader in that room, and Tyus [Bowser] has grown into a heck of a leader in that room, too. They’re a pretty young group, so to get another guy who has been around and done so many great things, it should help those guys quite a bit. 

"Especially whether it’s football or just life or just having a long great career – all those things help.”

Baltimore needed to upgrade their pass rush after losing Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue to free agency. The Ravens had the fewest sacks (26) in the NFL over the past two years when not blitzing, according to ESPN Stats.

Houston, 32, has made the Pro Bowl four times and recorded at least eight sacks in each of the past four seasons.

“I feel like he’s a proven player," Harbaugh said. "I had a chance to talk to him a lot in the last number of months. He really wanted to be here. He wanted to be here months ago. For it to work out the way it did, I just compliment him, his agent and [executive vice president and general manager] Eric [DeCosta] for getting it done. 

"A number of players, Marcus Peters and he are very close. I know Marcus has been working on him to get him here for a while. Even in the last couple of days, Marcus made a couple visits over my way to make a couple calls. So, we have a role for him, and he has a chance to really help us. So, I’m excited about it.”

US-Canada women's Olympic beach volleyball match marred by controversial challenge reversal; Twitter furious

Detroit Free Press 01 August, 2021 - 04:09am

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The U.S. women's beach volleyball team of Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes was ousted from Olympic play Sunday after a twice-reversed challenge ultimately went in favor of their Canadian opponents.

The controversy left the American athletes frustrated – and left many U.S. fans watching on TV confused and outraged. 

The teams were tied heading into a deciding third set, the U.S. team having won the first set against Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson 24-22 and lost a lead in the second before falling 21-18.

The linesman’s initial ruling was that the ball was out, but the U.S. challenged the call, using an electronic system that was used in the Olympics for the first time at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. 

Oddly, after the U.S. challenge, the scoreboard at Tokyo's Shiokaze Park beach volleyball venue said: "Challenge successful. Ball out" which wasn't possible because if the U.S. challenge had been successful, the ball would have been ruled in bounds, not out. 

The Americans’ challenge "win" tied the game 12-12 but the Canadians complained about the ambiguous message – and the call was decided in the Canadians' favor. They went on to win the match a short time later.

Canada's Bansley, having won, took the controversy in stride.

"I think they’re just sort of working out some kinks," Bansley said about the apparent tech glitch. "We trust the technology they have. At least you know the correct answer, and you work from there."

The ball was ruled out on the Americans’ challenge but the operator accidentally hit the wrong button so the scoreboard read that it was successful, NBC Olympics reporter Chris Marlowe reported. 

"The referee corrected the mistake, and that was that," he wrote.

U.S. player Sponcil argued with the referee over the double reversal and was given a yellow card, according to Sporting News

Sportswriters and Stateside fans weren’t having the back and forth. 

"So, in beach volleyball, the US challenged, won it, and then Canada challenged the challenge and won? I don’t understand it at all. Claes and Sponcil don’t, either," Bally Sports writer Maggie Hendricks tweeted. 

"Wait, you can challenge a challenge in beach volleyball now?" College Football Playoff staffer Kate Cavender wrote.

"USA got hosed by the officials. It's either in or out," local Nebraska reporter Anthony D'Agostino tweeted. "Once a ruling is made, that should be that. How Canada could challenge the result of a challenge is beyond me." 

U.S. player Claes said she's never seen a double reversal before. (A team cannot appeal the decision in a challenge, but in this case the problem arose in communicating the decision to the players.)

"I thought it was in, and I mean, it sucks," she said, noting she and Sponcil blew a 10-4 lead in the second set.

"It shouldn’t have even come down to that third set. We did such a good job in the second, and then just let them back in."

At ages 25 and 24, respectively, Claes and Sponcil are the youngest American team ever to qualify for Olympic beach volleyball and would still be younger in 2024 than any of the other American teams right now. 

"Huge learning moment for us," Claes said. "It sucks right now. It’s probably going to suck for a few weeks. But probably looking back I’ll for sure look at that and take that into account. But right now, like, it stinks."

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Breakdown on Justin Houston Signing With Ravens

Sports Illustrated 31 July, 2021 - 05:08pm

Breakdown on Justin Houston Signing With Ravens

UGA Wire 31 July, 2021 - 05:08pm

Ravens: Justin Houston signing completes Baltimore’s defense

Ebony Bird 31 July, 2021 - 10:37am

Justin Houston, Ravens Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens finally agreed to terms with free-agent pass rusher Justin Houston on Saturday. Following months of rumors and speculation, the two sides managed to reach an agreement.

The Ravens have their veteran pass rusher. And now, their defense is virtually complete.

The losses of Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue opened up a sizable hole in the Ravens’ defense this offseason. One that they couldn’t really address adequately in free agency.

Houston is the free-agent addition they’ve been waiting months for. And both the fan base and team couldn’t be happier.

Baltimore attempted to address their pass rush adding both Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes in the 2021 NFL Draft. But while both players have shown promise, neither is a guaranteed instant-impact contributor.

And the rest of the team’s pass rush corps is unproven at best.

Tyus Bowser is a good player, but he’s more of a well-rounded outside linebacker than a pass-rush specialist. Pernell McPhee might have some juice left, but his best days are clearly behind him. And Jaylon Ferguson is more of a mystery than any other player on the roster.

The Ravens needed to add an accomplished veteran pass rusher who can contribute at a high level from day one. Justin Houston always made the most sense — and now, he’s here.

Houston has recorded 19 sacks over the last two seasons and has tallied at least 8.0 sacks in each of the last four years.

Even at 32-years-old, he’s proven to still have plenty left in the tank. The four-time Pro Bowler was the missing piece to the Ravens defense.

Baltimore already had the best cornerback group in the NFL with Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters leading the way. Their veteran-heavy defensive line anchored the front seven. Even their linebacker corps led by Patrick Queen showed promise.

What they didn’t have, however, was a sure thing at pass rusher. Now they do.

Justin Houston is their Matthew Judon replacement. He is the final piece of the puzzle for a potentially elite Baltimore defense.

The Ravens are ready for Week 1.

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