Hearst intercepted by Bengals Cincinnati's claim stuns running back, Newsome

Ravens notebook

August 22, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko and Gary Lambrecht | Roch Eric Kubatko and Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens' pursuit of former Arizona Cardinals running back Garrison Hearst was derailed yesterday in surprising fashion, when the Cincinnati Bengals claimed Hearst off waivers.

By claiming Hearst, the Bengals -- who list second-year running back Ki-Jana Carter as their No. 1 back -- also are taking on Hearst's $2.1 million salary for the 1996 season.

The Ravens had been talking all week with Hearst's agent, Pat Dye. Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, figured Hearst could be lured with a one-year deal in the $1 million range. He was stunned by the news.

"I came back from my jog and Pat Dye tells me he's been claimed, that he's a Bengal," Newsome said. "The last thing I expected to hear was that he had been claimed for this amount of money. Amazing."

Hearst reportedly was furious over Cincinnati's move. There is -- speculation that the Bengals claimed Hearst to keep him away from their AFC Central rival Ravens, who are looking to upgrade the running back position.

The Bengals are expected to negotiate a new deal with Hearst or release him at some point in the near future. None of his salary is guaranteed.

Time to get real

Four more quarters, and the Ravens will have put the preseason behind them. Let the real games begin.

The Buffalo Bills are all that stand between the Ravens and their regular-season opener on Sept. 1 against the Oakland Raiders at Memorial Stadium. And the players can't wait.

"Too many preseason games, and training camp is too long," said center Steve Everitt. "Most of it is necessary, but it gets old. You're playing for nothing. Obviously, you're trying to get better and get everything in sync, but it drags, especially now that you've broken camp. You're ready to get into the season."

Said safety Eric Turner: "It's nice to get to the real thing. We've had practices, minicamp, camp, preseason. It's time to get it rolling."

Said left offensive tackle Tony Jones: "Our team has come together pretty good. We're ready to start the season and see where we're at. We're real close to having something really good here. We just have to keep it together and keep working hard."

Holding the line

Would anyone like to trade places with right tackle Orlando Brown, who will spend part of tomorrow's game in Buffalo trying to fend off Bryce Paup, the NFL's reigning Defensive Player of the Year?

Paup had 17 1/2 sacks last season, his first with the Bills. And he has Brown's attention.

"That will be some great work for me," he said. "I've got to be on top of my game because I know Bryce Paup will be coming. He's a great speed rusher and I'm a great pass blocker."

They tangled last year in a Monday night game in Cleveland, which the Bills won, 22-19. Quarterback Vinny Testaverde was sacked three times, and as Brown recalls, Paup had one of them.

"I got the best of him," Brown said, smiling and turning to see if any of his teammates were listening. "You don't count sacks, though. Sacks are overrated. Out of 60 plays, you get a sack. What about the other 59 plays?"

"Guess who told him that?" Jones said.

"I heard your interview one time," Brown replied.

Jones won't have it any easier. He gets eight-time Pro Bowl end Bruce Smith, whose first sack last season came against the Browns.

"If you go out and you're not ready, the guy you're playing against can beat you and embarrass you," Jones said. "And with Bruce, if you're not ready, he definitely can do it quick. Sometimes, even if you're ready, he still does it."

QB No. 3 may get turn

Even the most die-hard Ravens fan might have trouble naming the team's No. 3 quarterback, if only because he has yet to step onto the field during the preseason. But that could change tomorrow night.

Scott Otis, a rookie free agent out of Glenville State, did his usual throwing at yesterday's practice in Owings Mills, but might not do his usual watching when the Ravens play Buffalo. Quarterbacks coach Don Strock said, "Hopefully, we'll get some time this week for him."

Strock added: "Obviously, we like him. He's the size you want, he's a coachable guy, smart. He's working on a lot of things right now. He's working on a few little changes we made in his motion and his footwork, and he's progressed very well.

"The last couple weeks, I've told him to be ready because we're trying to get him into a game. You wouldn't want to be put in a situation where you have to win or lose a game the first time you HTC step on the field as a professional. We want him to be free and loose and easy about it."

Otis, 6 feet 5 and 230 pounds, said he understands why Testaverde and Eric Zeier have been taking the snaps during games. "It's a whole new system for these guys and they need to take their time and get accustomed to it," he said. "Hopefully, if the opportunity presents itself, I'll definitely be ready to go in and do whatever they ask. I've been waiting the past couple weeks and we've been in some close games. Things just haven't worked out."

Johnson is missed

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