Filling in is snap for Hudson

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Journeyman comes to team's rescue after Wainright sidelined

January 20, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The one Raven people haven't heard much about this season is long snapper John Hudson. And that's just fine by him.

The 10-year veteran was signed Oct. 25 after Frank Wainright went on injured reserve with a bad back. Hudson, an 11th-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1990 who had played with the New York Jets last season, effectively stepped in after wondering whether he would be working again or not.

"It's unbelievable getting picked up the way I did," he said. "You pretty much know you're going to have to sit around for a fall, and I really hadn't made any move. I wasn't going crazy or anything, you know it's going to end, but yeah, we were eating supper as a matter of fact."

Hudson went right to work, helping Pro Bowl kicker Matt Stover connect on 51- and 49-yard field goals in his first game and playing steady throughout.

"Frank is one of the best snappers in the league, and I'm just thankful the organization committed to that position by bringing in a guy like John," said Stover. "He's been very, very consistent and you just can't say enough about him. He handles the pressure very well."

Punter Kyle Richardson is just as appreciative.

"John's done a tremendous job," said Richardson. "If you weren't a holder or a kicker, you probably wouldn't know he's on the team. We've always said, `You know if the head coach doesn't ever talk to you, that's probably a good thing.' "

And now Hudson goes from eating a quiet dinner at home in October to going to the Super Bowl in January.

Vickers stays ready

Stepping into a playoff pinch is nothing new to Ravens guard/tackle Kipp Vickers.

The six-year pro has now played in seven playoff games for three different teams.

When starting guard Edwin Mulitalo went down with a mild concussion early in Sunday's 16-3 win at Oakland, Vickers was more than ready to step in.

Last season with the Redskins, he had an almost identical situation when tackle Andy Heck went down in the first quarter in a wild-card game against Detroit. Vickers will be ready again, if needed, come Super Bowl Sunday.

"I think you have to take the mindset that you're going to play. Anything less than that would be selling yourself and your teammates short," he said. "You got 10 other guys out there counting on you, so you prepare as much as you can during the week. And when you go, you can't be hesitant - you just let it all hang out."

Vickers was more than ready last weekend, receiving a game ball for his effort.

"That was unexpected, but nice," he said. "I can't express to you how fortunate I am to be in this position. Three different teams, three playoffs and now this team in the Super Bowl. You got guys who make tons of money and go to the Pro Bowl, they would give anything to be in our position right now."

Herring improving

Safety Kim Herring continues to work his way around a sore ankle this week.

"I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "It's pretty sore going from not doing stuff to doing full go and every drill. More than anything, having that extra week to prepare, I can see what my limitations are and go from there. Hopefully, next week it's going to be even better."

No bed checks

Billick said there will be curfews at the appropriate time, but no bed checks next week in Tampa.

"We haven't had bed checks since I've been here," he added. "The first meeting I had with this group, we talked about passion for the game and accountability. If you can't be where you're supposed to be, particularly in an environment like this, we got problems bigger than you not being in at night."

`Mental preparation'

The rainy weather yesterday didn't affect preparations as the Ravens practiced on their artificial turf at the complex.

"The tempo of what we're doing was not real severe. Again, it's mental preparation this week, that's what this is about, and so this wasn't severe enough to force us inside," said Billick.

NFL sues 2 area firms

The NFL sued an area sporting goods retailer and screen printer in federal court, claiming they manufactured and sold unlicensed Ravens merchandise.

East Coast Sportswear and More of Towson, Baltimore and White Marsh sold hats and T-shirts with Ravens and Super Bowl XXXV trademarks and logos without proper authorization from the league, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. ASAP Screen Printing of Millersville is named in the lawsuit as the manufacturer of the products along with unnamed co-defendants who helped in the manufacturing and distribution process.

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