Reed practices


`we'll wait, see'

Decision on status to come tomorrow

Demps out rest of season, Billick says



Ed Reed practiced for the third straight day, increasing the likelihood the Ravens will have their playmaking safety tomorrow against the Houston Texans for the first time since mid-October.

Reed suffered a high ankle sprain Oct. 16 and has missed the past six games. Although he returned to practice last week, the Ravens decided a couple of hours before kickoff not to play Reed against the Cincinnati Bengals.

With an increased workload in practice this week, Reed has made it through with little problem.

"We'll see on Sunday," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He's had a good week, but we'll wait and see."

Without Reed, the Ravens pass defense has dropped from fourth (167 yards per game) to ninth (184.5) in the NFL. The Ravens have also failed to get an interception in half of those games.

Reed's return could not have come at a more opportune time for the Ravens, who will be without fellow starting safety Will Demps the rest of the season.

Demps partially tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against the Bengals. Although the injury was first thought to be serious, some believed Demps could be back in four weeks, but Billick ruled that out yesterday, placing the safety on injured reserve.

As for Reed, the Ravens would prefer to ease him in slowly against Houston.

"Ed Reed, by way of example, when a player goes, he has got to be ready to go the whole game," Billick said. "Is that a smart thing to do? If we can control it and have the option, 65 snaps would not be a good thing for Ed, so we might temper it if we can."

Neuheisel job watch

With the close of the college football regular season today, multiple coaching vacancies are expected, and Ravens quarterbacks coach Rick Neuheisel will likely be in the running for a few.

San Diego State will decide shortly after its game with Hawaii whether to fire coach Tom Craft. Speculation has Neuheisel as a potential replacement.

"That job is not open, so there is nothing to comment on," Neuheisel said.

Neuheisel was also rumored to be in the running for the Temple job, which remains open.

Wins vs. draft

For those Ravens fans who are fine with every mounting loss, realizing the team moves up in the draft correspondingly, Billick wants to make something clear heading into tomorrow's game - you cannot have it both ways.

"I understand that," Billick said. "Are those the ones booing on Sunday if we're not doing so well? I hope they remember that."

Billick also said he thinks all the fans truly want a win.

"I don't believe that, come Sunday, in those three hours, that they want [a loss] to happen," he said. "Maybe afterward you can intellectualize a little bit, but I don't believe there's going to be a soul in that stadium that isn't fired up to go out and get a win."

End zone

The Ravens signed linebacker Dennis Haley from the practice squad to the active roster in place of Demps. ... The Ravens added end Tony Weaver (back) to the injury report as probable. Ray Lewis (thigh) was downgraded from questionable to doubtful. Lewis, Orlando Brown (back) and Chris McAlister (thigh) did not practice yesterday. Brown and McAlister remained questionable. ...

Billick said running back Jamel White could play up to 25 snaps against the Texans. White was signed Wednesday. Chester Taylor (foot) is questionable but did practice yesterday. ... The Texans turned in 300 tickets. The tickets are for sale through Ticketmaster.

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