Harbaugh updates Ravens fans on receivers, defensive stars

Quarterback Joe Flacco had a breakout 2010 season for the Baltimore Ravens, but he might have to find two new targets.

Harbaugh made the comments Wednesday night during a conference call with 6,000 season-ticket holders.

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"You can't really put a percentage basis on it because there are so many things up in the air at this time," Harbaugh said of the chance the receivers will return, according to the Ravens' official website. "There are obviously a lot of issues that haven't been a part of the equation in the past. It's just a different calendar now with free agency."

Houshmandzadeh, 33, and Stallworth, 30, each signed one-year contracts with the Ravens last offseason. Both will be unrestricted free agents when a new collective bargaining agreement agreement is reached, and both have said they'd like to return to Baltimore.

Houshmandzadeh had 30 receptions for 398 yards last season, his lowest numbers since he was a rookie with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2001. Stallworth finished with just two receptions for 82 yards after missing the 2009 season because of an NFL-mandated suspension related to him pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter.

"I like all those guys," Harbaugh said. "As a coach, you want all the good players you can get. You like having veteran players, too. It's not always possible to keep all those guys.

"So I just don't know. We'll just have to see."

Harbaugh also explained to the fans that the Ravensneed to acquire a fullback, regardless of what happens with Le'Ron McClain, who's expected to become an unrestricted free agent under the rules of a new CBA.

McClain racked up just 85 yards on 28 carries last season, but he has expressed a desire to carry the ball like he did in 2008. He finished that season with 232 carries for 902 yards and 10 scores before Ray Rice emerged as Baltimore's No. 1 running back.

"The type of running game, the things that we've done here, the type of offense and the type of a team we want to be dictates a big, physical fullback," Harbaugh said. "That's not all we're going to do. You need to do some other things. You need to pass protect. You need to get out and run routes and all of that."

Harbaugh also addressed the futures of safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis, the veteran leaders of Baltimore's stout defense.

"I've talked to Ed a number of times this offseason," Harbaugh said. "He feels he can play four or five more years."

Reed, 32, had hip surgery last offseason and missed the first six regular-season games. Still, he finished the season with an NFL-best eight interceptions.

Harbaugh was less sure about the longevity of Lewis, who's 35.

"It's going to be up to Ray," the coach said. "We'll have to see. He's at that stage where he's in uncharted territory. There's no middle linebacker that's played anywhere close as long as he's played at the level he's played. We do have to think about that.

"It's tough because we've got great players still playing well. But you've always got to be thinking in football about getting younger. That's just the way it works. It's the cycle of football."

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