Activation makes day for Williams Rookie cornerback gets call from practice roster

Ravens notebook

November 27, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Rookie cornerback John Williams was considered a long shot to make the team when he reported to training camp as a free agent out of Southern University.

The Ravens thought enough of his quickness and hustle to sign Williams, 5 feet 7, 180 pounds, to the practice roster. But, with injuries suddenly tearing through the Ravens' secondary, Williams now finds himself on the active roster for the first time.

"I'm excited, and it's still a surprise," said Williams, who was signed to the active roster yesterday. "All year, it's been my dream to be on an NFL active roster. I just want to represent the Ravens by giving them everything I've got. Whatever it takes -- watching film all day here, all night at home, going home and working out some more -- I'll do it."

Williams, who worked on the kickoff team yesterday, becomes an important addition with the loss of cornerback Eugene Daniel (hamstring) and safety Rondell Jones (groin). Neither is expected to play against Jacksonville on Sunday.

Jaguars are nemeses

The Ravens are all too aware of the frustration that symbolizes their association with Jacksonville. Going back to its Cleveland roots, the franchise has failed to beat the Jaguars in five tries. As the Ravens, they have lost three games by a combined seven points, including last November's 28-25, overtime loss in Baltimore.

"We feel like we owe those guys one," coach Ted Marchibroda said of the 8-4 Jaguars, who are tied for first in the AFC Central. "We've lost three close games to them, and we've led them each time going into the fourth quarter. We'll find out about the character of our football team, starting this week."

"Until we learn how to win these close games, we're not going to be a playoff team," quarterback Vinny Testaverde said.

As for playing spoilers, Marchibroda said, "We're not concerned as much with being spoilers as we are with finishing strong."

Miscellaneous

Defensive end Michael McCrary picked off a Testaverde pass in the team's two-minute drill yesterday and returned the interception for a touchdown. Running back Jay Graham worked with the first team initially, but gave way to Bam Morris after Graham's sore left ankle started to bother him again. Guard Leo Goeas, out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, will have surgery on Monday. The Ravens waived offensive lineman Bernard Dafney, who was acquired in an Aug. 24 trade with Pittsburgh and saw brief action in two games. Center Wally Williams got married on Tuesday morning, then took time to participate in a team charity event to benefit the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Cornerback Daniel, safety Jones, safety Stevon Moore (knee), defensive end Rob Burnett (knee) and fullback Tony Vinson (thigh) did not practice yesterday. Rookies Kim Herring and Ralph Staten worked as first-team safeties.

Pub Date: 11/27/97

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