Slow return keeping Brady on defensive Razzed by teammates, CB finally back on field

Ravens notebook

August 23, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

He failed to make it through his first training camp practice, thanks to a bruised right knee he suffered during the workout. Since then, he has put up with a drawn out rehabilitation, not to mention the razzing of teammates who jokingly accuse him of avoiding work through a suspicious injury.

Ravens defensive back Donny Brady finally has scored a victory. He completed his second consecutive day of full practice yesterday. And even though coach Ted Marchibroda said Brady will not play against the Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow in the team's third preseason game, Brady at least feels more like a member of the team again.

"I'm just glad I'm able to get through a full practice again. I haven't gotten through a full one since last season," Brady said. "I'd love to get out there [against the Eagles], breathe the air for a few minutes, maybe hit somebody as hard as I can."

Brady, a third-year player out of Wisconsin, earned his keep on special teams in 1997, after losing his job at right cornerback five weeks into the season. He wound up leading the team with 19 special teams tackles.

He sounds like a guy dying to get a taste of some contact, partly to get his teammates off his back.

"I want to come back so bad. Everybody has been getting on me for missing camp," said Brady, smiling. "It's hard to laugh when you're not feeling the soreness everybody else is feeling."

Siragusa ailing

Defensive tackle Tony Siragusa missed yesterday's practice with neck and back spasms. Marchibroda said he expects Siragusa to play tomorrow night, although Siragusa didn't sound as confident.

"There's a chance," said Siragusa, who looked uncomfortable standing in front of his locker after getting extensive treatment yesterday.

With backup tackle Larry Webster already ruled out with a hamstring injury, the Eagles game is shaping up as a big night for free-agent rookies Lional Dalton and Larry Fitzpatrick, two of training camp's most pleasant surprises.

One of them has a good chance to make the team's 53-man roster. The other figures to be waived, with the intention of re-signing him to the team's developmental squad.

Both figure to get extensive playing time tomorrow night.

Fullback Roosevelt Potts also missed practice because of a personal problem, but Marchibroda said Potts will start against Philadelphia.

Marchibroda also said that wide receiver Jermaine Lewis (ankle) will sit out. Rookie Patrick Johnson, who did not catch a pass against the Jets last week after catching a 19-yard touchdown pass in the preseason opener, will start in his place.

Cotton, Holmes draw praise

Marchibroda likes to point out how critical the first off-season is for a player, saying it can lead to dramatic improvement in the second year. Two of the players Marchibroda points to as most improved are fullback Kenyon Cotton and tailback Priest Holmes.

"Neither one of them is in awe anymore. They've done the work that needed to be done, and it shows," Marchibroda said. "They're not thinking out there anymore, they're just reacting, playing the game."

Holmes, who made the team as a free agent out of Texas, has been impressive running the ball. He has averaged 4.4 yards on 14 carries. Cotton, who caught on as a free agent out of Southwest Louisiana, has made strides as a runner (nine carries, 36 yards) and a blocker.

Like old times for Newsome

Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, returned yesterday from a two-day trip to Cleveland, where he joined about 40 former Cleveland Browns, including Hall of Famer Jim Brown, for a reunion.

The group gathered to reminisce and to celebrate the return of pro football to Cleveland next year.

Pub Date: 8/23/98

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