Ravens talk with Green, to meet with Mitchell Team first wants to see ex-Steelers TE on field

September 18, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens, seeking to upgrade their tight end position, talked with former Pittsburgh Steelers standout Eric Green yesterday, and will get a visit from former New York Jet Johnny Mitchell today.

Green met with coach Ted Marchibroda and Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, at the team's Owings Mills complex.

Green, 6 feet 5, 305 pounds, a six-year veteran who played for Miami last year after spending his first five seasons with Pittsburgh, has been one of the NFL's most productive tight ends of the 1990s. Coming into this season, he had scored 27 touchdowns in the decade, trailing only Green Bay's Keith Jackson in that category. Green has averaged 13.2 yards on his 241 career receptions.

Green is coming back from arthroscopic knee surgery he had four months ago. He was released by the Dolphins before training camp. Green also is talking with Miami and Kansas City.

Newsome, who likes Green's bulk, speed and hands, said he expects to work out Green next week.

"He is close to being ready to play. Nothing will happen [in terms of contract talks] until we see him on the field," Newsome said. "Seeing him across the field in Pittsburgh for those years, we saw a guy who is effective in the passing game and the blocking game."

Brian Kinchen, the Ravens' top tight end, has caught 12 passes for 241 yards this year, but weighs only 240 pounds. Newsome and Marchibroda want a speedier threat at that position, and they are concerned about Kinchen's ability to take on bigger opponents as a blocker.

In other news, defensive end Rick Lyle, who broke his right leg against the Houston Oilers on Sunday, might play again this season.

Lyle fractured his lower fibula, but could begin putting pressure on the leg next month if the break heals correctly over the next two weeks. Lyle could play again in six to eight weeks, said team doctor Claude Moorman.

"In two weeks, we'll know a lot more about where he's going to be," said Moorman. "The key is there was no damage to the ankle. it appears to be a relatively stable fracture."

Besides Lyle, the Ravens' starting linebackers are nursing wounds. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who sprained his lower back when he was blocked by Houston H-back Frank Wycheck on a touchdown run Sunday, has improved quickly. Lewis lifted weights yesterday, the first of two straight days off for the team, and he could work out with the team when it resumes practicing tomorrow.

Outside linebackers Mike Croel and Mike Caldwell have knee injuries that could keep them out of practice for a while. Croel has sprained ligaments, and Caldwell suffered some cartilage damage when he reinjured his right knee in Houston.

Defensive end Anthony Pleasant's right ankle, which he sprained badly in the season opener, continues to heal slowly. Right guard Wally Williams, who sat out the Houston game with a foot injury, ran on a treadmill yesterday and stands a good chance of practicing tomorrow.

NOTES: About 1,400 tickets remain for the New Orleans game Sept. 29, and 600 are left for the New England game Oct. 6. The Ravens cut cornerback Donte Dowers from their one-man practice squad to make room for linebacker and sixth-round pick Dexter Daniels, whom they intend to add to their practice roster soon.

Next for Ravens

Opponent: New Orleans Saints

When Sept. 29, 1 p.m.

Site: Memorial Stadium

TV/Radio: Ch. 45/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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