Players support grieving Ogden

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Practice canceled as veterans attend funeral of All-Pro lineman's father

August 05, 2006|By EDWARD LEE AND JAMISON HENSLEY | EDWARD LEE AND JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTERS

A day before their scrimmage against the Washington Redskins, the Ravens put family before football.

The team canceled yesterday's afternoon practice at McDaniel College in Westminster so players could attend the funeral of offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden's father. Shirrel Ogden died on July 26.

More than 20 players attended the funeral in Washington, including most of the offensive line, linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed and quarterback Kyle Boller.

Coach Brian Billick, who spoke at the funeral, said after the morning practice that he hoped the tragedy served to remind fans that the players are people, too.

"It reminds us that these guys have personal lives," Billick said after yesterday's morning session. "It just shows you that they have personal lives that have to be adjusted for. ... That has to be respected."

Ogden's grief resonated especially with linemate Edwin Mulitalo, whose father, Moliki, died last August.

"When that happened to my father, I took time to sit back and kind of re-evaluate where my priorities are," Mulitalo said. "Yes, football is great. It's a passion, it's a big part of your life. But with your family, you just never know. Anytime you have time with your family, you just slow down and enjoy every moment."

J. Lewis status for scrimmage unclear

Running back Jamal Lewis may not see much action in today's scrimmage against the Redskins at FedEx Field at noon, but Billick would not rule out his featured back entirely.

Lewis, who tweaked his left hip flexor two weeks before training camp, has been held out of contact drills.

"We'll have to see how he got through the day," Billick said. "We'll see how he feels [today]."

The last time Lewis participated in a scrimmage with the Redskins was in 2000, when he dislocated his left elbow and was sidelined for four weeks.

In other injury-related news, linebacker Dan Cody (sprained ligaments in ankle), cornerback David Pittman (strained hamstring) and wide receiver Rufus Skillern (strained calf) did not practice yesterday.

Hobbled Clayton returns

Wide receiver Mark Clayton (strained hamstring) returned to the field yesterday, participating in individual drills but staying out of contact drills.

Billick did express concern about the injury, which has affected Clayton on two occasions before training camp.

"Guys have got to get that rhythm, that routine," Billick said. "The dichotomy to it is that last year, he was an iron man. He was there all the time. And for a rookie, that's rare. Hopefully, we can get back to that rhythm."

Wide receiver Demetrius Williams (strained hamstring) also took part in individual drills, but like Clayton, was absent from contact drills. Cornerback Chris McAlister and safety Steve Paris, both of whom sat out Thursday's sessions, practiced yesterday.

End zone

Admission to the scrimmage at FedEx Field is free, but parking is $25 per car. ... Offensive coordinator Jim Fassel will not be at today's scrimmage so that he can attend the wedding of his daughter, Jana.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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