Hamstring pull sidelines Starks Team's No. 1 draft choice expects to be in lineup against Jets on Saturday

Ravens notebook

August 13, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht and Ryan Basen Sun staff writers Mike Preston and Eduardo Encina contributed to this article.

Rookie cornerback Duane Starks, the Ravens' top draft pick who missed two weeks of training camp in a contract holdout, missed his first day of practice yesterday with a pulled right hamstring.

Starks said he felt the hamstring tighten on Tuesday.

"Then I re-aggravated it near the end of practice," Starks said. "It will be all right. I just want to get in there."

Coach Ted Marchibroda said he expects Starks to play in Saturday's preseason game against the New York Jets.

"Duane complained about it [Tuesday], and we thought it would be best to keep him out today," Marchibroda said. "It's a pretty good example of what happens when you don't come in on time. Everybody is two weeks ahead of you, and you want to catch up but you just can't do it that fast."

Safety Bennie Thompson said he is convinced Starks is a gamer.

"He wants to play. He wants to play bad," Thompson said. "I heard him telling [special teams coach] Scotty O'Brien to put him in on the kickoff team Saturday night [against Chicago], because he's not used to not playing. He ain't in this for the money. Trust me."

Zeier back in action

One day after leaving practice with a pulled right hip muscle, backup quarterback Eric Zeier was back yesterday. He showed few effects of the injury and looked sharp in the two-minute drill, lofting a tight spiral to Patrick Johnson in the corner of the end zone on the final play.

"It was a little tight but it felt OK," Zeier said. "It's nothing bad, nothing that will slow me down. If it locks up again, though, that may be a different story."

Zeier is confident he will be ready for the Jets. Marchibroda echoed his sentiments.

"I'm planning on playing Saturday," Zeier said. "Everything is just like normal."

If Zeier isn't available, third-string quarterback Wally Richardson will see his first NFL action in the second half. With Zeier looking better, Marchibroda said he expects Richardson to sit for another week.

Wadsworth serious

Strong-side linebacker Peter Boulware said former Florida State

teammate Andre Wadsworth wasn't playing around when he declared he may get his master's degree and re-enter the draft next year.

Wadsworth, a defensive end, was the No. 3 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the April draft. He is still unsigned. Wadsworth was Boulware's roommate for two years in college and attended the Ravens' preseason opener Saturday.

Both Boulware and Wadsworth are represented by agent Eugene Parker, who held Boulware out of training camp last year until the final preseason game.

"I've talked with him and I've told him he has to do what he feels is right," said Boulware. "I told him that if he doesn't feel the money is right, whatever you go for, you go for it. Don't be double-minded about it."

"He is pretty serious about it," said Boulware about Wadsworth's pursuit of his master's degree. "I think he is only three classes away from a master's and if he can get it in only three or four months if unsigned, he'll do it."

Harris works out

Defensive back Corey Harris, who played in all 16 games and started seven with the Miami Dolphins last season, worked out yesterday morning. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound player finished with tackles, knocked down two passes and forced a fumble. He started the Dolphins' first six games at free safety.

Previously, the six-year veteran played for Houston, Green Bay and Seattle. He reportedly has worked out for several other teams.

Ozzie Newsome, vice president of player personnel, said Harris' appearance had nothing to do with the shoulder injury to starting strong safety Stevon Moore, who will miss the next three weeks after a practice collision with running back Errict Rhett.

Rally at Harborplace

The Ravens will have a short practice tomorrow morning before heading downtown for a 1998 kickoff rally at Harborplace.

Players and coaches will arrive at noon after performances by VTC members of the Marching Ravens and the team's cheerleaders. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Marchibroda and owner Art Modell will speak.

Following the rally, the team will board a train to New Jersey, where it will face the Jets at Giants Stadium on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Tickets for regular-season games will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. There are at least 6,000 tickets available for every game except the sold-out opener against Pittsburgh. That game was sold out through a postcard lottery.

Tickets can be purchased at the Camden Yards stadium near Gate D on Russell Street, or by calling 410-481-SEAT.

Still on the mend

Safety Rondell Jones is still rehabilitating the groin injury he suffered last year. Jones was the starting free safety for the first 12 games until the injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. Now Jones finds himself on the second team behind second-year player Kim Herring.

"Right now I'm just glad I made it through two-a-days," Jones said. "Things should get a little easier now. I'm still healing and around this time your whole body gets sore."

Eager on sideline

Running back and special teams member Tony Vinson still has (( his arm in a sling as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder he suffered last month in practice, but that hasn't kept him off the field.

Vinson has been to see his teammates practice during morning walk-throughs this week, and is continuing rehabilitation. He was hurt July 29 during contact drills when linebacker Ray Lewis caught him with a shoulder pad.

Vinson said he mentally needs to watch practice. As third fullback on the depth chart, the former star running back at Towson can't wait to get back in action.

"It's hard not being able to go out there and practice," Vinson said. "I want to be out there practicing with them and having fun with them. I have to be out here. Since I can't do the physical reps, I want to be able to watch and do the mental reps."

Pub Date: 8/13/98

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