Ravens' O. Brown pushing forward

Offensive tackle says bitter split with Browns won't be a distraction

December 17, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

On the first play of the second half in the Ravens' 44-6 win over the San Francisco 49ers 2 1/2 weeks ago, running back Jamal Lewis rammed into the middle of the line and gained 1 yard.

That play is easily forgettable, but Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown did something that offensive line coach Jim Colletto views as memorable, so much so that Colletto will keep the highlight on one of his instructional tapes for years to come.

Brown, who makes his return to Cleveland on Sunday in the Ravens' key divisional game against the Browns, used his 6-foot-7, 360-pound frame to shove a 49ers defensive end 10 yards downfield.

"You don't see that very often in this league," Colletto said. "He knocked the guy 10 yards off the line of scrimmage. Earlier in the first half, he had the same block and didn't budge the guy an inch.

"We talked about it at halftime and he took the challenge upon himself. ... I told him, `Now I know what the expectations are, that he's able to do this if he does it the right way all the time.' I'm going to use that in clinics, teaching young guys."

Brown shrugs off the play, figuring it won't be the last time he does that. "I thought they could call a flag on that, but as long as you are engaged with the guy, they can't," he said.

Returning to the stadium where his NFL career nearly ended four years ago, Brown admits to relishing the chance to block his former teammates in the same manner.

But the big guy is steadying himself. With the Ravens needing a win to stay in contention for the division title, Brown said he does not want to get distracted by personal vendettas.

So he has decided to put everything that went on between him and that organization - including his release a year into a six-year, $27 million deal - behind him.

The last time Brown, 33, played at Cleveland Browns Stadium, he was hit in the eye by a referee's flag in a December 1999 game, temporarily blinding him and forcing him out of football until this season.

The NFL suspended him indefinitely for shoving down the referee after the flag hit him in the eye, and Brown subsequently filed a lawsuit against the league that was settled out of court.

"It's going to go cross my head," Brown said of the flag incident. "It's like anytime you ride down the street and you go past a spot where you've had a car accident. ...

"Earlier in the year, I was still upset and had so much negative stuff to say about Carmen [Policy, Browns president] and all of them. But in the last couple of months, I've grown up some and put it behind me. All that has happened up there is motivation for me, so I'm going to be ready to go."

The Ravens don't doubt that.

"We will have to watch it," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "I'm not going to get Orlando ready during pre-game. I have seen people avoid Orlando altogether during pre-game because he goes to head-butt you and your eyes cross."

That intensity has led to some rough times between Brown and Colletto. The two got into a heated argument after the Ravens' Nov. 16 loss in Miami but have since come to a better understanding of each other.

"During the game, he has to relax a little bit more, particularly if you are making some corrections on things that have not gone right, and don't get too uptight about it," Colletto said. "Initially, he probably took it a little personally. It's not personal, just helping him make sure he's doing the right thing."

Said Brown: "I think we know each other now. I'm different, and I know I'm different with my attitude. I'm a good dude, but I get so emotional and caught up in the game, I can get kind of destructive and tear up [stuff]."

That could go for defensive linemen, too.

"If I do get a [Cleveland defender] 12 yards down the field, that's going to feel good," Brown said.

NOTES: The Ravens worked out former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker T.J. Slaughter yesterday and are likely to sign him to a contract as early as today. Slaughter, 26, a 2000 third-round draft choice out of Southern Mississippi, had 108 tackles as a part-time starter with the Jaguars last year but fell out of favor with the team this season and was released. He would fill the roster spot of Adalius Thomas. ... Defensive end Marques Douglas was voted this year's Ed Block Courage Award winner representing the Ravens. The award honors one player from every NFL team who exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.

Next for Ravens

Matchup: Ravens (8-6) vs. Cleveland Browns (4-10)

Site: Cleveland Browns Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 13, 9/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

Line: Ravens by 3

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