Brown put on injured reserve


Raven has back injury

move may end career of offensive tackle


Ravens & NFL


The Ravens placed right tackle Orlando Brown on injured reserve, a move that might end the career of one of the most volatile players ever to put on a team uniform.

Brown has missed the past three games with a back injury he sustained in a car accident. The injury was not believed to be serious at first, but spasms have kept Brown out of practice.

Tony Pashos will continue to start for Brown the remainder of the season. Center Thatcher Szalay, who was with the Ravens during training camp, was signed yesterday to take Brown's roster spot.

"Unfortunately for Orlando, the accident he had started him on a cycle with the back spasms," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It just compacted his lack of ability to train and rehab and stay up in conditioning the things that he's been fighting all year long with regards to the knee, the quad and that type of thing.

"Hopefully his presence, him still being around, will still help us out."

Brown could not be reached for comment.

As for where this leaves Brown's career, Billick acknowledged the player would have to make some decisions at the end of the season.

Brown returned to the Ravens in 2003 after missing three seasons with an eye injury. Brown started 13 games that year, helping pave the way for a 2,066-yard season by Jamal Lewis while injecting vigor and aggression into his fellow linemen.

But Brown's fiery attitude went too far in a playoff game in January 2004. He was hit with two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties in the Ravens' 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Injuries and age have slowed Brown considerably this season, during which he rotated with Pashos through much of the first nine games. It is hard to imagine the Ravens bringing Brown, who also played with the team from 1996 to 1998, back for another year.

"He is a warrior," left guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "He's fought through a lot of things. It just finally caught up with him. His back, his knee. ... Definitely, we're going to miss him."

Injury update

Right guard Keydrick Vincent (thigh) will not play tomorrow. Brian Rimpf will start his fourth straight game in place of Vincent. The Ravens made no other adjustments to their injury report. Cornerback Chris McAlister (thigh) and Mulitalo (knee) missed part of team drills in practice.

Travel plans

Billick said he considered flying the team into Denver yesterday to adjust to the altitude but decided on taking a late flight this evening.

Opposing players have been known to experience shortness of breath playing in Denver, and the Broncos have won 10 straight games in December at home.

"We're going to go a little bit later and try not to breathe a lot in the morning and save it for the game in the afternoon," Billick said. "The altitude's a factor."

Big point spread

The 14-point spread represents the most that the Ravens have been underdogs by since 2002, but linebacker Terrell Suggs says he is unfazed by the number.

"The game is played on the field and not on paper," Suggs said. "These predictions are predicted probably by somebody that's never touched a football field."

Shanahan on Boller

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan had kind words to say about Kyle Boller the quarterback, but he was even more complimentary about Boller the golfer.

Shanahan and Boller played golf together at Lake Tahoe during the offseason. Boller's golf drive is apparently as impressive as his 50-yard throws from his knees.

"I couldn't hit two drives to catch up with him," Shanahan said. "I have never seen a guy hit it that far."

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