After flying high in Europe, Douglas aims to be Raven

Tackle vows size, college background won't defeat him

July 12, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Marques Douglas is undersized for his position, unsung in his job and undeterred in his bid to make the Ravens' roster.

For his first year in Baltimore, much of it spent on the practice squad, he didn't even seem to mind when folks butchered his first name.

"All the time," he said of the faux pas. "It was one of those things where sometimes you correct people, sometimes you don't."

For future reference, it's MAR-qwez, not mar-QWEZ, or mar-KEZ.

Douglas earned at least that much during a 12-week run in NFL Europe, where he logged nine sacks for the champion Rhein Fire and effectively made a new name for himself.

Selected to the all-league team at defensive tackle, Douglas, 6 feet 2, 275 pounds, got the most out of his European experience, even if he didn't like the food.

"Going over there, I had a couple goals," Douglas said this week. "I wanted to be the No. 1 sacker at my position, and that happened. I wanted to make the all-league team. And I wanted to come out of that league with some respect."

Respect, on the pro level at least, was hard to come by for a player who went undrafted in 1999 after becoming the all-time sack leader at Howard University with 39 1/2 .

"Jumping to the NFL from a Division I-AA school, people automatically look down on you," Douglas said. "People automatically are not going to give you the same chance they give other guys who come from large schools.

"I felt like if I could prove myself [in Europe], I would have a greater chance."

Allocated by the Ravens, Douglas proved he could rush the passer and play the run from an inside lane. In 10 regular-season games, he had 21 tackles and forced two fumbles. Although the Ravens are expected to slide him outside to end when training camp opens in two weeks, he says his preferred position is tackle.

He finds inspiration in a pair of 6-1, 280-pound tackles - La'Roi Glover of the New Orleans Saints and D'Marco Farr of the St. Louis Rams.

"There are guys out there who've done it [at that weight]," he said.

Douglas did it the hard way with Rhein. He had a German national coach (Walter Rohlfing) at his position who favored techniques not to Douglas' advantage.

"Some techniques they were using were not the techniques I would use here," Douglas said. "So when I wasn't doing those things and still making plays, they were having a problem with that. Especially in training camp. The first time in training camp, I felt like they were trying to take away my greatest strength, my quickness off the ball, by making me hit and read."

Douglas loved game day, but hated the food: "I guess European people do not like real hot food. There were times you'd eat a meal and it's just warm; maybe not even warm."

He came out of Europe injury-free and mentally strong, he said, and anticipates no problem with the short turnaround to the Ravens' camp.

"I'm just ready to show guys here I can do it," said Douglas, 23. "There's no doubt NFL Europe is different than this league. On this team, you have proven winners. That's the area I'm trying to get to, being a proven winner."

Douglas, among the Ravens' final cuts last summer, was added to the 53-man roster for the final two games of 1999, but was inactive for both of those contests. Fresh from his European adventure, he'll try once again to make a name for himself when he reports to Western Maryland.

"I realize I still have a long ways to go. I still have a lot to prove," he said. "Training camp and preseason games are my times to prove it. I think if I'm given the chance, I can do the same things here I did over there."

NOTES: Steve Weinberg, the agent for first-round pick Travis Taylor, said yesterday that he still hadn't heard from the Ravens. Weinberg also said that his July 4 proposal was the second offer he had made to the Ravens on Taylor's behalf. ...

Single-game tickets for Ravens' home games go on sale Saturday at 11 a.m. at PSINet Stadium, at Ticketmaster outlets, by Ticketmaster phone charge (410-481-SEAT) and through the Internet at Ravenszone.net. Because of first-opportunity sales to season-ticket holders and Ravenszone.net subscribers, two home games are sold out (Pittsburgh on Oct. 29, Dallas on Nov. 1), and three have limited availability (Jacksonville on Sept. 10, Tennessee on Oct. 22 and Cleveland on Nov. 26). ... The Ravens have increased their season-ticket base to more than 59,000, adding some 2,000 more season-ticket holders since the end of last season. Season tickets are still available (410-261-RAVE). The Ravens kept ticket prices the same for season-ticket holders, but increased all other seats by $5 per ticket. For Saturday's sale at the stadium, fans are permitted to park in Lot B.

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