About 7,000 season tickets still available Club expects to open play with 54,000 PSL owners

Ravens notebook

June 04, 1998|By Jon Morgan and Mike Preston | Jon Morgan and Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens will open their new stadium with something many would have thought unlikely in this city of legendary football fandom: unsold season tickets.

With about 52,000 season tickets sold, each with the required permanent seat license, the team has about 7,000 left to sell. The one-time PSL fees range from $250 to $3,000, plus the ticket.

"We're pleased. We always kind of paralleled ourselves with Carolina, and they had 4,000 PSLs available when they started their season at the Charlotte stadium," said Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne.

The Ravens hit a high-water mark of 54,000 in season tickets in their first year at Memorial Stadium. Those tickets required a refundable $100 deposit toward a seat license. When actual license payments came due, the total dropped to about 46,000 but has been slowly climbing.

The team is counting on the new stadium to be a major selling point, as happened with the Orioles. Byrne said he thinks the Ravens will open the season with about 54,000 licenses sold.

The open seats -- all in end zones -- will be sold on a single-game basis and be marked so fans know they are available. Once season tickets sell out, the Ravens plan to offer 6,000 single-game seats for each game in the 69,000-seat stadium. Another 2,400 seats are in sky boxes, and 1,000 are for players and sponsors.

Brady at safety on hold

If the Ravens were planning to move cornerback Donny Brady to safety, then the experiment may not get under way until training camp in July.

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda had planned on moving Brady to safety during the team's current two-week minicamp, but after two days, Brady has spent most of his time backing up starter and third-year player DeRon Jenkins at right cornerback.

"He is in the position where he could play both, but he could end up being the fourth cornerback," said Marchibroda, whose team is still in search of a veteran cornerback off the free-agent market. "He is a Raven first and can help out where needed."

"I thought I was going to make the move, too," said Brady, a third-year veteran who started at right cornerback for five games last season and led the team in special teams tackles with 19.

Cavil with first team

Ben Cavil worked with the first-team offensive unit at left guard yesterday as opposed to Sale Isaia, who was with the unit Tuesday. Marchibroda said the two will alternate as starters in minicamp.

Left guard is open for competition, as well as right cornerback, where Jenkins has been starting the last two days, and running back, which features a Jay Graham vs. Errict Rhett battle.

"He is giving us equal opportunity to earn the spot," said Isaia, who missed the 1997 season because of knee surgery. "I'm very excited about the chance to compete. I'm just getting back into it. It's been awhile."

"Competition is good," Cavil said. "It's really not that important who is starting now, because we're just working on technique."

As for Jenkins, the pressure is on because owner Art Modell has said No. 1 draft picks must start. If Duane Starks, the team's top pick, currently behind Rod Woodson at left cornerback, develops quickly, the plan is for Woodson to replace Jenkins.

Reminded of Modell's words about the top pick, Marchibroda said: "Well, we can move Woodson if DeRon falters. It's not training camp yet."

Graham No. 1 for now

Graham is listed as the No. 1 running back on the depth chart, but that's not based on ability. He'll have to keep it in training camp, when the team is allowed to put on full equipment.

Graham, in his second year, gained 299 yards on 81 carries last fall, backing up Bam Morris and Earnest Byner. He started three games but missed the season's last month with an ankle injury.

The Ravens obtained Rhett, a fifth-year veteran, in February in a trade with Tampa Bay.

"Jay has a year of experience and is more confident in the offense at this point," said Marchibroda, explaining why Graham was No. 1.

Working hard during the off-season, Graham has increased his weight eight pounds to 223.

"I really don't look at who is No. 1 or No. 2," said Rhett, a relentless weight-room worker who seems to enjoy practice. "I don't care who goes first. There are no pads. We're just going through plays."

Around the camp

Ravens starting safety Stevon Moore had major surgery on both knees during the off-season, but Marchibroda has been delighted about what he has seen so far. A few plays into the team session, Moore burst into the backfield, grabbed the running back, and caused a fumble. "I announced to the team that he was back," said Marchibroda. "He worked hard in the off-season. He's a warrior." Second-year linebacker Peter Boulware has beefed up from 248 to 258 pounds. Team vice president Ozzie Newsome denied that the league, because of a possible grievance or lawsuit, forced the team to cut quarterback Vinny Testaverde on Tuesday after learning of the team's strained relationship with agent Mike Azzarelli that morning. Southern Mississippi running back Eric Booth and Elizabeth City (N.C.) State linebacker William Morris signed as free agents. Booth led the nation as a Southern Mississippi senior with a kickoff-return average of 34.8 yards.

Pub Date: 6/04/98

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