Rison, McCardell get satisfaction in win Former Browns endure their hits during game

November 11, 1996|By Peter Zellen | Peter Zellen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As players from both teams milled around at midfield following the Jaguars' 30-27 comeback victory over the Ravens, two of the more sociable were wide receivers Andre Rison and Keenan McCardell. Rison was even seen hugging Ravens safety Stevon Moore.

But all was not so pleasant during the game.

Both Rison and McCardell played for the Cleveland Browns last year before the franchise moved to Baltimore, and now the two receivers sprint downfield for Jacksonville. So for four quarters, they put up with taunts and hard hits.

Afterward, both talked as if they enjoyed the whole ordeal.

"We took some pretty crushing blows out there today," Rison said. "They were trying to cheap-shot and everything. But that's the game of war in the National Football League. All I know is the Jags won."

"It was just a lot of trash-talking," McCardell said. "It was all stemming back from the days when we [he and Rison] were there. We talked about it a little bit, but it's all fun in war."

Rison may have raised the intensity level early when he was quoted in the Jacksonville paper as calling his former teammates "punks."

"That's him, we expect him to do that," said Ravens receiver Derrick Alexander. 'He's been doing that forever and he was doing that while he was with us."

For the better part of the game, the extracurricular activity surrounding Rison and McCardell had its effect. Rison caught just two passes for 18 yards through the first half and McCardell didn't make his first catch until there were less than six minutes remaining in the game.

In the first three quarters, Rison and McCardell combined for seven misses, four by Rison and three by McCardell.

"I felt I was trying too hard," said McCardell. "I was just trying to TC grab the ball as much as I could just to make a play instead of just relaxing and playing. So I had a little talk with myself on the sideline."

The talk worked. In the fourth-quarter drive that cut the Ravens' lead to 27-22, McCardell caught two passes for 28 yards and Rison brought down two more from quarterback Mark Brunell for 26 yards. Following that score, McCardell got into a skirmish with safety Bennie Thompson -- resulting in offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties.

"It's always like that -- that's what we're paid for, I missed a couple of balls, but I bounced back at the most important times in the fourth quarter," said Rison.

The hits got harder during the Jaguars' game-winning drive. With 1: 51 remaining and Jacksonville on the Ravens' 28, Brunell hit McCardell with a pass at the 5, but the ball was jarred loose by a devastating hit from safety Vashone Adams.

McCardell even sought redemption on the play from the television media.

"Actually, I caught the ball," said McCardell. "When you guys show it, you'll see that the ground caused the ball to come out. It wasn't the hit, it was just the ground and in the NFL the ground can't cause the fumble. But that's the refs and I won't say anything about that.

"That's my job. I like the middle and it's a dangerous position. But it's football, it's all about contact. If you don't like contact, you can't play this game."

For Rison and McCardell, the battering was just another day at the office.

"All that is football," McCardell said. "It wasn't about me being there and getting something extra. It was just about football and that's my type of ballgame. I like to feel like this -- I'm sore, bruised and battered. It's one of those games and you've got to live dangerously in the middle."

Pub Date: 11/11/96

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