Ravens open preseason on national TV

OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens have already received a national stamp of approval from the league office and the television networks. The Ravens will open the preseason at M&T Bank Stadium against the Carolina Panthers in an ESPN game on Thursday, Aug. 12.

"Opening on national television gives a little more incentive during training camp to be ready for a large audience," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement.

For their second preseason game, the Ravens make a short trip down I-95 to play the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on either Aug. 20 or Aug. 21.

They host the New York Giants on either Aug. 27 or Aug. 28.

And the Ravens conclude the preseason on the road against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday, Sept. 1. "I know that playing the Redskins in the preseason is something our fans enjoy, and gives a backyard rivalry that adds some spice to that game," Harbaugh said. "The Giants, like us, are a tough, physical team similar to those we play in our division, which makes that game a good tune-up makes that game a good tune-up.

"Playing indoors at St. Louis prepares us for that type of environment. Overall, it's a good balanced schedule that will help us prepare for the regular season."

The NFL regular-season schedule is expected to be released in the middle of April.

NOTES: Ravens backup quarterback Troy Smith has hired Neil Cornrich as his new agent, according to NFL Players Association records. The former Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State had repeatedly requested a trade through his former agent, Ralph Cindrich.

Smith hasn't stopped asking for a trade, but there has been no action toward his personal goal as far as a market materializing for him.

Smith is a restricted free agent who was assigned an original-round tender, a fifth-round selection. A Cleveland native, Smith has consistently expressed a desire to play for his hometown Browns.

However, Browns team president Mike Holmgren acquired Seneca Wallace in a trade from the Seattle Seahawks.

Smith is regarded highly by the Ravens as a backup to Joe Flacco, who's entrenched as the starter.

Harbaugh commented on Smith's situation during the annual NFL owners meetings.

"He wants to play," Harbaugh said. "I know he wants to be a starter. We think he can be a starter. I've said that a bunch of times. Troy's a really good player. You don't win the Heisman Trophy and take your team to the heights he did in college and when he's played for the Ravens he's played really well. I don't know what other teams are doing or thinking. I don't know that Ozzie [Newsome] has gotten a call or not. I don't know. Right now from a coaching perspective he's our backup quarterback and it's good to have a good backup quarterback. I think Troy could win games for us. I think John Beck could win games for us, too.

"That's not to say that we couldn't do more at quarterback, either. I'm not ruling out the possibility that we couldn't sign another quarterback if we wanted to put another guy in the mix there to cover ourselves in case John or Troy gets an opportunity that we couldn't pass up, either. It's all possible right now as far as really the whole team other than the fact that Joe will be the starter if he's healthy."

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