No holiday in Europe for Monarch Richardson Strong finale soothes season of disappointment

Ravens notebook

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

Fresh off completing a three-month tour with the London Monarchs in the NFL Europe league, Ravens second-year quarterback Wally Richardson spent yesterday getting reacquainted with his teammates.

He also talked about his long, strange trip, beginning with a disappointing experience as a player.

After starting for London in its season opener, Richardson, allocated to the Monarchs last winter, was benched at halftime after playing poorly. He ended up appearing in only three of London's 10 games. At least he finished on a good note.

In Sunday's season-ending, 28-20 victory over Barcelona, Richardson completed 12 of 24 passes, including two touchdowns. The Monarchs finished with a 3-7 record.

"I definitely had my ups and downs over there," Richardson said. "I'm glad I got to play a lot in that last game, because it gave me something to talk about. I'm glad to be back."

Richardson's stay was memorable, beginning with accommodations that could generously be described as modest. He lived at the Crystal Palace National Sports Center south of London, in a tiny room he called "a little box."

"It was smaller than a dorm room. It got to the point where I'd be sitting in that box for 20 minutes, and I would just have to go to sleep," Richardson said. "I still had a good time. My fiancee came over to visit me, and I got to see some good sights like Buckingham Palace. But it got lonely."

Over his three games, Richardson completed 19 of 43 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice.

Linemen learn right moves

The Ravens received a minicamp visit yesterday from former NFL offensive tackle Tunch Ilkin, who enlightened the team's offensive and defensive linemen on some techniques they could apply in the trenches.

Combining martial arts principles with the knowledge he absorbed as an undersized lineman during his 14-year career, Ilkin demonstrated a series of specialized hand and foot movements -- slightly resembling a form of martial arts -- designed to help blockers and pass rushers alike.

Ilkin has made similar visits to Detroit, Carolina, Dallas and Indianapolis.

"The pits are all about quickness, hand play and technique. What I stress is power, footwork, hand speed and no wasted movement," Ilkin said.

Ilkin, who was drafted by Pittsburgh in 1980 and went on to play 13 years there before playing his final season in Green Bay, said sharp technique helped him overcome a lack of size and play in two Pro Bowls. He played at around 260 pounds.

"As a pass rusher, you want to be fluid and strong and in control of your body," defensive tackle James Jones said. "You can't afford to waste any motion. Tunch was showing us a better way of channeling energy, like by attacking your opponents' forearms [with a well-placed slap] to gain an edge. Any way you can get an edge is going to help you."

Summer vacations

Today marks the end of minicamp and the last organized practice until the Ravens go to training camp at Western Maryland College on July 21. Most players and coaches begin vacations tomorrow.

Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and defensive back Donny Brady will represent the Ravens as competitors in the Smokey Mountain Snuff Pro Football Super Classic XXI Team Arm Wrestling Championship in Las Vegas from June 17 to 22.

Defensive end Rob Burnett nearly won the event last year.

Each team brings one lineman and one running back or defensive back. Neither Brady nor Ogden has competed as an arm wrestler.

"I've been drinking my milk. Hopefully, it will pay off," said Brady, 6 feet 2, 200 pounds, whose physique shows the mark of two arduous off-seasons of weight training. "I'm looking forward to it, but J.O. [Ogden] is still the horse."

Ogden, 6-9, continues to mature physically. He weighs about 335 pounds and said his body fat is only 14 percent.

"I don't know anything about arm wrestling. I've watched 'Over The Top' [with Sylvester Stallone], and that's about it," Ogden said. "I'm going out there to have fun. Hey, it's a free trip, free hotel, free meals, a golf tournament. You can't beat that."

Ticket information

Individual game tickets for the Ravens' inaugural season at their new Camden Yards stadium will go on sale July 18 for preseason games and Aug. 15 for regular-season games. The team has set aside 6,000 tickets per game for single-game sales. On July 18 and Aug. 15, tickets will be available at the new stadium. The box office is on the west side of the stadium between gates A and D near Russell Street. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 410-481-SEAT.

Pub Date: 6/11/98

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