Sharpe is taking aim at Newsome's mark

Ravens notebook

6 catches would make him all-time leader at tight end

Newsome to get game ball

November 02, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Ozzie Newsome will start making his way down to the field after catch No. 4.

Once on the sideline, Newsome will be in prime position to get the ball from tight end Shannon Sharpe if Sharpe pulls down his sixth catch in Sunday's game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.

No. 6 would break Newsome's all-time receptions record, and the Hall of Fame tight end plans to receive the game ball from Sharpe.

"After he gets No. 4, I'm going to head out of the box," Newsome said. "Because he said he is going to sit down on the field until I get there. And I don't want the game to be held up too long.

"I'm going to tell him he's got to pay me $1 million to get the ball back."

Sharpe is five catches short of Newsome's 662 receptions, the all-time record for tight ends. Sharpe is averaging five catches a game.

"It will be something where if it happens Sunday, I'll be very pleased," Sharpe said. "But if it doesn't, I'll live to see another day and maybe get it Monday night [Nov. 12 against the Tennessee Titans]. It is not the most important thing I'm thinking about. The most important thing is the Steelers and winning this ballgame."

Sharpe broke Newsome's yardage mark earlier this season against the Titans.

"It is the culmination of a lot of things," Sharpe said. "Obviously I've played with some great people, some great coaches, some great quarterbacks. I'm the one getting the credit, but I'm probably the smallest piece of the puzzle. I think my teammates will probably be more happy than me."

Grbac update

Quarterback Elvis Grbac threw for the second straight day yesterday, though his status for Sunday's game remains questionable at best.

The Ravens are preparing both Grbac and backup Randall Cunningham, who started last Sunday against Jacksonville. Cunningham again took the majority of snaps in practice, and the team appears to be leaning toward starting him. Grbac, though, did take more snaps yesterday than he took Wednesday.

"He is less sore than he was [Wednesday]," coach Brian Billick said of Grbac. "So we just keep moving forward."

Meanwhile, running back Terry Allen was limited in practice. He ran extra sprints afterward, but it is looking more likely that Jason Brookins will get his second straight start because Allen is having trouble cutting on his bad ankle.

A rivalry renewed

Steelers running back Jerome Bettis draws most of the offensive attention, but Bettis and the Steelers owe much of their No. 1 rushing ranking to tight end Mark Bruener.

Bruener and Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware will renew their heated rivalry Sunday.

"He is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league," Boulware said. "I've gone against him for four years now.

"He's a real nice guy, but when he gets on the field, he's a competitor. He is going to give it all he has. He doesn't like to lose, and I don't like to lose. It is going to be one of those things where it's a battle."

A battle in which extracurricular activity often comes into play. Boulware said he will try to keep his focus on the game, not getting into altercations with Bruener.

"It's not so much losing your cool, but losing your focus," Boulware said. "You get so wrapped up in what he's doing and how he's blocking. You can easily get drawn into that and lose focus of the whole scheme as to what is happening out there. That's something you have to be careful of."

Starks vs. Burress

Cornerback Duane Starks will give about a half a foot in height to Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress when the two are matched up.

Burress, at 6 feet 5, is coming off his best game as a pro when he caught six passes for 151 yards in the Steelers' 34-7 win over Tennessee on Monday night.

"I just have to play smart," Starks said. "I'll use the speed to my advantage. [Tall receivers] have never been a problem before. Therefore I don't change my style."

Kight gets in swing

Having a week to prepare with his new team figures to benefit kicker Danny Kight.

Kight signed last Friday and had just two days to prepare for the Jaguars game, in which he handled all kickoffs and sent three of five to the end zone for touchbacks.

He did want to work on one major part of his game this week.

"Hang times," Kight said. "I was trying to hit the ball a little bit lower. If teams see that on the film, they are going to stand on the goal line or 1-yard deep and catch the ball."

End zone

Defensive linemen Sam Adams (knee) and Michael McCrary (knee) did not practice but should play Sunday. ... Boulware on his brother, Michael, who returned an interception for a touchdown for Florida State against Maryland on Saturday: "I was real proud of him. It broke the back of the Terps. Everybody was coming up to me saying, `Your brother, he hurt us.' "

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