Boulware's status likely questionable

Ravens notebook

Linebacker's practice time to be limited because of latest shoulder separation

November 23, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht and Mike Preston | Gary Lambrecht and Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

If outside linebacker Peter Boulware plays against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, he will not do it with a full week of practice behind him.

Boulware, who left Sunday's 34-31 victory in Cincinnati in the first quarter after suffering another separation of his right shoulder, had his shoulder X-rayed yesterday. The tests showed no bone damage, according to head trainer Bill Tessendorf, who said Boulware would be listed as questionable for the rematch against the visiting Jaguars.

"There's some soreness and tenderness in there. Once he has equal strength [in each shoulder] and full range of motion back, he'll be ready to go," Tessendorf said of Boulware. "We're going to be real careful about it. We're definitely going to limit what he does in practice this week."

Should Boulware not play Sunday, it would mark the first game he has missed in his three-year career. He has started 42 consecutive games since signing a six-year contract as the team's top draft pick in 1997.

Cornell Brown would replace Boulware, who ranks fifth in the NFL with eight sacks.

The Ravens also are not sure about the availability of tight end A. J. Ofodile, who suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which was revealed yesterday in a magnetic resonance imaging test.

"The good news is he didn't have a lot of swelling," Tessendorf said of Ofodile.

Picking up the flag

Ravens coach Brian Billick is amazed at the way officials reversed a crucial clipping penalty against Cincinnati on Sunday.

During an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown by Craig Yeast with 9: 09 left in the game, a play that cut the Ravens' lead to 31-28, replays clearly showed that Ravens punter Kyle Richardson was blocked in the back by the Bengals' Tremain Mack.

After a flag was tossed near the foul, appearing to nullify the score, a conference near midfield ensued. The call was nullified, giving the Bengals a touchdown.

"The thing that disturbs me is the creed of officials is simple: If you're not sure, don't call it. Let it happen on the field," Billick said. "The official that called it was very definitive about it. The official that overruled it had his back to the [foul] while he was running down the field. Evidently, he thought he saw something.

"When you look at the tape, I don't know how the league will not recognize that it was a clip, that it was called and that it should have been upheld."

Billick, who has inquired about the validity of the call, figures he will hear back from the league by tomorrow. He also figures the league will admit the error.

Trapp's costly penalty

James Trapp has been a valuable member of the Ravens' special teams and a steady contributor in the dime package on defense.

So what was Trapp thinking when he committed a personal foul that got him ejected and pushed the Bengals to the Ravens' 12, as Cincinnati was driving for the game-tying field goal in the closing minutes of Sunday's game?

"No comment," Trapp said.

Billick said Trapp "has been great for this team," but hinted that he would be fined by the league as well as his coach.

"The frustration got to him, and what a costly mistake. He knows that. That will cost him, in a lot of ways."

J. Lewis still slumping

Jermaine Lewis had no excuses for his miscues on punt returns in the first quarter Sunday. Lewis muffed one punt, which the Bengals recovered, but the play was nullified by a penalty. Lewis then misjudged the next punt, allowing it to land behind him, where the Bengals downed it at the Ravens' 7.

"I'm going to make it through this. I'll be all right," said Lewis, referring to his season-long slump and failure to score a touchdown. Lewis even took over kickoff return duty last week.

"Jermaine wants to get his hands on the ball more, which is a good sign," Billick said. "We're going to accommodate that, because he is a dynamic player. He's in a tough spot, like anybody that gets in a slump. You've just got to fight through it."

For Wainright, it's a snap

Frank Wainright is one of several tight ends on the Ravens' roster. He probably won't catch a pass this season, but he continues to have a major impact.

Wainright is one of the best players on the team at his craft. He is the long snapper and hasn't botched one this season, including the snap for Matt Stover's game-winning, 50-yard field goal Sunday.

"I haven't had anything that has caused any problems, but there have been some I'm not happy with," Wainright said. "But knock on wood, I haven't had any way off target. I've been fairly decent."

Wainright doesn't get much attention except when he blows a snap. He didn't even get much ridicule from the Bengals during two timeouts before Stover kicked the field goal. Much of the abuse was directed at Stover.

"They kind of left us alone," Wainright said. "All we were talking about was staying low. We were confident in the snap, the hold by Kyle Richardson and we felt Matt was going to hit it."

Et cetera

The Ravens reached a milestone Sunday, winning their 20th game since moving to Baltimore. Earnest Byner, the team's director of player development, was saddened by the news that former teammate Leroy Hoard, a running back with the Minnesota Vikings, had been arrested in Miami Beach over the weekend and charged with disorderly conduct and possession of a controlled substance. "I was really stunned by it. It just doesn't sound like Leroy," Byner said.

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