`Excited' Boller back at practice, might be No. 3 QB on Sunday

Ravens notebook

Rookie is fully recovered from quadriceps injury

Pro Football

December 11, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Kyle Boller returned to practice yesterday, and barring any setbacks, he should be listed as the Ravens' No. 3 quarterback Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Boller was not limited during the practice and has fully recovered from his Nov. 11 surgery to repair a torn quadriceps muscle.

"I'm very excited," said Boller, the Ravens' first-round pick out of California. "I get a chance to play football again and throw the ball. It's frustrating having to watch."

Having Boller return so soon was the best-case scenario come true for the Ravens.

"I'm a fast healer," Boller said. "I've said that from Day One. I hurt my shoulder my freshman year [in college] and recovered quicker than most people do. I wouldn't be going if I had stitches and my leg was still messed up."

Boller started the first nine games before getting injured shortly before halftime of the Ravens' 33-22 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 9. He had improved steadily, and in the first half against the Rams he completed 10 of 21 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown.

The Ravens originally had envisioned Boller returning to the starting lineup as early as Sunday, but he likely will remain a backup to Anthony Wright the rest of the season.

Wright has led the team to a 3-1 record, completing 52.8 percent of his passes, with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

"All I can do is prepare as if I'm going to play," Boller said. "Regardless of if I'm going to play or not, I'm still going to prepare the same way."

Boller completed 51.6 percent of his passes for 1,250 yards, with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Ravens might choose to elevate Boller over backup Chris Redman next week if he continues to progress.

"Right now [Boller] will be listed as the third quarterback," coach Brian Billick said. "What we have to guard against is not the knee, but he's going to be sore. He's going to try and do more than he probably should."

Suggs: 2 sides to story

Rookie linebacker Terrell Suggs addressed his pending legal issue yesterday without going into much detail. Suggs was charged with felony aggravated assault in connection with a fight after a basketball game in Phoenix in March.

"It's always two sides to every story," said Suggs, who spent Monday and Tuesday in Arizona dealing with the issue. "Once I'm able to talk about it, I'll be happy to tell everyone in detail what happened. ...

"We're going on our December playoff run. I can't let something negative like this bring us down."

More injury concerns

All the Ravens practiced yesterday, but there was concern over the team's injury situation.

Linebacker Ray Lewis was listed as questionable with a bruised right shoulder joint. The injury is not serious, and it's not the shoulder Lewis had season-ending surgery on last year.

"It will be a day-to-day thing," trainer Bill Tessendorf said.

Return man Lamont Brightful (knee), offensive tackle Orlando Brown (chest), linebacker Cornell Brown (knee), running back Jamal Lewis (wrist) and fullback Alan Ricard (ankle) are questionable, but all are expected to play Sunday.

Thomas placed on IR

The Ravens placed linebacker Adalius Thomas on injured reserved, ending his season. Thomas had successful arm surgery Monday and would have missed the next six weeks.

"It went very well," Billick said of the surgery. "He's not going to make it back this year, but the prognosis long-term is very good."

Long snapper Mike Solwold, who spent much of the season on the practice squad, was signed to the active roster. The Ravens signed defensive end Nate Bolling to the practice squad.

2 snappers better than 1

Billick is drawing from his past to justify keeping two long snappers on the active roster.

Joe Maese got hurt late in the 2001 season and was replaced by Dale Hellastrae, who struggled in the Ravens' season finale against the Minnesota Vikings with three poor snaps, one leading to a fumble by then-punter Kyle Richardson.

In Maese and Solwold, the Ravens have two players who are essentially limited to long snapping only. Solwold most likely would have been signed by the New England Patriots earlier this week if he did not get promoted by the Ravens.

"I've been on a playoff team when Joe Maese got hurt and watched the ball bounce in twice before it got to [the punter]," Billick said. "Once, that's OK, but twice is a tough one."

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