Team ready for preseason prime time

Ravens notebook

Aug. 18 game at Jets will be on national TV

Pro Football

March 29, 2001|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

The Super Bowl champion Ravens may not make the season-opening Monday night lineup, but they will hit prime-time TV in the preseason.

On Saturday, Aug. 18, the Ravens will visit the New York Jets in an 8 p.m. nationally televised game on CBS, one of 11 national TV preseason games announced by the NFL yesterday.

The rest of the Ravens' preseason schedule will be announced later, the club said.

Although the regular-season schedule has not been released, the Denver Broncos have been informed they will open the Monday night schedule against the New York Giants. Traditionally, the Super Bowl champion makes its debut on Monday night.

The Ravens' 34-7 victory over the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV last January was the most-watched TV program during the past 12 months with a 40.4 Nielsen rating.

The second most-watched show was the final episode of the 2000 "Survivor," which drew a 28.6, followed by the 2001 Academy Awards (26.2) last Sunday. The Ravens' 16-3 win over Oakland in the AFC championship game ranked fourth at 22.6.

Still hunting

Unrestricted free-agent running back Priest Holmes, who holds the Ravens' all-time rushing record, is still shopping for a job. His agent said yesterday that Holmes was focusing on three offers in hand but had not ruled out a return to Baltimore.

"We've received offers from three other teams," said agent Michael Todd. "We sent out counterproposals, and we're having dialog with respect to those three teams."

Todd declined to identify which teams have made offers, but Holmes has visited the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs reportedly have not yet made an offer, however.

If Holmes, 27, is unable to find a starting job, the Ravens would like to have him return as a backup to Jamal Lewis. Although Todd did not close the door on Baltimore, he intimated a return is unlikely.

"The teams that contacted us so far have given indication if Priest is not starting, he'd have substantial playing time ... a little more than playing behind Jamal Lewis," Todd said.

Still waiting

Punter Kyle Richardson, a restricted free agent, was still waiting for confirmation yesterday that the Ravens will match the one-year, $850,000 offer sheet he signed with the Carolina Panthers last week.

Ravens vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome, who said Monday the team would retain Richardson, was expected to return from league meetings in Palm Desert, Calif., today. He has until tomorrow to match Carolina's offer.

"I'm pretty much at peace," Richardson said from Boca Raton, Fla. "It's a process and there are things that go on for both sides. When I signed the offer, I knew I could very well go somewhere else. That's not what I wanted, but I had to act in my best interests."

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