Morris mum upon his return Ravens RB back in starting lineup in latest chapter

'I'll talk about football'

Friday night spent in a Texas jail

October 14, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens gave a state-of-Bam Morris address yesterday.

The latest chapter in the saga unfolded yesterday at the team's Owings Mills training facility when the star running back returned to practice and the starting lineup.

First there was Morris signing a contract in September 1996. Then there was the overweight caper last April. Next there was the suspension for four games at the beginning of this season and then last week came the newest episode: Morris returns to jail.

After spending Friday night in a Rockwall County, Texas, detention center on charges that he violated conditions of his 10-year probation by not attending meetings with his parole officer and consuming alcohol, Morris practiced with the team in a 75-minute workout as the Ravens (3-3) prepared for Sunday's home game against the Miami Dolphins (4-2).

"Everything feels real good, everything is OK, except my ribs are a little sore," said Morris, who injured his ribs against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 5. "I'm going to soak them in barbecue sauce, that's an old remedy."

Morris did not talk about this past weekend, which included a flight home, a day and a half in detention or his Nov. 25 trial date.

"It was something that happened and I'm not going to keep trying to explain it," said Morris. "I'll talk about football and that's it. Things happen and you have got to go on. My focus is on getting ready to play, to get back where I can help this team win some football games."

Ravens owner Art Modell also had little to say.

"It would be unfair to address this situation at the present time. All that needs to be said will come out when Bam Morris goes to court," said Modell.

Coach Ted Marchibroda said: "I think he has been shaken by the chain of events over the weekend. But for me to say anything or even for Bam to say anything, I don't think the judge. It's a sensitive issue and I don't think the judge would want us to say anything about the situation."

"I don't think Bam's absences will have any effect on us," he said. "At this point, I guess there's no question that he is going to be with us. We'll see from here on out."

Morris missed two practices Thursday and Friday after a warrant was issued for his arrest in Rockwall County, Texas, on Thursday on charges he violated his probation by consuming alcohol and by failing to report to his probation officer seven times between July 6, 1996, and August 1997.

Morris is believed to have reasons for some of the missed probation meetings because in August he switched from an officer in Rockwall County to one in Baltimore County.

The Ravens feared Morris might be jailed until his trial date, but Morris paid the bail of $500,000 Saturday morning and was released. The problems came at the least disruptive time for both the player and the team because the Ravens had a bye Sunday.

The Ravens also have stressed the importance of strengthening their running game after failing to hold a 21-point first-half lead against the Steelers. Upon Morris' return, veteran running back Earnest Byner was moved back to the second team and rookie Jay Graham to the third.

"Basically, you want to deal with things, but you don't want to get entwined into the three-ring circus or it can become a distraction," said Byner. "I just try to be there as much as possible for Bam. We have discussed the matter and its pertinence to the team.

"Obviously, this is the topic of every barber-shop conversation. It's another part of the continuing saga, a series. Hopefully, Bam will go out and rush for 100 yards Sunday. Then people will just say, 'Oh, it's just Bam again.' "

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Miami Dolphins

Site: Memorial Stadium

When: Sunday, 4 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 11/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Line: Dolphins by 1 1/2

Series: First meeting

Pub Date: 10/14/97

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