Brookins is just fine with his status as a backup running back

Ravens notebook

`It doesn't frustrate me,' he says of not starting, even with Ja. Lewis out

Pro Football

September 07, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Jason Brookins is right where he wanted to be heading into this season.

The Ravens' first-year running back figured he would be the top backup - but behind Jamal Lewis, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during training camp, not veteran Terry Allen.

Either way, Brookins said he is fine with the situation.

"It doesn't frustrate me," said Brookins, of not starting Sunday's regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears. "I didn't come into this season looking to start anyway because Jamal was here. I'm just looking to do what I can to help the team, and that is the way I'm going to take it."

Brookins will likely get some carries against the Bears. Just how many is anybody's guess.

"I can't worry about that," Brookins said. "When they call my number, hopefully I'll be ready. It's not up to me to worry about how much I'm going to play. It's up to me to worry about how I'm going to do.

"I feel like I can contribute to this offense, just like Jamal did. Not to fill his shoes, but for myself. When he went down, somebody had to step. Why not me?"

Brookins doesn't understand why people outside the Ravens' organization have reservations on whether he can carry the running game.

He said he knows people look at him and see an undrafted free agent out of Division II Lane College who spent time on three practice squads before going to NFL Europe this summer. But Brookins points to what he has done in the preseason as a representation of what he can do.

"I'm surprised," Brookins said of his doubters. "Look at the [New York] Jet game. It was preseason, but I played with the ones [first string] and went out and showed that I can play. The Carolina game I didn't do too well, but that was on me. And then [the New York Giants] game, I came out and rushed for 100 yards, but it's watered down because I went against second and thirds."

Not a lot of pressure

Tight end Todd Heap does not have the same pressure on him as many other fellow first-round picks.

Heap is behind Shannon Sharpe on the depth chart while many other first-round picks are having to start immediately.

Still, Heap knows he will be counted on to contribute in the Ravens' two-tight end sets.

"The expectations are heightened now that this is a regular-season game," Heap said. "It's time to start playing ball. These games count now."

Wishing them well

Cornerback Alvin Porter and defensive end Dwayne Missouri have been fielding calls all week from well-wishers.

Porter, an undrafted rookie free agent, and Missouri, the seventh-round pick, were long shots to make the roster entering training camp.

"I had calls from everyone, high school friends and classmates congratulating me on making the team," Porter said. "They knew when I came in, the odds were against me. So that's a big accomplishment."

Porter started two preseason game for the Ravens, and Missouri played most of the second half in all three.

"A lot of people said because they knew me, they knew I was going to make it," Missouri said. "That was the best thing. People knew what kind of character I have."

T. Johnson: second chance

Rookie linebacker Tim Johnson learned he was returning to the Ravens when he was awoken by a phone call Wednesday. Johnson, who was cut by the team Saturday, is considered to be a temporary replacement for the recently released Cornell Brown.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster, but you take it in stride," Johnson said. "You just never know in this league. I'm just happy for another opportunity."

End zone

Cornerback Duane Starks (knee) did not practice yesterday. He likely will be a game-time decision Sunday. Cornerback Chris McAlister (ankle) practiced lightly. ... Besides working out seven linebackers, the Ravens also invited three running backs and two defensive backs. Two of the running backs were Jermaine Fazande, a former second-round pick by the San Diego Chargers, and Chad Dukes, a journeyman who was released by the Panthers.

Sun staff writer Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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