With Flacco Injured, Ravens Add…David Olson?

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Photo: Sabina Moran/PressBox

Yesterday was a busy one for the Baltimore Ravens.

After news broke about starting quarterback Joe Flacco’s back injury roughly 36 hours ago, the franchise made the shocking announcement that brainiac lineman John Urschel is retiring at age 26. But that didn’t even take priority in terms of headlines; at an afternoon press conference, head coach John Harbaugh’s unpromptedly mentioned Colin Kaepernick as a possible fill-in for Flacco, inciting cheers and jeers from local Ravens fans.

For that reason, many were surprised to wake up today and learn the franchise had signed a new QB who last played in an indoor football league. Enter David Olson, a former Stanford Cardinal who most recently led the Kansas City Phantoms to a 4-8 record in the lower-tier Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league.

Olson, 25, played for three years under Harbaugh’s brother Jim at Stanford, backing up future Pro Bowler Andrew Luck. He then transferred to Clemson University for his final year – where he was also a backup, this time to Deshaun Watson, drafted in April by the Houston Texans.

Olson logged nine touchdowns, four interceptions and a 54 percent completion rate with the Phantoms this past season.

News of Olson’s signing had some speculating that the Ravens settled on him instead of Kaepernick, though that’s likely not the case. Ravens Wire reports he’s most likely a “camp arm” for training camp.

After the team’s first practice yesterday, Harbaugh told reporters he “wouldn’t rule [signing Kaepernick] out at all.”

“He’s a really good football player, and I believe he’s a really good person,” the head coach said. “It all depends on a lot of things. It depends on Colin, first of all. What’s his passion, what’s his priority, what’s he want to do and what kind of shape he’s in — if he’s ready to go — and our needs.”

Kaepernick in March opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. He played there for six seasons, four of them under Jim Harbaugh. He’s known around the league for his vocal activism, most notably remaining seated or kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016, and has been a strong proponent of the Black Lives Matter campaign against systemic racism.

Olson remains last in line at this point, behind Ravens backup QB Ryan Mallett.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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