Sharpe still aiming to catch Newsome


Tight end remains three receptions shy of record

Grbac returns to action

November 13, 2001|By Jamison Hensley and Brent Jones | Jamison Hensley and Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Although Shannon Sharpe will cherish the record, he realizes that he may not hold onto it for long.

Sharpe entered last night's game only three receptions away from surpassing Ozzie Newsome, now the Ravens' senior vice president of football operations, as the league's all-time leader for catches by a tight end (662). But Sharpe isn't upset that the mark will likely be broken by Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez, who has reached 300 for his career faster than any tight end.

"The thing is, at what cost?' said Sharpe, who was shut out in the first half. "Does he catch all these passes and be one of the guys that never won a championship? I would have gladly traded 300 of my catches if I never won a championship. The thing for me, I have all these catches and three championships."

With Sharpe and Newsome atop most of the tight end records, it only proves what Ravens owner Art Modell believed for years.

"I think Ozzie and Shannon are the two greatest to ever play the game, pure and simple." Modell said. "And the record shows it. You won't see two like them for a long time."

During this past week, Sharpe took time to reminisce about his first catch. It came on Oct. 14, 1990, when Sharpe caught a 12-yard pass and was stopped at the 1-yard line by then-Steelers cornerback Rod Woodson, who is now Sharpe's teammate.

Woodson, who's heard that story several times from Sharpe, isn't convinced it's true.

"That wasn't his first catch. And if it was, I don't remember." Woodson said. "That's how good he was then. I never remember playing against him."

Working his way back

Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac made his first start after missing the past two weeks with bruised ribs.

Grbac hadn't been inactive for two games since 1998 with the Kansas City Chiefs. In his first game back that season, he was 11of 20 passing for 160 yards. So, the Ravens understand that it may take some time before Grbac re gains his rhythm.

"Mentally, he'll be fine." Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He'll have all the checks and he'll have all the reads. But when you have been off the shelf a little bit, it takes a little bit to start out. We'll probably have to anticipate that a little bit. That it might not be as sharp to start the game as you would probably like."

Allen injured again

Running back Terry Allen fractured his left hand in the second quarter.

The team put a cast on the hand, and is not sure about his sta tus for next week.

Allen played in his first game since he sprained his ankle Oct. 21 against Cleveland. He had one carry for a 1-yard loss last night be fore getting injured.

Sack time

Ravens tackle Tony Siragusa recorded his first sack since the final game of the 1999 season. Siragusa beat guard Zach Piller on a second-and-five from the Titans" 45 for a 10-yard loss in the first quarter.

Siragusa's previous sack came against New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

Later in the quarter, Siragusa recorded his second sack, but this one had more to do with a corner blitz from Duane Starks. Starks forced Titans quarterback Steve McNair up in the pocket right into Siragusa for a 1-yard loss.

Baxter pitches in

Defensive back Gary Baxter made his first special teams tackle on Titans return man Derrick Ma son on the opening kickoff.

It was the first time Baxter, the team's second-round draft choice, was activated for a game this season.

Say what?

The Ravens" first Monday night game in franchise history gives Siragusa a chance to have a long- awaited conversation.

"I'm looking forward to meeting [ABC commentator] Dennis Miller and asking what some of the words that he says means." Siragusa said. "I don't know what he's talking about and my family wants to know what they mean."

Lighting it up

With the Ravens ending their season by playing three of their final four games at night, a reporter asked Billick if he had considered practicing under the lights.

"The problem is the time of year and being cold and how much are you going to get out of it." Billick said. "We've played at night before so I'm not going to be overly concerned with it. But it's some thing to consider, particularly if the weather is semi-decent."

Getting vocal

Opposing kickers are a com bined 9-for-19 (47 percent) against the Ravens this season, and Titans kicker Joe Nedney, who missed his first attempt last night before making a 27-yarder for the first points of the game in the third quarter, knows one reason why.

"They do like to talk to the kicker. Their defensive linemen es pecially like to talk to the kicker." Nedney said. "I don't hear a lot of talking usually, but when we played them in Baltimore [Oct. 7], I heard a lot of talking."

Extra points

Ravens inactives were Moe Williams, James Trapp, Alan Ricard, Casey Rabach, Kelly Gregg, Erik Williams, Patrick Johnson and Chris Redman. M-` Kipp Vickers and Bennie Anderson started at right guard and right tackle re spectively. M-` For this year's pre- game scoreboard entertainment, the Titans mascot shredded Billick's book, "Competitive Leadership'. Last year before the divisional playoff game, the Titans played a clip of Billick's post-game speach following the Ravens" regular-season victory in Tennessee. M-` Billick became just the third coach to get to a Super Bowl before appearing on a Monday night game. The Washington Redskins' Joe Gibbs and San Francisco 49ers" Bill Walsh were the others. M-` Receiver Brandon Stokley's 18-yard grab in the first quarter was his first in three games. M-` The contingent of Ravens fans included Louis Robinson, a Federal Hill resident who was taken to Adelphia Coli seum for his 75th birthday by his son, David.

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