ESPN studio analyst Schlereth has respect aplenty for Ravens


September 09, 2005|By RAY FRAGER

SURELY, YOU HAVE heard this guy call in on local sports radio.

"Yeah, why don't the Ravens get any respect from the national media?"

Well, Joe from Arbutus and Kevin from Bel Air and Fred from East Baltimore, please meet Mark Schlereth. The former offensive lineman is a studio analyst for ESPN's NFL Live, which makes him a member of the national media. And Schlereth is picking the Ravens to win the Super Bowl this season.

Why? It starts with the defense.

"No. 1, it's simply when you look at them, they have the most consistent player in the league in Ray Lewis," Schlereth said Wednesday. "They have the best play-making safety in Ed Reed."

He reeled off several more members of the defense - Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister among them - before turning his attention to the Ravens' offense.

"I feel good about where [running back] Jamal Lewis is," said Schlereth, who made his pick in ESPN The Magazine. "The No. 1 problem they've had over the years has been in the receiver position, and they have addressed that."

And what about the talk-show callers' favorite topic, quarterback Kyle Boller?

"All Kyle Boller has to do," Schlereth said, "is not screw it up. ... He doesn't have to take the team on his shoulders."

Schlereth also said Ravens fans should take heart in Jamal Lewis' contract extension dispute with the club.

"Show me a guy in a contract year and he has a career year," he said.

So there you go, Joe, Kevin and Fred - Ravens respect. Now, turn down your radios.

As the NFL begins its season, some observers present the idea that seeing the vagabond New Orleans Saints play could offer a kind of salve for the deep wounds suffered by the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina. Don't count Fox NFL Sunday's Terry Bradshaw among those observers.

"If I were a resident of New Orleans and I had lost everything ... I don't necessarily think football will help me escape my current situation," said Bradshaw, a Louisiana native who quarterbacked Louisiana Tech before his NFL Hall of Fame career.

Fox's season debut pre-game show (Sunday at noon, WBFF/Channel 45 and WTTG/Channel 5) likely won't kick off with its usual high-spirited jocularity. Not only will the program be dealing with Katrina's aftermath, but it also is marking the four-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Ed Goren, Fox Sports president, said during a conference call this week: "People are tuning in to see the Fox NFL Sunday they've known and loved ... but people's lives have been affected, and we have to respect that."

Maryland's game against Clemson tomorrow (noon, ESPN) features the college football sideline debut of Heather Mitts, the soccer player who mostly has done soccer commentary for ESPN. Eric Collins calls play-by-play and Andre Ware is on analysis. ...

ESPN fired college football analyst Trev Alberts on Sunday after he failed to show up for work, a network spokeswoman said. Alberts reportedly was upset with a diminished presence on the College GameDay studio show. At least initially, Alberts' old seat next to Mark May will rotate among Lou Holtz, Desmond Howard and Jim Donnan.

As part of an upgrade announced yesterday, CBS is beginning to post what it calls "glogs," or game logs. Rather than just the stark statistical summary usually seen online, these glogs - which eventually will include all major pro and college games - include color commentary-type descriptions of the action. With all of those events, I'm thinking CBS is about to be hit by a wave of carpal tunnel syndrome. ...

When USA Network gave way to CBS for the last part of the terrific Andre Agassi-James Blake match Wednesday night at the U.S. Open, we suddenly got Ian Eagle sounding as if he were calling a football game.

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