Allen may as well wear bull's-eye


Bears' big rusher in '98 will be in defense's sights


September 06, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Chicago Bears running back James Allen knows they will be after him.

Ravens defenders will look to show Allen and the rest of the Chicago Bears on Sunday at PSINet Stadium that his success the last time the teams played was an aberration.

Allen rushed for 163 yards on Dec. 20, 1998, in what was his first NFL start.

Things have not been as explosive since for Allen, who has had only one other 100-yard game. The Ravens' defense, however, has not allowed 100-yard rushing game in 37 contests since.

The fortunes of the teams have also gone in different directions. Chicago is 11-21 the past two seasons, while the Ravens are 20-12 and defending Super Bowl champions.

"We just got off to a good start," Allen said of the Bears' 24-3 victory at Soldier Field. "I was able to make a couple of runs. I don't think they really knew who I was that day. But I was kind of pumped up about it because it was my first chance to play. I went out there and had a nice day, and I was really happy about it."

Does this mean the Ravens' defense will be out to get him Sunday?

"I think so," Allen said. "When they talk about the Ravens' defense, people can't help but mention the last person that had 100 yards against him, and they bring up my name.

"I feel like those guys really want to prove that they can come back and do it again this year. They're going to come ready to play with their intention to stop the running game."

`Hard Knocks' ends

Last night marked the final installment of, "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Baltimore Ravens."

Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, for one, will not miss it. Siragusa was a key figure in the documentary that followed the team's preseason preparations.

"It was like this every day, with cameras in my face and mikes in my face," Siragusa said. "But it was fun. The one thing out of `Hard Knocks' that we all learned was about the younger guys.

"I've been in the league 12 years. You start forgetting what it is to be a rookie, opening your book at night and worrying about, `Am I going to make this team?' It was a flashback to me. After a couple of episodes, I started feeling a little sorry for the guys."

Staying in position

Heading into camp, it was thought receiver would be the most highly contested position, but the preseason starters turned out to be the regular-season starters.

Qadry Ismail and Brandon Stokley fought off Travis Taylor and Patrick Johnson, though all four will probably get substantial playing time Sunday.

Ismail has been a starter before, but for Stokley, this will be the first time in his three-year career in which he is beginning the season with the first team.

"You're happy to be the starter, but I want to be there every week," Stokley said. "Not just the first-game start, then not be back on the field again. I want to be in the lineup every week."

Downtown rally

The Ravens will hold a rally to kick off the 2001 season from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Harborplace Amphitheatre downtown. Team president David Modell will unveil a "Defense Begins" banner, and a contest will be held that will recognize the four Ravens fans dressed in the most-spirited purple attire.

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