Carter to miss season, maybe more, but he's still thankful

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Treatment for blood clot to sideline veteran corner

Pro Football

July 30, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

As news spread that his season was over before it really got started, Ravens cornerback Dale Carter addressed the issue and pronounced himself a lucky man.

Carter will spend the year on the non-football injury list with a blood clot in his lungs. He will have to take blood thinners for the next six months, the primary reason he will not play football this season.

A 12-year veteran, Carter signed with the Ravens this offseason and was to be the team's nickel (fifth) defensive back. He participated in minicamps the first two weeks of June before returning to his house in Houston, where the blood clot was discovered after Carter struggled through a workout.

Carter spent a week in the hospital, and though his season - and possibly his career - is over, he was thankful just to have survived.

"I was working out at home and my side was hurting real bad," said Carter, 34. "That third day, I couldn't breathe. It was like somebody knocked the breath out of me. I was in so much pain I went to the emergency room. It was pretty bad.

"I'm going to miss football. ... But I've put things in perspective. I got to get healthy and well first before I think of anything else. I'm just happy I'm here, and I've told everybody I know that I love them."

Corey Fuller, who was to primarily play at safety during much of training camp, will return to cornerback, the position he played all of last season.

Fuller, in fact, may get more work than expected with Chris McAlister out indefinitely because of a contract dispute. He and Gary Baxter figure to be the starting cornerbacks through the first part of training camp.

While Fuller, 33, had mentally adjusted his thinking to finishing his career at safety, it did not take long for him to embrace his new challenge after learning of Carter's condition.

"I had my mind set on moving inside and trying to excel at that, but I have to go and do what I have to do now," Fuller said. "If I've got to go out there, that's good for me, too, because last year I definitely didn't play up to my ability. I was hurt from the word go, so this is redemption."

All picks accounted for

Sixth-round pick Clarence Moore signed a three-year contract yesterday, meaning the Ravens will have all their rookies for the first practice this morning. Baxter (hernia) and Ray Lewis (thumb) also will be available for practice. Neither player took the field during the offseason minicamps.

McAlister, linebacker Peter Boulware (knee), tight end Trent Smith (leg) and quarterback Anthony Wright (shoulder) are not expected to practice.

No treading lightly

While much surrounding this training camp is the same (hotel, food, practice schedule) as in previous years, the Ravens will have a new turf when they practice at Bair Stadium on the campus of McDaniel College.

The school installed the same type of artificial turf used at M&T Bank Stadium.

"The players are going to have a certain familiarity with it," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Billick's contract

Billick's multi-year agreement reached Wednesday was a new contract and not an extension. It replaced an extension that had two years remaining on it.

"I've said from the beginning that I want Brian and Ozzie [Newsome, general manager] here for a long time," first-year principal owner Steve Bisciotti said yesterday in a statement.

Sun staff writer Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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