Team's veterans report on time, on a mission 'We've got a lot to prove,' says right guard Williams

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

July 19, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

After a disastrous 5-11 season, a number of Ravens veterans want redemption in 1996, and the players are eager to get to work.

All of the veterans reported on time yesterday at Western Maryland College, and the team's first full workout is scheduled for this morning, one of two practices set for today.

"I'm ready to get started," said Wally Williams, the starting right guard. "The past couple of months have been boring. The place is here, the time is now.

"We've got a lot to prove," he added. "We still have the basic unit from the team that went 11-5 in 1994, but we had a lot of internal problems last year. We've got to put that behind us. Last year people were picking us to go to the Super Bowl. Now they're picking us to finish last."

Defensive end Mike Frederick said it is important for the Ravens to get off to a quick start.

"The people in Baltimore are definitely excited," he said. "There is not a lot of fun about camp -- the practices, heat and exhaustion -- but it is an opportunity for us to get better. We've got some good players to build with."

One rookie looking forward to the veterans arriving is middle linebacker Ray Lewis.

"It will be more competitive when they get in; there will be more trash-talking," he said.

J. Lewis gets started

Wide receiver Jermaine Lewis, the Ravens' fifth-round selection out of Maryland, worked out for the first time. He was a one-day holdout and didn't agree to a contract until Wednesday afternoon.

"You can tell it's his first day," said receivers coach Mike Sheppard. "He wasn't quite as sharp, but I think he is going to be a good one."

Lewis said: "It feels good to get that first day under my belt. The tempo is a little different than in college. It's more upbeat."

Lewis then excused himself from an interview after complaining of cramps. He is expected to be the Ravens' top return specialist and challenge for the fifth receiver spot.

Powell set to practice?

Craig Powell, whom the Ravens are expecting to start at outside linebacker, might begin practicing any day now.

Powell, the team's first-round draft pick last season, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the third game last year. He had surgery Oct. 3, and the team has been waiting for him to fully recover.

"We're waiting for his quad strength to come up a little and then the doctors will release him," said Bill Tessendorf, the team's head trainer. "He is running very well, and moving without any problems from left to right. In 10 days, it will be nine to 11 months since his injury, and that's usually how long it takes for it to heal."

Miscellaneous

Floyd Turner was supposed to fly to Baltimore yesterday to join his new team, but the Ravens said the wide receiver can't work out or stay with the team until his contract is cleared with the league. The Ravens signed Turner, an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year contract last week but forwarded it to the league after the July 15 cutoff date. The NFL says Turner is the property of the Indianapolis Colts, his former team. The league and the players' union have had conversation and will reach a decision soon. . . . Ozzie Newsome, vice president of personnel, said the Ravens are close to signing cornerback DeRon Jenkins, the second-round draft pick from Tennessee. . . . The Ravens said they are no longer interested in free-agent running back Gary Brown, but may reopen talks with middle linebacker Pepper Johnson, whom they cut last week. . . . Some of his new teammates have given top draft pick Jonathan Ogden the nickname "Big Money." . . . Quarterback Vinny Testaverde is riding around the campus in a Hummer, the civilian version of the military's Humvee.

Pub Date: 7/19/96

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