Green punctures lung, unraveling starts Second-possession injury sends player to hospital, ends two-tight-end plan

Ravens Notebook

October 12, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Vito Stellino contributed to this article.

An early bad sign in yesterday's ugly, 12-8 loss to Tennessee came on tight end Eric Green's first reception of the day, during the Ravens' second possession.

The play went for 9 yards and was good for the Ravens' initial first down of the afternoon, but Green also suffered a punctured lung when he was tackled by cornerback Darryll Lewis. Team spokesman Kevin Byrne said Green suffered the injury by falling on the football.

Green headed for the sideline, rejoined the action after missing one play, caught another pass for a 17-yard gain, then left again.

With three minutes left in the second quarter, he left the game for good and headed for the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he spent last night. Green's condition was not serious, the team said.

Veteran Brian Kinchen came in and performed well in his first offensive effort of the year, catching four passes for 55 yards.

"We had planned to go with two tight ends a lot. We thought Eric was going to be a big part of the game plan, and he was early," Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said.

"Once he got hurt, there was nothing we could do. Kinchen didn't do a bad job, but we weren't going to go with two tight ends after that, because we didn't have two tight ends."

The Ravens chose to deactivate reserve tight end A. J. Ofodile before the game.

Green is questionable for next week's Pittsburgh game.

Snapshots of a loss

Veteran long snapper Harper Le Bel wondered about his job status after a disastrous outing against Pittsburgh in the season opener. Le Bel had three effective games after that. Then came another disaster yesterday.

Four times against Tennessee, Le Bel's snaps came up short, landing about 2 yards in front of punter Kyle Richardson. To his credit, Richardson -- who also had a punt blocked following a high snap by Le Bel -- handled the errant snaps deftly. He punted eight times for a 43.1-yard average.

To Le Bel's credit, he faced reporters without hesitation.

"If I can take anything positive out of this, at least I was consistently hitting the same spot. That's not anything I feel good about," Le Bel said. "I just didn't follow through with the ball today. Kyle did a great job taking care of a lot of that for us."

Marchibroda hinted strongly that Le Bel may have sealed his fate with the Ravens. When asked if he would make a roster change by adding and subtracting a long snapper this week, Marchibroda said: "I think we probably have to give that some consideration."

Said Le Bel: "That's up to them. I would certainly hope and pray that my job is of some value, even though I didn't play well today."

Receiving bad news

The Ravens went into the game limited at wide receiver. Michael Jackson's injured groin muscle did not respond sufficiently before kickoff, and James Roe's thigh problem kept him out of yet another game. That left the Ravens with only four receivers.

Jackson was hurt in Friday's practice while diving for a pass. He knew his day would be uneventful during pre-game warmups. He said he even tried getting his leg re-taped to alleviate the pain.

"I went out [in warmups] and tried to make a move like I was up against press coverage, and the pain was a little bit too bad for me to bear," Jackson said. "I could have taken something to ease the pain, but it would have been like playing with 10 men. I decided not to hurt the team that way."

Ryan Yarborough, Jackson's replacement, caught two passes for 15 yards.

Alertness pays

Bennie Thompson is known primarily for his hard hitting on special teams. Yesterday, Thompson played a different kind of daredevil on special teams, when he scooped up an apparent punt for a touchback in the Ravens' end zone and ran down the sideline for a 38-yard gain.

On the play, several Oilers watched the punt by Craig Hentrich bounce into the end zone without pursuing the ball. Thompson, who had rushed Hentrich, never stopped running, until he was tackled in a state of near-exhaustion in front of the Ravens' bench.

"I saw all of those guys walk away from the ball, so the best thing for me to do was pick up and get as many yards as I could," Thompson said.

"I knew I was out of gas when I picked it up. But I really set up those blocks well. I think I let other teams know they can't just key on Jermaine [Lewis on punt returns]. I'm a better return man. He just has a lot more speed than I do."

Losing hurts Boulware

Linebacker Peter Boulware, who was used to winning at Florida State, is having trouble adjusting to losing: He's 8-12-1 in his first 21 games as a Raven.

He seemed to be near tears yesterday as he talked about the frustration of losing.

"We should have won that game. I feel so frustrated saying the same thing every game. We just make big mistakes. You can't win in this league by making mistakes like we made them.

"I hate losing. It hurts. I hope it hurts real bad this week so we'll go out there and get it done."

Line domination

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