Hobbled by injury, Boulware expects to play on Sunday

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Linebacker may be limited to pass-rushing situations

Billick: Bengals will win

Ravens notebook

December 25, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Linebacker Peter Boulware said his sprained knee is feeling better, but it did not appear as though that was the case yesterday.

Boulware, who hurt his knee in the second quarter of Sunday's win over the Cleveland Browns, limped around the locker room in the same manner he did Monday and was limited in practice. He is listed as questionable on the team's injury report for Sunday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I'll do whatever I can do to get out on the field," Boulware said. "It's just swelling. The thing about swelling is that I have to just stay off of it."

There is a chance the Ravens will play Boulware only in pass-rushing situations if his knee does not improve. If that is the case, Terrell Suggs and Cornell Brown, backups through much of the season, would start at the outside linebacker positions.

"If rushing the passer is where I fit best, then I'm willing to do that," said Boulware, who has 8 1/2 sacks this season. "But I'm pretty sure I'll be able to go 100 percent."

Bennie Anderson (knee), Ed Hartwell (chest) and John Jones (leg) are also listed as questionable. Anderson and Jones left the Browns game early and did not return.

All are expected to play, but Boulware remains the Ravens' biggest worry and will be a game-time decision.

"We'll have to see game day," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He'll limp through the week, kind of like Ray [Lewis] did the last couple of weeks, but I imagine for the weekend he'll be there."

Christmas cheer

For the second straight year, Steelers coach Bill Cowher is giving his team Christmas Day off.

The Ravens will practice today, and in essence, have one more day of preparation than the Steelers.

"We have a lot going on," Billick said. "We are going to give them half the day off and we're going to come back in the afternoon. We have to compress a lot of things.

"Bill is a hell of a lot nicer than I am."

The Steelers had Christmas Day off last year (which fell on a Wednesday) and went on to beat the Ravens, 34-31.

"With our veteran guys, we should be fine," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said. "We played well last week. Coach Cowher said if we win, we get Christmas off. If we go in and get the game plan and practice Friday, we should be fine."

Billick picks Bengals

Billick guaranteed a victory yesterday, but it was not for the Ravens.

"Cincinnati is going to beat Cleveland," Billick said. "They just are. I have a tough time believing Cleveland is going to go into Cincinnati where they are at, with the mind-set they have now - hell, their players last week said they wanted Cincinnati to win. Fine. We're approaching it one way."

Center Mike Flynn echoed Billick.

"You don't want to get caught emotionally into something that is not going to matter to us anyway," Flynn said. "There is no doubt in my mind Cincy is going to win that game."

If the Bengals beat Cleveland on Sunday, the Ravens have to beat Pittsburgh that night to win the AFC North and make the playoffs.

Sound of silence

Apparently, the Ravens have been given an unofficial "gag order" regarding trash-talking with the Steelers, a decree Corey Fuller, one of the team's biggest talkers, is taking to heart.

"I'm just mellow," Fuller said. "We don't have nothing to say about Pittsburgh.

"We're grown men. We've been playing this game for a while. We take childish shots at each other, then in the offseason when we see each other, we want to be best friends."

Et cetera

Jamal Lewis is the AFC's Offensive Player of the Week for his 205-yard effort against the Browns on Sunday. ... Cornerback Gary Baxter won the first annual Ravens' Good Guy Award given by the local media. Baxter narrowly beat out guard Edwin Mulitalo. The media also voted Jamal Lewis the Ravens' Most Valuable Player.

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