Airy new quarters provide lift Field house draws praise

Ravens notebook

Poole talks on back burner

March 11, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens officially began their off-season conditioning program yesterday at the team's new, $500,000 field house, and the reviews were positive across the board.

For starters, the 12,500-square-foot facility, which was constructed in less than one month on the team's artificial turf practice field in Owings Mills, gives the players space they never enjoyed in the cramped weight room of their main facility there.

"You were always worried about somebody stumbling into somebody else who was lifting and getting injured," Ravens strength coach Jerry Simmons said. "That's the last thing you want to happen. The whole idea of working in here is to keep them from getting injured [on the field].

"We've brought in twice as many benches and incline boards, more than twice as many squat racks, and we've got over three times as much space here. Now, we've got a weight room the way it ought to be."

Said second-year running back Jay Graham: "You want to feel good about working out, and that's tough to do when everybody has to stand around waiting for a bench or a squat rack to use. Having all of this new equipment and all of this room will make it so much better."

The team also plans to add half a basketball court.

Nearly 40 players had reported to the program by yesterday, and Simmons said he expects 50 players, including such newly acquired roster members as quarterback Jim Harbaugh, running back Errict Rhett, cornerback Rod Woodson and fullback Roosevelt Potts to be working in Owings Mills by April 1.

Trade talk cool on Poole

The trade talks between the Ravens and Carolina over Panthers cornerback Tyrone Poole have cooled for now.

The Panthers would like to move Poole here either by taking a 1998 draft pick from the Ravens -- presumably their second-rounder -- or by swapping Poole for a starter on their defensive line.

"We're not trading a defensive lineman at this point," said Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel. "I think we both know where we are right now. They [the Panthers] know what we have in mind, and we know what we have in mind."

The Ravens are already down to five draft picks this year. They have no picks in either the third or seventh rounds.

Moore's knees on mend

Veteran safety Stevon Moore continues his comeback from surgery on both knees. He spent much of his first six weeks of recovery in a wheelchair, and is now doing light treadmill work.

"I'm taking it slow. I've been around long enough to know not to rush something like this," said Moore, a nine-year veteran who battled through a serious knee injury early in his career.

Moore has a message for young safeties like Kim Herring and jTC Ralph Staten, who are very much in the Ravens' plans.

Don't put the old man to bed yet.

"They might be able to outrun me, but they can't outwork me," Moore said.

Speaking of safeties, the Ravens are ready to move third-year cornerback Donny Brady to the safety position. Brady, who failed as a cornerback during his first two years in Baltimore, has found a place on special teams, and the Ravens think his size -- 6 feet 2, 195 pounds -- speed and hitting ability could help him find another spot on the field.

"We've talked about it, and [Brady] will probably get some snaps there in the spring at minicamp and at training camp," Newsome said. Wide receiver Michael Jackson referred to old teammate Derrick Alexander's locker as "a graveyard." Jackson and Alexander have been close friends for years. The Ravens recently lost Alexander on the free-agent market to the Kansas City Chiefs. "We were hoping to keep a good tandem going, but it came down to a business decision. I'm going to have make [the locker] a shrine, or put in an application for a new friend." The Ravens have hired Darrin Simmons as a quality control/special teams coach, replacing John Settle, who left to become the running backs coach at Fresno State.

Pub Date: 3/11/98

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