Herring improved, but still unlikely to go against Raiders


Safety remains slowed by bruise to ankle

C. Brown appears ready

Ravens vs. Raiders

January 13, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

The status of injured strong safety Kim Herring (ankle) and reserve linebacker Cornell Brown (hamstring) will be game-day decisions, but coach Brian Billick and Herrring did not sound encouraging about his chances to play against the Raiders in tomorrow's AFC championship game.

"Cornell is looking fairly strong," Billick said. "Kim still has a little tender ankle. We'll see how they feel."

Herring suffered an ankle bruise in the Dec. 31 wild-card win over Denver, and did not suit up for the divisional playoff win at Tennessee last Sunday. Corey Harris played well in his place, and Herring said he isn't going to rush his rehabilitation.

"I don't want to do things where Marvin has to worry, that he can't call a certain defense because of me," Herring said of defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. "I don't want to be the reason we lose. I don't want to be someone else's `SportsCenter' highlight. The stakes are a little too high to put on the tough-guy bravado. They [the Raiders] see you limping, and you know what they're going to do. I don't want to put my team through that."

Billick said that fullback Sam Gash (back) will play, but that reserve Chuck Evans got additional practice time this week.

Tight end Shannon Sharpe missed yesterday's practice, as he left town to attend the funeral of a relative. He will join the Ravens in Oakland today.

Ravens backers

Baltimore-Washington International Airport does not want a repeat of last Sunday's thousands-strong greeting, and team buses will meet the Ravens' charter flight on the tarmac at approximately 2:30 a.m. Monday. While BWI officials have asked fans not to come to the airport, the Ravens' brass also is discouraging them from greeting the team at their Owings Mills complex, where parking is limited.

"That [BWI] is an area where security is an issue," Billick said. "This town will be able to respond. Hopefully, we'll bring back a winner, and there will be a couple more weeks for it [an organized rally] to manifest itself as well."

Mayor Martin O'Malley was among the guests at yesterday's brief workout. The Ravens sign up to kick field goals for charity, and the mayor was recruited to do the same, "wing tips and all." Billick gave him credit for a short attempt that hit an upright on the narrow practice posts, with the Police Athletic League being the beneficiary of $500. As O'Malley addressed the team after practice, Billick got a laugh.

"The mayor said, `The less I say, the more you score,' " Billick said. "So I said, `Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor.' "

The coach then walked away.

Better than Ed McMahon

The franchise's more than 22,000 PSL accounts were entered in a computer lottery, and approximately 4,000 were drawn for the right to purchase two tickets each to the Super Bowl in Tampa, should the Ravens beat the Raiders. Kevin Byrne, the Ravens' vice president for public relations, said that the system was similar to the NBA's draft lottery. PSL holders of club seats, and accounts with a larger number of seats, were given greater weight.

"Some accounts weighed more, but each winner drawn only got two tickets," Byrne said.

The tickets are priced at $325 each.

The capacity of Tampa's Raymond James Stadium is 66,000. Each participating team is allotted 9,000 tickets this season, although it would have been several thousand more if the Super Bowl were headed to a larger venue, like the Rose Bowl.

Gannon's cause

Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon is the national spokesman for a Baltimore-based cause.

Gannon is dedicating tomorrow's game to his 3-year-old daughter, Danielle, and the 1 million other Americans stricken with celiac disease, a genetic disorder that prohibits sufferers from eating foods that contain the protein gluten, which is common in grains. Gannon was in Baltimore last summer, when he launched a nationwide public awareness campaign at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.

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