Ravens have taken out trash-talking


Champions turn down volume this time around


January 17, 2002|By Jamison Hensley and Paul McMullen | Jamison Hensley and Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

The Ravens have surprisingly put a lid on their trash-talking with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While Steelers safety Lee Flowers started the week by saying there is a "hatred" between the teams, the Ravens have given a cold shoulder to their division rival.

Not even Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe, who once called himself the "CEO of trash-talking," would take any shots at Pittsburgh.

"Brian [Billick] has threatened to fine me, and Mr. Modell said I wouldn't be his favorite son anymore if I talked trash," Sharpe joked. "I'm going to let it slide this week. But you know it's killing me."

It was only last month when Sharpe referred to Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress as "Plexiglas," and Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis told Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis to "tape that groin up and come see me at PSINet, and tell him not to run away from me."

That led to a 26-21 pasting by the Steelers on Dec. 16 and caused the Ravens to take a more cautious approach this time around.

"We might have spent emotion during the course of the week and not playing a game on Sunday," Sharpe said. "We're taking a different approach this week. On Sunday, we'll let this fury out."

M. Lewis update

As of yesterday, Ravens officials said that no team had asked permission to speak to defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis about a head-coaching job.

Under NFL rules, teams are prohibited from speaking to coaches whose teams are still playing. But teams can still request permission to speak to those coaches once their seasons are over.

Lewis' name has been linked with the Carolina Panthers' vacancy. The Panthers have talked with New York Giants defensive coordinator John Fox and have asked permission to speak with New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.

"I'm a great believer in helping people here improve their positions," Ravens owner Art Modell said. "He's been a big part of our success and has showed it again and again."

Hartwell ready to appeal

Three days after the fact, Ed Hartwell was still trying to figure out why he was ejected from the wild-card win over the Dolphins.

Last year's fourth-round draft choice out of Western Illinois, Hartwell was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness and ejected after he tangled with Twan Russell on the punt that ended Miami's second possession. Dolphins punter Matt Turk actually came over to assist Russell and got some licks in on Hartwell, but it was the Ravens' rookie who was sent off.

"I just did my job, I kept him [Russell] down on the ground so he couldn't get up and make a play," Hartwell said. "Everytime he got up, I gave him an open hand to the chest to push him on the ground. The punter came from nowhere to knock me off him, and I just kept blocking my guy. I wasn't fighting, I was just doing my job. I've never lost my cool in a game, and I never will."

Hartwell will appeal any fine handed down by the NFL.

"I was hurt by the call," Hartwell said. "I didn't elbow anybody, I didn't strike anybody. The view they gave on TV made me out to be the bad guy. I'm trying to get other angles so I can appeal."

Siragusa on Pittsburgh

Before their previous meeting, Tony Siragusa suggested that Ravens fans follow the Steelers' faithful into the restrooms at PSINet Stadium "and take care of business yourself," but he, too, joined in the admiration society that emanated from the locker room.

Siragusa was asked if he thought it was safe for Ravens fans to wear their colors at Heinz Field.

"Definitely," Siragusa said. "My whole family will be wearing No. 98. If you want to say hello to my family, you'll see them there."

Siragusa, who played his college ball at Pitt, pitched the double-baloney sandwich at a local establishment. Didn't he hear what Flowers said, that there was hatred between the teams?

"No, I like the Steelers," Siragusa said. "I played at Pitt, I think it's a great place. I've got a lot of friends back there, but I think it's a good rivalry. It was Cleveland-Pittsburgh, and then Cleveland turned into the Baltimore Ravens. It's always a tough game there."

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