Ravens beginning to catch their breath


Billick says his team is getting its legs back

Ravens Vs. Raiders

January 12, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

The Ravens traveled 20 miles from their Owings Mills complex to practice at PSINet Stadium yesterday. They typically leave Saturday for Sunday road games, but they will depart Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 2 p.m. today for Sunday's AFC championship game against the Raiders at Oakland. Those logistical concerns shouldn't matter, because coach Brian Billick shaved a total of 45 minutes from Ravens' practices this week.

"We were much more energetic today," Billick said. "It looks like we're getting our legs back just a little bit. We needed to. [Today] will be much more subdued, and a little more like [Wednesday]."

Strong safety Kim Herring (ankle), linebacker Cornell Brown (hamstring) and fullback Sam Gash (back) were all listed as questionable yesterday.

"Kim Herring and Cornell Brown moved around," Billick said. "Cornell looked pretty good, and we'll have to wait and see how he feels [today]. Of the two, he actually looks the most optimistic. Kim did some things, but we'll have to wait and see how he feels after pushing it around today."

Billick added that Gash moved well in practice. Gash was also listed as questionable, but the fullback declined to discuss his presence on the injury report. Guard Edwin Mulitalo is suffering from a stomach problem, and was excused from yesterday's practice.

No SI jinx here

You can no longer play the respect card when you land on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The Ravens have been asking to be noticed, and their profile was enhanced when safety Corey Harris showed up on this week's cover.

"I told my wife," Harris said, "that we're going to buy as many as it takes to cover up an entire room."

There is a long record of teams and individuals appearing there and promptly losing, but the Ravens wanted to hear nothing of the SI jinx.

"I never heard about that," Rob Burnett said. "What is it, if you end up on the cover before a championship game you end up losing? I am not superstitious, so hopefully we can break that."

Billick on Palmer

Before he became coach of the Ravens, Billick was involved in negotiations with the Browns. Cleveland eventually hired Chris Palmer, and yesterday he was fired by Browns president Carmen Policy after two unsuccessful seasons. "I respect Carmen," Billick said. "I respect Chris. It's a crummy day any time an NFL coach gets fired. I'm sure Chris' phone will be ringing off the hook."

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