Ready-to-rumble veterans put crunch, pop into camp Graham, Rhett, intensity impress coach on Day 1

Ravens notebook

July 25, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda was pleased with the team's intensity on the first full day of camp yesterday, the first time it has been this high since the team moved here nearly 2 1/2 years ago.

The Ravens held their first full-team practice yesterday, and there were a number of good hits, like middle linebacker Ray Lewis knocking the helmet off fullback Kenyon Cotton on a running play. And then Cotton stuffing Lewis on the next play with a crunching block.

The first fight occurred when defensive end Rob Burnett ran down quarterback Jim Harbaugh after Harbaugh scrambled from the pocket and then knocked the ball from his right arm. That motivated right offensive tackle Orlando Brown to run about 20 yards before shoving Burnett.

The incident came to a close without any punches exchanged.

"It was an excellent opener. I couldn't have asked for any more," Marchibroda said. "This is a more serious team, and there was good hitting on both sides of the ball. This was a great start for us, and we'll see how it goes."

Marchibroda said he was impressed with the running of halfbacks Jay Graham and Errict Rhett and the blocking of fullback Roosevelt Potts. Rookie receiver Patrick Johnson, the second-round pick from Oregon, continues to be impressive and could challenge for a starting job before the season is complete.

Marchibroda also started Sale Isaia at left guard and said there are no plans to rotate Isaia with Ben Cavil as the team did in minicamp nearly six weeks ago. Physically, all the Ravens reported at their required weights. "That's the first time that happened," Marchibroda said.

DT Renfro joins camp

The Ravens signed free-agent defensive tackle Leonard Renfro yesterday, a third-year pro who was drafted in the first round (24th overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1993.

Renfro, 6 feet 3, 308 pounds, was waived by the Eagles in August of 1995 and was in Washington's training camp in 1996 and the Cowboys' in 1997.

Renfro might have a hard time making the roster because the team has three solid tackles in Tony Siragusa, Larry Webster and James Jones and three defensive ends, including Burnett, Michael McCrary and Keith Washington. The Ravens also have a couple of rookies who might make the squad. Marchibroda said he will keep nine defensive linemen.

Brady to get knee checked

Ravens reserve safety-cornerback Donny Brady is expected to have a magnetic resonance imaging done on his right knee this morning. Brady is believed to have hurt his knee on the last play of one-on-one drills.

"He'll rest it, see if it swells and then we'll take a look at it," Marchibroda said.

Another player Marchibroda will keep an eye on is starting strong safety Stevon Moore, who had major surgery on both knees during the off-season.

Moore was required to report to training camp with the rookies and other free agents early because he was one of the players injured at the end of last season. Marchibroda said he wasn't concerned.

"When we were back at the complex in Owings Mills, I watched Stevon run 100 yards sprints at full speed, and he had no problems," Marchibroda said. "For the first three days, he used his head out there and didn't go full tilt. I thought that was a good idea."

The Ravens are counting heavily on Moore because he is the only veteran safety with substantial experience as a starter.

Negotiation game

One player who has watched the negotiations between the club and starting center Wally Williams with great interest is Brown.

Williams, the team's franchise player, is not in camp because the club failed to deliver on a promise to sign him to a long-term contract before the season began.

Brown, a close friend of Williams, is one of the team's leading candidates to be designated the franchise player next year.

"If that situation happens to me, I'm going to sign the tender because the average salary is going to go up a million, maybe two," said Brown of the guaranteed $3.062 million Williams will make this year. "Then, after the season is over, my price is going to go up even higher."

Woodson on Lloyd

For a brief time, cornerback Rod Woodson thought he was going to be joined here by former teammate Greg Lloyd. A former All-Pro linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he signed this week with the Carolina Panthers for $500,000 in base salary and incentives that could pay him $1.5 million this season.

"For a while, I thought he might get here," Woodson said. "I'm glad he is still playing. The Steelers let him go for two reasons, one, they think they have some good, young backers, and two, for cap room. Unfortunately, the game has come down to that.

"If you look at him last year, he was basically playing on one leg, and if I remember correctly, he was leading the team in sacks until he got hurt," Woodson said. "But he is a good person and should succeed because he is with [Carolina coach] Dom

Capers and is very familiar with him."

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