Trapp puts blame on `heat of battle'

Ravens notebook

Cornerback says run-in with Steelers' Burress was `nothing personal'

Pro Football

October 29, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

A day after his ejection in the first half of Sunday's 31-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ravens cornerback James Trapp offered little insight as to what set him off against receiver Plaxico Burress.

Trapp and Burress became involved in an altercation with a minute left in the first half after Trapp recorded his first interception of the year.

Steelers receiver Antwaan Randle El knocked Trapp out of bounds, but it was Burress whom Trapp slung to the ground and kicked, and whose helmet he ripped off. Burress had been involved in a number of verbal confrontations with Ravens cornerbacks early that afternoon. Both players were ejected.

"I don't know. We were in the heat of battle," Trapp said. "You can't control the situation. You'd like to but you can't. The thing I take from it is it's nothing personal. One thing that you have to know around the NFL that I don't think the fans and the media get the perspective of is just as soon as I'm on the Baltimore Ravens, I could be playing with Plaxico Burress tomorrow, next month or maybe next year."

Trapp will likely receive a fine from the NFL, but his action provided a spark for his team.

"It was very emotional for us because Trapp really fired me up," tight end John Jones said. "That's the type of game we play when we play Pittsburgh. After that incident with Trapp and Plaxico, that really fired everybody up."

Ravens coach Brian Billick said Trapp addressed the team at halftime.

"James knew he'd lost control and that wasn't the appropriate thing to do," Billick said. "He wanted them to know that you've got to play with passion but don't be stupid. And that's the kind of veteran leadership you want."

Bad luck on `tuck'

Had the infamous "tuck rule" been overturned during the off-season NFL owners meetings, the Ravens would have had possession after a Tommy Maddox fumble was recovered by end Tony Weaver at their 33 midway through the second quarter.

The play was originally ruled a fumble, but Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher, whose Steelers were up 21-3 at the time, challenged. Replays showed Maddox's arm going forward on a pump fake and linebacker Peter Boulware knocking the ball out as Maddox was bringing his arm back up - a play similar to New England quarterback Tom Brady's fumble reversal in the AFC divisional game last year against Oakland.

That play brought about talk of a rule change last summer.

"I really don't want to sit through 15 hours of discussion at the league meeting again, so I'll just say fine," Billick said. "He made the ruling and that's what it was and we'll move on."

Not worth the risk

The only solution Billick could come up with to help cure running back Jamal Lewis of his recent fumbling was one he has no intention of implementing.

Lewis has lost a fumble in each of the past three games.

"There is a school of thought on how you stop the turnovers," Billick said. "There is a school that says, `OK, let's put the pads back on Wednesday, smack each other around to give those who have had the trouble with it more used to getting knocked around.'

"I'm not going to put the 57 other players at this point in the season going into November at risk. The individual involved has to, on our padded day on Thursday and during the rest of the week, focus on handling the ball properly. I don't know how else to address that."

Getting around to Vick

It did not take long before the focus of Billick's news conference yesterday switched from the Steelers loss to stopping Michael Vick. The league's most elusive quarterback rushed for 91 yards and threw for 195 in Atlanta's 37-35 win over New Orleans on Sunday.

"Michael Vick is in a totally different category, with all due respect to [Steve] McNair or Kordell Stewart, who have been excellent in that capacity and have a dimension that you have to account for," Billick said.

"Maybe Randall Cunningham is the only other to come to mind that adds that dimension that Michael Vick does."

Time change for Miami

The Ravens' Nov. 17 game in Miami was switched from 1 p.m. to 4:15.

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