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Steve Smith Sr. Set To Clash With His Former Team

By Samuel Njoku

The Ravens are the only team in the NFL to start the season with 3 straight games against division opponents. They'll finally get a test from a team outside of the AFC North when they go up against the Carolina Panthers. And though Carolina resides in the NFC, one player on the Ravens roster makes this matchup an intense one to say the least.

Steve Smith and the Carolina Panthers set to clash

There are few things more intriguing in sports than watching an athlete play against his former team. When that player is Steve Smith, it goes from intriguing to must-see TV.  When the Panthers released Smith back in March, it lit a fire under the 35 year old wide receiver. He made it clear that his release left a mountain sized chip on his shoulder.

"I want to make sure whatever team I go to, they're going to get the best, in shape 35-year-old guy they can get," stated Steve Smith. "If that happens to run through Bank of America stadium, put your goggles on because there's going to be blood and guts everywhere."

As it turns out, it's the Panthers that will come to Steve Smith and not the other way around. Baltimore signed Smith and couldn't be happier. And while the story in this game will revolve around Smith and the Panthers, Ron Rivera wants it to be known that this is not the case.

"Steve's playing very well for them," Coach Rivera told reporters. "But it's going to be the Carolina Panthers versus the Baltimore Ravens."

When Smith's new coach was asked about the upcoming matchup, Coach Harbaugh told reporters he offered his new receiver some good advice.

"My advice to Steve would be to Shock the world. Surprise everybody. Don't even say a word the whole game -- go into a shell."

Of course Harbaugh quickly stated that he doesn't think Steve will take his advice. Knowing how fiery a competitor he is, that's more than a safe assumption.

Dennis Pitta placed on IR

For the 2nd straight season, Dennis Pitta was placed on IR with a hip injury. Pitta dislocated his hip on a play where he was untouched. Although Pitta was able to return to the team late last season, that simply won't be the case this year. His surgery was successful but many pundits are doubting whether this could be a career ending injury though Coach Harbaugh offered little information on that front. For now, Owen Daniels looks to be the starting tight end with rookie Crockett Gilmore thrust into the second TE spot.

Steve Bisciotti defends organization following ESPN report

If the Ravens thought simply cutting Ray Rice would rid themselves of the distractions and criticisms that have been connected to their former running back, they are far from happy right now. ESPN published an article claiming that the Ravens not only knew about the punch from the beginning, but tried to stop the video of the incident from going public while lobbying for Ray Rice to receive a significantly reduced suspension.   That report was shot down by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. He claims that the sources from that piece were all from Ray Rice's camp and that their mission is to try and get the running back's suspension reduced by making it appear as though everyone else involved is lying.

While this matter appears far from over, it is a welcome sight to see the owner of the team take questions from the media as opposed to placing that burden on the shoulders of the head coach.

For more Ravens news and updates, visit Ravens Central.

Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.

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