Modell: Expect more black head coaches Center Williams works, may play in Oct. 5 game

Ravens notebook

September 20, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens owner Art Modell said he expects the number of African-American head coaches in the NFL to grow within the next couple of years, despite the fact his peers didn't even interview Green Bay offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis during the off-season.

Usually, coordinators for Super Bowl winners are often interviewed and hired for openings, but Lewis did not receive an interview despite 12 coaching changes from a year ago, if one counts Bruce Coslet replacing Dave Shula with the Cincinnati Bengals near midseason.

The league currently has three African-American head coaches -- Ray Rhodes of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings' Dennis Green and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tony Dungy.

"Honestly, I can't say why he didn't get an interview," Modell said. "I can't talk for other people, but I know the number of African-American coaches has been growing every year. We have three or four now. That was unheard of 26 years ago.

"They used to say the same thing about the quarterback position, then along came Doug Williams winning with Washington and quarterbacks like Warren Moon," Modell said. "The situation is progressing and there is no impropriety. If someone says there is, then they don't know a thing about pro football.

"I also would have to say that [NCAA] Division I-A has been no pacesetter, either, and that's where we get a lot of our material. The era of George Preston Marshall ended 37 years ago.

"As we see more changes this year, I feel as though more African-Americans will be hired. Owners like to win and they won't pass over a confident man coming out of a good system."

Williams on mend

Starting center Wally Williams, who ruptured an Achilles' tendon in late April, has begun some full-contact work. Williams has spent most of his time working with the third team.

"Actually, I feel real good. I kind of surprised myself," he said. "It's a little sore, but I have to stay with the day-to-day workouts. I guess I would say that my foot is about 75 to 80 percent.

"I'm still looking at the Pittsburgh game [on Oct. 5] as the comeback game. I don't anticipate playing the whole game, but maybe a quarter or so."

Case of nerves

Rookie fullback Kenyon Cotton received his first extensive playing time last Sunday against the New York Giants, primarily as a blocking back. He was the lead blocker on Jay Graham's 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down.

"For the past three weeks, I wasn't nervous, but this time I started feeling like a kid again," Cotton said. "It caught me by surprise that they called me out there. I was waiting for the linemen to turn and say he was only kidding.

"I know after we got stopped the first couple of times, I told Jay, 'Man, you better get it in there this time or Coach isn't going to have us out here much longer.' "

Both Cotton and Graham are eagerly awaiting the return of star running back Bam Morris on Monday. Morris was suspended for the first four games for violating the league's policy on alcohol and substance abuse.

"We're predominantly a one-back team," Cotton said. "I'm waiting for Bam to get back to see where we are."

"It will be nice to see him again," Graham said. "I haven't seen him in about six weeks. I don't know how it will affect my role. I'll just keep practicing hard and we'll see what happens."

Pub Date: 9/20/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.