Ogden says chances 50-50 that he'll play opening game

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Brooks likely replacement

Brightful, R. Johnson, Hunter among eight cut

Pro Football

September 05, 2004|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Two days after spraining a ligament in his left knee, Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden said he is still questionable for next Sunday's season opener.

"Right now, I'd probably say it's 50-50," Ogden said. "It's just one of those things that if it continues to respond well and keeps getting better, then I'll probably be out there. If it plateaus, who knows? I'll keep my fingers crossed and just go with it."

Ogden, a seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle, has started 58 consecutive regular-season games. If he can't play, backup Ethan Brooks likely would replace him.

"It looks good right now," coach Brian Billick said of Ogden's injury. "It is improving and we're optimistic. But we'll have to wait and see what Tuesday and Wednesday brings."

Eight players cut

The Ravens released eight players, including three former draft picks: return specialist Lamont Brightful, receiver Ron Johnson and cornerback Javin Hunter.

Brightful's release all but makes it official that rookie B.J. Sams will be the return specialist.

The other players waived were offensive tackle Eric Dumas, tight end Nick Eller, cornerback Rashad Holman, linebacker Brandon Rager and safety Dave Revill.

"It's always tough, particularly when you're letting go some guys that have been with you for a while," Billick said.

The Ravens will have to cut nine more players by tomorrow to get down to the league-mandated 53-man roster.

Darling wants to play

If the decision was left to Devard Darling, the rookie receiver would play this week.

Ravens officials, though, are still contemplating whether to place Darling on injured reserve after he missed the past two games with a strained quadriceps muscle. The third-round pick tested the injury by running one-on-one against Deion Sanders after practice.

When asked if he would play this season, Darling said, "Without a doubt. It's not that serious. It feels good right now. I never looked at it as a long-term injury. I'm ready right now but it's no big rush."

He will be re-evaluated by doctors tomorrow. "We've got to rely on our doctors to give us the best prognosis," Billick said.

Boulware stays on PUP list

The Ravens will keep outside linebacker Peter Boulware on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he will miss at least the first five games of the season. Boulware, the franchise's all-time sacks leader, is rehabilitating from offseason knee surgery.

"It's frustrating, especially now because it's game time and everybody is getting ready," Boulware said. "This is what you love to do. I'm about to sit and wait and watch it from the sideline. Hopefully, I'll be ready when the time comes."

Under NFL rules, players who begin the regular season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) are restricted from practicing with the team until a three-week window (after Week 6 and through Week 9).

Once that player returns to practice, the team has a 21-day period to decide whether to activate him, release him or keep him on PUP for the rest of the season.

The Ravens decided to keep backup quarterback Anthony Wright on PUP last week.

End zone

Darling has changed from No. 11 to 81, and Corey Fuller has gone from No. 26 to 24. Sanders, who has No. 24 above his locker, is expected to announce his new number tomorrow. ... The players are off until Tuesday.

Next for Ravens

Matchup: Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns in regular-season opener

Site: Cleveland Browns Stadium

When: Next Sunday, 1 p.m.

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

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