Green caught more than virus Sunday Tight end had best day as Raven despite illness


Modell feels sting of loss

October 07, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

By Saturday morning, a day before the Pittsburgh Steelers game, a stomach virus had tackled Ravens tight end Eric Green. Between his illness and the 90-degree heat, Green wasn't exactly all there at Memorial Stadium on Sunday. He even was taking medication on the sideline while backup Brian Kinchen caught a first-half, 24-yard touchdown pass.

But Green was around long enough to have his best game as a Raven -- eight catches for 92 yards, including a 22-yard reception that went for the game's first score. A lost fumble on the Steelers' 8 after a 29-yard gain with a minute left in the game and the Ravens down, 42-32, was the only smudge on his record.

"At one point, I was real lightheaded. Things just weren't too clear to me," Green said. "Sometimes, you just have to suck it up, right?"

Despite missing most of one game with a hamstring pull, Green has 26 catches, three behind wide-out Michael Jackson, the team leader. Going into last night's Denver Broncos-New England Patriots game, Green was leading NFL tight ends in receptions. His 30 touchdown receptions in the 1990s ranked third at his position behind New England's Ben Coates (36) and Denver's Shannon Sharpe (32).

Feeling loss

A day after his team blew leads of 21-0 and 24-7 by surrendering 35 points in the second half, owner Art Modell was still feeling the sting of a tough defeat.

"We have a better team than last year, but these second-half collapses have gone on for a year-and-a-half and we've got to put a stop to it," Modell said. "That second-half performance was totally unacceptable. There are no panic buttons here. We just have to eradicate a bad day."

Modell apparently was not nearly as bothered by the presence of Pittsburgh fans that he estimated at nearly 10,000.

"It happens, and it was not a freak of nature," Modell said. "When I was a young man in this business, that used to happen every year. We've had 25,000 Steelers fans come to our games in Cleveland before, and we used to take that many down to Pittsburgh sometimes.

"If a guy writes in for tickets or calls in a credit-card order or if someone buys a ticket from another fan and pays a premium price for it, we don't know who the fans are. Besides, that had nothing to do with what happened on the field on Sunday."

Morris hurting

Running back Bam Morris, who left the game temporarily in the third quarter with bruised ribs, suffered more damage on that play than he thought. An exam yesterday revealed that Morris also suffered a bruised spleen. The Ravens will limit Morris in practice this week.

Running back Tony Vinson also suffered a sprained neck to go along with the mild concussion that ended his day in the first half. Vinson is day-to-day.

And defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, who tried to play on a left ankle with tendon damage against the Steelers, is expected to start against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 19.

Siragusa, his left foot heavily taped, came in during the second quarter. After five plays, he returned to the sidelines for good.

"Once I hit a double team and I couldn't push off, I couldn't go," Siragusa said. "By the second half, the painkillers started wearing off, and [the ankle] got cold on me. The frustrating thing is [the Ravens] brought me here for games like this. Being on the sideline wasn't enough."

Siragusa sensed early that the Ravens could be headed for some problems.

"I get more nervous being up 21-0 than I am when I'm down 21-0. We just had too many guys doing the wrong things instead of the right things," he said. "It's like going to Atlantic City and after the first five hands you're up $500, and you start thinking, 'Man, I can't lose.' The next thing you know, the credit guy is laughing at you, and you've got nothing."


The Ravens will have light, 90-minute practices for three straight days starting tomorrow, then will get the weekend off before resuming a normal schedule on Monday. The Ravens, who did not win a road game in 1996, own a better road record (2-1) than at home (1-2). Wide receiver Jackson, who had 14 touchdown receptions last year, has two after six games. With his two interceptions on Sunday, Ravens cornerback Eugene Daniel is tied for sixth among active players with 38. The Ravens gave up more points in the second half (35) on Sunday than they had in their previous five games (25) combined. Jermaine Lewis is second in the NFL with a 16-yard punt-return average. Pittsburgh punter Josh Miller, formerly of the CFL's Baltimore Stallions, averaged 50.5 yards on four punts on Sunday.

Pub Date: 10/07/97

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