QB Banks `having fun' in Super run

`Picture-perfect backup' says he's ready to play

January 21, 2001|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Ravens quarterback Tony Banks always envisioned going to the Super Bowl. He just didn't envision going as a backup.

That, of course, will be his role when the Ravens meet the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV next Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

Banks was the starter when the season began, but in the midst of the team's five-game touchdown drought, he was benched for Trent Dilfer. Under Dilfer, the Ravens have gone 10-1.

"You can't help but think about what might have been," Banks said. "I've been thinking about that for 11 weeks now. But you've also got to have fun with it. I didn't picture my first Super Bowl not being at the helm, but here I am - having fun."

Banks, 27, is completing the first year of a four-year, $18.6 million contract he signed last February. With Dilfer's success - and Dilfer's one-year contract status - Banks' future is up in the air.

"The uncertainty is killing me," he said. "[But] the attention can't be on me. I try to be a picture-perfect backup. We've got a good group of quarterbacks. We all get along real well with each other."

Banks, a five-year veteran, went 5-3 in his eight starts, five on the road. He is 11-7 as a starter in his two seasons with the Ravens, having thrown 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

He has relieved Dilfer in three games since being demoted. The right-handed quarterback suffered a left-shoulder separation in the regular-season finale against the New York Jets but says he'll be able to play if needed.

Banks says the disappointment of his demotion has eased, explaining: "The thing that's been a light at the end of the tunnel ... is that we're going to the Super Bowl. I want to have as much fun with that as I can."

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