Ankle injury forces Graham to hand off RB job to Morris Rookie limited in practice, sidelined after three starts

Ravens notebook

December 06, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht and Mike Preston | Gary Lambrecht and Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

With rookie running back Jay Graham's tender left ankle continuing to bother him noticeably, coach Ted Marchibroda has decided that Bam Morris will start tomorrow's game against visiting Seattle.

"We're probably going to go with Bam and Earnest [Byner] all the way. Bam will play well," Marchibroda said. "Jay is still too tentative."

Graham, who has started the last three games, has not been the same since injuring his ankle in the overtime period of the Ravens' 10-10 tie against Philadelphia on Nov. 16, the day Graham rushed for 154 yards on 35 carries, both career highs.

Graham re-injured the ankle during Thursday's practice. He probably will play sparingly tomorrow, if at all. He worked lightly on Thursday, and his work at yesterday's practice was extremely limited.

"It's better than it has been. I can make cuts, but not at 100 percent," Graham said. "It's important for me, especially as a rookie, to get as many reps as possible. It's hard to play when you miss so much practice time."

Morris leads the team with 615 yards and three rushing touchdowns.

"I'm just here, baby," Morris said.

Pro Bowl voting

The day after tomorrow's game, players and coaches around the league will cast their votes for the Pro Bowl squads from each conference. The results will be announced on Thursday.

The Ravens feel pretty good about earning three selections -- left tackle Jonathan Ogden, middle linebacker Ray Lewis and place-kicker Matt Stover.

Ogden, the team's No. 1 draft pick from a year ago, has made a remarkable transition from the left guard position he played as a rookie. He has surrendered only one sack this season.

"I never feel like I've played my best, but I've done some good things," Ogden said. "I feel like I've played well enough [to make the Pro Bowl]."

"He has no average games. His games are always good or better," Marchibroda said of Ogden.

Lewis, the second of the Ravens' two first-round draft picks in 1996, continues his relentless pursuit of the 200-tackle mark for the year. Through 13 games, Lewis has 177 tackles, easily tops in the NFL.

"Ray has probably played as well as anyone can play that position game after game after game," Marchibroda said.

Stover is fifth in the AFC in scoring with 98 points. He has seen his place in the standings drop in recent weeks as the Ravens' offense has sputtered, averaging just 14.1 points over the past seven games.

Still, Stover has connected on 25 of 28 field goals, and is 19-for-19 from inside the 40.

Roster moves

The Ravens signed two players to the active roster this week, rookie offensive linemen Mike Flynn and Alex Bernstein. Both were with the team in training camp before being waived.

The Ravens later signed Bernstein to the practice squad and Flynn was signed to Jacksonville's practice squad before both were activated this week.

Final bow

Twenty-two former Baltimore Colts, including Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore, will take the field following the Ravens-Tennessee Oilers game next week and run a ceremonial, final play at Memorial Stadium.

"These are the players who made NFL football so important to this community and they deserve to have this final opportunity to take a bow in front of many fans who followed them through the years," Ravens owner Art Modell said.

Following the Colts' play, the ball will be handed to Ravens receiver Michael Jackson. That ball will then be kicked off at the Ravens' regular-season opener in their new stadium at Camden Yards. After Jackson receives the ball, banks of lights will be turned off, the American flag will be lowered, and the Baltimore Colts' Band will play the Colts' fight song one last time.

Food drive

The Ravens Wives Association has formed a partnership with the Maryland Food Bank to collect food and money tomorrow at Memorial Stadium when the Ravens play the Seahawks.

Players wives will wear their husbands' jerseys and begin collecting nonperishable food items when the gates open at the stadium. There will be specially marked containers for monetary donations.

"Last year we collected over 9,000 pounds of food and $3,000 to help families in need in Baltimore. We want to be sure that everyone in the community has a warm and well-fed holiday season," said Tina Byner, who is joined on the food drive committee by Lori Kinchen, Debby Stover, Dewan Williams and Carrie Zeier.

Pub Date: 12/06/97

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