Lucas still third-string behind Wright, Redman


Sixth-year quarterback to play only in emergency

Pro Football

November 22, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Last week, Ravens coach Brian Billick told the media to "check with me next week" to see if quarterback Ray Lucas would surpass Chris Redman on the depth chart.

Lucas has not been promoted. In fact, Billick made it seem as though the team never considered elevating Lucas, who remains behind Redman and starter Anthony Wright heading into tomorrow's game with the Seattle Seahawks at M&T Bank Stadium.

"He is still learning," Billick said. "Ray is here to give us that third quarterback in a disastrous situation. Although I would not limit Ray in any way, at no point did we sign Ray with the anticipation of him moving into the two, or even the one position, but he has to be ready should something happen to one and two."

Lucas, though, is still somewhat ahead of the curve, thanks in part to a current New England Patriot.

Receiver Dedric Ward, who was released by the Ravens on Tuesday and picked up by New England two days later, served as a translator for Lucas in learning the playbook. The two players, who are very good friends, spent the last seven years on the same teams with the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and a game with the Ravens.

"They could relate to each other," quarterbacks/receivers coach David Shaw said. "Dedric helped Ray understand a couple of things because he would say `Hey, it's like' whatever they did in the past. So his learning curve was a little quicker."

For Lucas, signing with the Ravens, even if his stint lasts less than a half a season, rejuvenated him. Lucas said he didn't do much when he was out of football the first nine weeks other than lie in bed and work out.

"I just went crazy and got depressed," said Lucas, a six-year veteran who started six games for the Dolphins last year. "Then I went more crazy and got more depressed. It was a tough time for me.

"Sometimes I didn't even get out of the bed. But sometimes, I'd sleep late, go to the gym, come back home, get back in the bed and wait for my kids to get home. No talking on the phone."

The Ravens may choose to re-sign Lucas if Redman, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, signs with another team.

Injury update

Kyle Boller (leg) and tight end John Jones (leg) were the only players who did not practice yesterday. Neither will play tomorrow.

Though Frank Sanders and Marcus Robinson were listed as questionable, Billick said he expects to have them as well as end Tony Weaver (neck, questionable).

"Unless they tell me something [this morning], I think we are OK," Billick said.

Brightful not relaxing

With Ward in New England, Lamont Brightful's job as the primary punt and kickoff returner seems safe, at least for now.

"It's cool but at the same time, it's always a phone call away," Brightful said. "You have to work hard no matter if they have one, two or three guys. Everybody is just a phone call away."

Brightful had a 73-yard kickoff return against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, his longest of the season.

"I've always been confident," Brightful said. "At the beginning of the year, I just didn't have a lot of breaks. I had a few long runs called back because of penalties. But I'm glad to be back there again and am getting into a groove to help out this team."

Parker's ups and downs

Defensive end Riddick Parker figures his yo-yo relationship with the Ravens is just part of the hazards of his chosen line of work.

Parker was released twice this season by the Ravens before re-signing a third time with the team Tuesday. He said he never wavered on whether he should return.

"This is what I do, my profession," said Parker, who replaced Ward on the roster. "It's not even something to think about. I spent the week at home. I'm a professional athlete, and when you get the call you have to be ready to respond to it. I only had a week off, so I didn't miss that much. I'm just ready to contribute any way that I can."

Food drive

The Ravens are asking fans to bring non-perishable food items and money to tomorrow's game as part of the annual "Ravens Family Food & Funds Drive." All donations, which will be accepted at the stadium entry gates, will benefit the Maryland Food Bank.

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