For Stewart, a call to action

Ravens notebook

Staying in shape left him ready to fill team's need for a third quarterback

Pro Football

September 15, 2005|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

While many veteran quarterbacks might have questioned whether their training was in vain, Kordell Stewart had no such thoughts.

Stewart, working out daily with his personal trainer and a former coach, said he kept in shape knowing his time would come despite the start of the NFL season and no job prospects in sight.

"This game, especially at the quarterback position, sometimes comes down to a numbers game," said Stewart, 32. "You can only have three QBs.

"I am young compared to some quarterbacks who are playing right now. I have my confidence, and did I think this would happen? Yes, I did."

Stewart signed a one-year contract with the Ravens yesterday, a move he anticipated would happen when he watched starting quarterback Kyle Boller go down with a toe injury Sunday night and not return. Stewart was Boller's backup last season but was not re-signed after the team drafted Derek Anderson in the sixth round.

"It's the logical choice," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Kordell was great for us last year. A great team member. He understands the role."

To make room for Stewart, the Ravens released receiver Patrick Johnson. Johnson, in his third stint with the team that made him a second-round draft choice in 1998, made the squad after a strong preseason but was inactive in the opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

Just how long Stewart will stay will be determined when Boller is healthy again. Even if the Ravens release him, Stewart says his career, in its 11th season, will not be finished.

"Heck no, I promise you that," Stewart said. "I have been working my butt off, harder than I every have in a long time just because of the unknown."

No rush to judgment

Jamal Lewis watched the game film of an unheralded, second-year back running roughshod over the Tennessee Titans' defense, but he isn't counting down the seconds until he can do the same.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' third-string back, Willie Parker, ran for 161 yards on 22 carries (a 7.3-yard average) and scored a touchdown in his team's 34-7 win Sunday. The Steelers ran 41 times for 206 yards.

"It doesn't mean anything to me, honestly," Lewis said. "You have a new running back that comes in and you don't really know his running style. You really can't scheme against him. That doesn't have anything to do with me. I still have to go in and do my job, but at the same time, they know what I do."

Jeers for the boos

Deion Sanders said he was disappointed and Derrick Mason called it tasteless. Days after some Ravens fans cheered as quarterback Kyle Boller lay hurt on the ground in the third quarter Sunday night, players were still seething about the display at M&T Bank Stadium.

"I know [Boller] will forgive you, [the team] will forgive you, but please, don't let that happen again because that's our teammate and that really hurt us," Sanders said.

End zone

Terrell Suggs (back) and Sanders (thigh) did not practice yesterday and are listed as questionable along with Devard Darling (thigh) and Daniel Wilcox (hip). Sanders appeared surprised when he saw his name on the injury report. "I'm questionable? There is no question that I will be playing," he said. Peter Boulware (knee), Todd Heap (foot), Lewis (finger) and Ed Reed (thigh) are all probable.

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