Billick sends condolences to Dungy family

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ravens & Nfl

December 23, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

Wearing a crestfallen look as he trudged off the practice field, Ravens coach Brian Billick offered up his condolences to friend and former colleague Tony Dungy, whose son died near Tampa, Fla., yesterday morning.

Billick worked with Dungy, now coach of the Indianapolis Colts, on the Minnesota Vikings staff from 1992-95. Dungy and Billick have remained friends through the years, and Billick said he knew 18-year-old James Dungy.

"There is not much I can give you," a shaken Billick said. "That is not something I can address right now, personally. Obviously, our hearts go out to Tony and Lauren. That's about all I can give you right now."

Dungy and Billick coached against each other the first game of the season, with the Colts getting a 24-7 victory. Dungy has taken a leave of absence from the Colts, who play in Seattle tomorrow.

Sams misses practice

Ravens return specialist B.J. Sams (knee) did not practice yesterday. Sams was replaced by Mark Clayton, who might handle kickoffs and punts Sunday night against the Vikings.

Clayton returned punts in college but has not had the chance this season.

"Whatever they ask me to do, I'm ready and prepared," Clayton said.

The Ravens upgraded tight end Darnell Dinkins (ankle) from questionable to probable and downgraded tight end Daniel Wilcox (ankle) from questionable to doubtful.

Center Mike Flynn (ankle) was added to the injury report as probable.

R. Lewis healing in Florida

Linebacker Ray Lewis did not attend Monday night's game and is not expected to be at the stadium when the Ravens play the Vikings.

Lewis had been one of the most vocal injured players in the past, waving a towel on the sideline, but he is recovering from hamstring surgery in South Florida.

"Ray's injured," Billick said. "He's been advised to be where he's at. Initially, there's a real concern with that injury during the course of it with infection. So they strongly advised him to stay put.

"We miss having him here. We'd love having him here. You saw Ray before the surgery, interactive coaching his butt off. It had to be hard for him to sit and watch that game Monday night."

Billick: Thomas victim of own success

With a number of his players still steaming over the Pro Bowl omission of linebacker Adalius Thomas, Billick weighed in on the issue.

Thomas has been one of the Ravens' best players, with 90 tackles, seven sacks and two interceptions. He has also lined up at defensive end, tackle, safety and cornerback.

"He's a victim of his own success," Billick said. "He is a victim of the value he gives to us because he does so many different things. I wish there was a slot for that because he is deserving of it."

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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