Tampa return simply `business' for Dilfer

Ravens notebook

QB keeps his emotions in check

Siragusa fills notepads

PSINet closed

Modell basks in Super sun

January 24, 2001|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

TAMPA, Fla. - The memories came flooding back for Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer yesterday. The tears did not.

"You know, there's no way I'm crying today in the press conference," Dilfer said upon an emotional return to Raymond James Stadium, one year after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers terminated his contract.

"I've done a pretty good job of keeping everything arm's distance, I think. I prepared last week that this week could be overwhelming if I let it. Really, I have a lot of great memories here. ... But this is a business trip and I've stayed very focused on that. I haven't let myself get caught up in all the other stuff. I think if I continue doing that it will help my performance on Sunday."

Dilfer enjoyed a Pro Bowl, playoff season with the Bucs in 1997. By 1999, he had been replaced by rookie Shaun King in the team's playoff run. When the Bucs failed to pay a $4.5 million bonus to extend his contract, Dilfer joined the Ravens in the off-season.

He has downplayed his triumphant return - and attendant hoopla - to Tampa.

"I've tried to stay away from that," he said. "I can't lie and say I don't read the stuff anymore. I've read some of it and I think some of it's flattering, some of it's comical. I just don't want to get too caught up in all that stuff. I don't want this game to be about me, obviously.

"This team has a lot of great stories, and ones that I would love to talk about. Mine is probably the one I'm most uncomfortable talking about."

Goose is in his glory

With his crown - uh, visor - turned upside down on top of his head, King Goose held court on media day.

Defensive tackle Tony Siragusa roamed wild, touching on topics ranging from the defense's might this season to his weight.

When asked to pinpoint the key to the Ravens' dominance on the defensive side of the ball, Siragusa responded, "I don't think we have any selfish guys. We go out and play for each other. Everyone makes sacrifices."

Siragusa also took time to reflect on reaching the Super Bowl after going undrafted 11 seasons ago.

"I've been on both ends of the spectrum - going from a zero to a hero," he said. "We better win this game, because I like being the hero."

To the delight of a ravenous horde of reporters, Siragusa played the role of jester more than sage. Some of his best comments included:

On which Ravens teammate is the biggest baby: "Michael Mc- Crary because his mother still picks out his clothes when he goes out at night."

On wearing the home-team whites for the Super Bowl: "I wish we weren't wearing white. I wish we were wearing purple. This shirt is doing nothing for my abs."

On the XFL: "I haven't seen it. But I do think they got some hot-looking cheerleaders."

On any worries about sacking New York Giants quarterback Kerry Collins and getting hit with a fine later: "If my mother's in front of me, she's getting killed, too."

On his playing weight, which is listed at 340 pounds: "I used to be skinny - when I was 8 months old. Then I put it on."

Dazzling footwork, too

Siragusa is not just a good Super Bowl talker; it turns out he's also an improvisational dancer.

Siragusa had the Ravens rolling in laughter at last Friday's practice in Baltimore when he broke out into two dance numbers.

"One was called the lawn mower, and one was called the water sprinkler," said defensive lineman Keith Washington. "I think he just got that off the top of his head. Everybody just fell out, everybody was on the turf."

PSINet won't be open

The Ravens will not open PSINet Stadium - where 9,500 fans flocked to watch the AFC championship game - for the Super Bowl because of staffing and security concerns, team officials said.

Dennis Mannion, the team's vice president for marketing and business development, said the entire Ravens staff, including concessions managers and security directors, was with the team in Tampa.

"We didn't feel we could execute a first-class operation at the stadium, and we didn't feel comfortable leaving it in the hands of people who had not managed the stadium throughout the season," Mannion said.

Adapting to his role

Four years ago, tight end Ben Coates was an integral part of the New England Patriots' Super Bowl team. This year, he's a role player whose biggest contribution for the Ravens has been as a blocker.

"The difference is last time, I was down on the podium, not in the stands," Coates said of yesterday's media gathering as he sprawled out in the stadium seats with no media crowd around.

Because the Patriots lost Super Bowl XXXI to Green Bay, 35-21, Coates is in search of his first Super Bowl ring. That's what helped him accept his reduced role this season.

"The ring would make the difference," he said. "That's the ultimate goal, the ring."

Brigance bridges title gap

The Vince Lombardi Trophy sure would look nice next to the Grey Cup replica special teams specialist O. J. Brigance owns.

If the Ravens win Sunday, Brigance will have captured championships in the NFL and the Canadian Football League.

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