Franklin's weight loss is net gain


Defender lost 20 pounds with illness in NFL Europe

Pro Football

August 13, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Getting food poisoning might have been the best thing to happen to defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin during his stint in NFL Europe.

Franklin dropped around 20 pounds after becoming ill on his second day with the Frankfurt Galaxy.

The weight loss apparently helped Franklin dominate in his 10-game stint with the Galaxy, registering three sacks and three knocked-down passes.

Franklin's biggest contribution came from disrupting plays, forcing running backs to cut outside and collapsing the pocket on quarterbacks.

"I think it helped me a lot," Franklin said. "Last year, I was on the active roster but only played in one game. Going to Europe, instead of just coming here and working out on the weights, I got some physical reps. It was kind of like a spring practice in college football."

Franklin finds himself the odd man in a Ravens defensive rotation that looks stronger than last year with second-round pick Dwan Edwards added to the mix of backups Jarret Johnson and Maake Kemoeatu.

Edwards figures to take snaps away from Franklin, a fifth-round pick last year. The workload with Frankfurt, however, should give Franklin a better chance to compete.

"Anytime you can go over to Europe for free and play football, I think it is a great thing," Franklin said. "It's a great thing for the NFL to let guys go and develop their skills over there."

Franklin played much of the second half of last night's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

"I accept the challenge, and I just bust my butt every day, trying to work hard to get in that rotation," Franklin said.

O. Brown remains out

Right tackle Orlando Brown missed the game because of personal reasons. Brown missed practice earlier this week for the same reason.

"We certainly want to keep that the priority," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We want to make sure he's comfortable and on top of that before we put him in a game situation."

Brown is expected to return to practice Saturday.

Receiver Travis Taylor (groin) also did not play. Devard Darling started in place of Taylor but did not have a reception.

Brightful drops the ball

Derek Abney has been less than impressive during training camp, but he may have taken the lead to be the Ravens' punt returner last night.

But not because of anything he did.

Lamont Brightful fumbled away his first attempt, a problem he has had repeatedly the past two years and part of the reason the Ravens went in search of a possible replacement in the draft.

Rookies' field trip

Billick took the rookies and first-year players to the stadium Wednesday afternoon, the first time he has taken that step in his six years as Ravens coach.

The Ravens were supposed to have practiced at the stadium that morning, but decided to have a regular session at McDaniel College.

"I didn't want the first time they step in the stadium to be with 70,000 people," Billick said. "So [it's] just to get a familiarity with their surroundings."

End zone

Anthony Wright (shoulder), Chris McAlister (contract dispute), B.J. Sams (hand), Peter Boulware (knee), Matt Zielinski (knee) and Trent Smith (leg) did not play. ... Offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh called the game from the coaches' box, a change from the past few years when he remained on the sideline. Receivers coach David Shaw changed places with Cavanaugh. Senior offensive consultant Jim Fassel watched from the sideline. ... Last night's attendance (69,299) was a Ravens preseason record.

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