Billick still Sharpe fan despite Boller rip

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ravens Notebook

November 24, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

Shannon Sharpe as a topic of conversation around the Ravens' complex won't go away.

Sharpe's ongoing saga with quarterback Kyle Boller stretched into its second week when coach Brian Billick was questioned about Sharpe's analytical skills yesterday. Sharpe played two seasons with the Ravens and is now a commentator on CBS' NFL Today show.

During Sunday's broadcast, Sharpe implied that Boller is not a good quarterback and that some Ravens officials hold the same opinion.

"I'm not sure Shannon Sharpe the player would particularly care for Shannon Sharpe the commentator," Billick said. "But I would find that an interesting conversation between those two people. Put that on HBO, I'll pay whatever you want to watch that debate.

"I'm not going to let it change my affection for Shannon. It's not going to do it. I enjoy the man too much. A lot of people get on TV and do a lot of things that make a lot of money. Everybody has a price, and evidently, Shannon's is pretty good."

Last week, Sharpe said on his radio show that Boller was just good enough to get himself cut and the coach fired.

It is hard to imagine Sharpe - one of the straightest shooters while with the Ravens - would make comments he did not believe just for effect. Ravens nickel back Deion Sanders, who like Sharpe was a Hall of Fame-caliber player turned broadcaster, said the best commentators do not put on a faM-gade for the cameras.

"I didn't. That's probably why I was one of the best," Sanders said.

"I just took what I had and did my thing. I didn't think I changed. I think the guys, every time I walked into the locker room, had the same respect, although they understood I still had to do my job. They respected me in that manner."

Sanders left television to resume his playing career last year, and Sharpe was the one who replaced Sanders on CBS. The two, though, have had little contact over the years.

"Shannon was great as a player," Sanders said. "And he's doing his doggone thing on television. I don't know him personally. I never played with him as a teammate.

"When you endeavor into the media, you've got to be conscious of, `Is this personal? Or is this business?' And you've really got to take that into consideration when you speak out against anyone or when you address any situation. I always took that into consideration."

Injury updates

Ed Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain against the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 16, but he will not play against the Bengals. Right guard Keydrick Vincent (thigh) and Ray Lewis (thigh) are also out Sunday.

Orlando Brown (back), Dale Carter (head), Chris McAlister (thigh), Brian Rimpf (thigh), Samari Rolle (head), Musa Smith (lower leg) and Chester Taylor (ankle) all missed part of yesterday's practice and are questionable for the game.

Edwin Mulitalo (thigh) and Boller (back) are probable.

Stover's correction

Kicker Matt Stover's NFL special teams Player of the Week award seemed overshadowed in his eyes by a slight misstep in relaying a story involving him and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher before Sunday's game.

A somber Stover gathered media members around him and retold his conversation with Cowher. Stover hit a 44-yard field goal in overtime to win the game for the Ravens, something he originally said he and Cowher talked about before kickoff.

"[Cowher] did not say, `I hope you don't hit the game-winner,'" Stover said. "He said, `I hope you don't win.' And I said, `Well, I hope we do.' So I made something out of nothing and wanted to stand up and make sure everybody understood that.

"I really respect Bill Cowher, respect his organization. The last thing I want to do is say something out of nothing."

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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