Brookins expected to get 1st NFL start


Allen listed questionable with sprained ankle

Sharpe is downgraded

October 26, 2001|By Paul McMullen and Jamison Hensley | Paul McMullen and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

After he was released by the Ravens and Oakland Raiders last year, Jason Brookins hooked up with the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad.

Brookins could get his first NFL start against those same Jaguars on Sunday at PSINet Stadium.

The NFL landscape keeps shifting for Brookins, the 25-year-old running back who was just trying to win a permanent spot on the Ravens' roster when training camp began. A season-ending knee injury to Jamal Lewis put Brookins in the game plan, and a less serious malady affecting Terry Allen had coach Brian Billick and the 6-foot-2, 225-pound player talking yesterday as if he would be Sunday's starter.

Allen is listed as questionable on the injury report because of the sprained ankle that knocked him out of Sunday's loss to the Browns. A second-half terror in impressive wins over Denver and Tennessee, Brookins went down as meekly as the rest of the Ravens in Cleveland, where his five carries after halftime netted 6 yards.

"This is a different role for him," Billick said. "He's going to have to hold up the whole game. That's something you think more about. He'll be a little hyped up. I'll have to calm him down a little bit, but stamina is something you're more concerned about."

After seeing little first-half action in the first four games, Brookins averaged 5.7 yards a carry in the second halves against the Broncos and Titans. After Allen went down early in Cleveland, Brookins entered and had eight rushes for 40 yards by halftime, and he scoffed at the suggestion that fatigue played a part in his late dropoff.

"It wasn't so much that I was tired, Cleveland's defense just buckled down in the second half," said Brookins, who was taken off the injury report because his shoulder injury responded to treatment. "We had to start passing the ball, and if I could have gotten the ball more, maybe we would have had more rushing yards."

Injury report

Shannon Sharpe was added to the questionable column on the injury report, as an ailing knee is limiting his availability.

"There's more soreness there than we thought," Billick said. "We'll see how it progresses today and tomorrow."

Besides Allen and quarterback Elvis Grbac (bruised ribs), the Ravens' questionables include Todd Heap, Sharpe's backup. Left guard Edwin Mulitalo (knee) was upgraded from questionable to probable.

Kickoff tryouts

With Matt Stover nursing a strained quadriceps muscle in his kicking leg, the Ravens staged tryouts primarily for kickoffs, inviting Steve Lindsey, Danny Kight and Jaret Holmes to their Owings Mills practice complex. Lindsey and Kight were the most impressive, driving kickoffs into the end zone against a stiff wind.

Despite the leg injury sidelining him for the past two days, Stover said he should be able to kick field goals.

Ravens senior vice president of football operations Ozzie Newsome said one of these free agents could be added before today's practice, but the team may not need to sign anyone if Stover can effectively kick today.

Trapp fined by NFL

Defensive back James Trapp was fined $12,500 by the NFL for his crushing hit on Browns punt returner Dennis Northcutt. Trapp appealed the decision.

The helmet-to-helmet blow rendered Northcutt unconscious, but did not draw a penalty flag. Trapp had a clear shot at Northcutt since he did not indicate a fair catch.

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