Sharpe one catch away from history

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Tight end appears certain to break Newsome's mark Sunday against Browns

Pro Football

November 16, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Tight end Shannon Sharpe addressed the issue for the third straight week.

This time, Sharpe appears certain to finally surpass Ozzie Newsome's NFL record of 662 career catches for a tight end Sunday at PSINet Stadium against the Cleveland Browns.

Sharpe tied Newsome by making two catches Monday night against the Tennessee Titans. It was originally thought Sharpe might get the record against the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous week, but he was held to three catches.

Will this be the week?

"For the third week, I hope so," Sharpe said.

"I never wanted to be in a situation where me trying to get the ball, or [Ravens coach] Brian [Billick] calling plays for me cost us winning a ballgame. I caught a couple of plays early in the fourth quarter. But I wouldn't have felt right if Brian tried to get me the football, and we would have lost the game. I like to think I can get one catch in 60 minutes of football this week."

The Ravens will stop the game briefly once Sharpe makes the catch so he can hand the game ball to Newsome in front of a much more receptive crowd than in Tennessee or Pittsburgh.

Newsome stood on the sideline for much of the first half Monday night in anticipation of Sharpe breaking the record. He returned to the press box before having to return to the field after Sharpe made two catches in the fourth quarter. Newsome prefers to watch the game from the press box.

"Hopefully we can get this thing done," Sharpe said. "Newsome always told me, I'll be down there, but not if it's cold. I think it's going to be a good weekend this weekend. Hopefully, we won't keep him down there too long."

Billick on Couch

Billick did not shy from offering Browns quarterback Tim Couch more bulletin-board material yesterday, if Couch chooses to view it as such.

Before the first Browns-Ravens game this season, Billick refused to compare Couch with Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who had torched the Ravens for 337 passing yards the previous week.

Billick said Couch was good, just not as good as Favre, a seemingly sure Hall of Famer.

Reportedly, that did not sit well with Couch.

"I thought [Couch] was a good quarterback," Billick said. "I understand he takes offense that I'm not quite ready to put him in the Hall of Fame. Maybe I'm alone in that. He's a fine young quarterback. But the Hall of Fame, I'm sorry, Tim, don't mean to dis you this way, but the Hall of Fame is still a little bit ways away. If you need that to get motivated, then have at it, son."

Williams' increased role

Running back Moe Williams will not have to worry about being inactive this week.

Williams spent his first game this season on the inactive list Monday night, but with Terry Allen's hand injury that will keep him out four to six weeks, Williams will likely see an increased role in the offense.

He has just five carries for two yards this season. Williams is more of a threat as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. He had a 46-yard grab against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 23.

"Femi [Obafemi Ayanbadejo] and Brook [Jason Brookins] are going to carry most of it," Williams said. "I'll just try and get in when I can."

Home cooking for Kight

Kicker Danny Kight may be one of the happiest Ravens about returning to PSINet Stadium on Sunday.

The last time Kight kicked at home, he sent three of five kickoffs to the end zone for touchbacks. However, only one of Kight's nine kickoffs in the past two games has been a touchback.

"I hit the ball OK," Kight said of his performance Monday night. "I can do a lot better. I was a little more conservative, had some kicks I didn't like too much. I got fortunate at PSINet because I was able to undercut the wind, but that's not how I really kick the ball."

Matt Stover kicked off in practice last week at about 80 percent. This week, Stover, who was battling a slight calf strain that made it difficult for him to kick off, is reaching 100 percent in practice.

This is the last week Kight is guaranteed money from the Ravens.

Trapp back in practice

Defensive back James Trapp returned to practice yesterday, his first since he strained a groin muscle against the Steelers. Trapp missed Monday's game and is questionable against the Browns.

"We'll see how it goes," Trapp said.

The last time Trapp faced Cleveland, he ended up getting fined for a helmet-to-helmet hit on return-man Dennis Northcutt on a third-quarter punt.

End zone

The Ravens' preseason schedule for next season is taking shape. The team will play host to the Detroit Lions between Aug. 8-12 and the New York Jets between Aug. 15-19. The Ravens will play in Philadelphia against the Eagles between Aug. 22-26 and the New York Giants between Aug. 29-Sept. 1. ... Defensive tackle Sam Adams (knee), defensive end Michael McCrary (knee), Allen (hand), defensive end Rob Burnett (calf) and receiver Patrick Johnson (clavicle) did not practice yesterday. Allen, Burnett and Johnson will miss Sunday's game.

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