Ivy has spots well-covered

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Billick: Ogden retirement rumor false

Rimpf severely injures his hamstring

August 09, 2006|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

In replacing Deion Sanders, the Ravens have gone from "Prime Time" to a player who works overtime.

Corey Ivy, who was signed as a free agent on March 23, has taken hold of Sanders' old nickel back spot this training camp as well as some other jobs.

In addition to covering the slot receiver on passing situations, he is expected to be a major player on special teams, the top reserve behind starting cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle and the backup dime back (sixth defensive back).

"He really has worked to make himself a tremendous player now," said defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who coached Ivy at the University of Oklahoma in 1998. "He has that toughness and that heart you look for in players. Those guys are hard to keep off the field."

The Ravens had envisioned David Pittman to be the team's nickel back when they drafted him in the third round. Pittman, who played at Division I-AA Northwestern State, had been slow in adjusting to the pro level before he strained his hamstring last week.

That opened a familiar door for Ivy. From Tampa Bay to St. Louis, Ivy was signed to bolster the special teams but eventually ended up having an impact on defense.

"It's just evolved into something that I've taken advantage of," said Ivy, who had a career-high 60 tackles for the Rams last season. "I've just been taking the coaching and transferring it onto the field, making plays when they present themselves."

Ogden is staying

Disputing a rumor that originated from a local radio station, coach Brian Billick said offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden has not told the team that he is contemplating retirement.

Ogden has missed all of camp because of his father's death. The funeral was Friday.

"I've talked to Jonathan. He's got some things to sort out," Billick said. "We have to give him the appropriate time. Certainly, he's got to be mentally right and emotionally right. But I have had no conversation with anybody - Jonathan included - where [retirement] has been intimated at all."

Adam Terry has replaced the nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle in the lineup.

Rimpf hurt

The Ravens had their first major injury of camp, when backup offensive lineman Brian Rimpf severely injured his hamstring Monday.

Billick called it a "possible tear," which could mean the injury is a season-ending one. Rimpf, a seventh-round pick in 2004, started the final seven games at right guard last season after Keydrick Vincent went down with a groin injury.

The Ravens' top backup at guard this season is Chris Chester, a second-round draft pick who has been working at right guard with the second-team offense.

Franklin moves up

Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin practiced with the Ravens' first team yesterday. He was filling in for first-round draft pick Haloti Ngata, who remains sidelined by a sprained ligament in his left knee that he suffered in Saturday's scrimmage against the Washington Redskins.

Franklin has primarily served as a backup, and said that he enjoyed the opportunity but that it doesn't really matter whom he practices with.

"I don't think it's that much of a difference really," Franklin said. "Our ones and our twos really makes no difference. I think we've got pretty good depth this year."

End zone

After acknowledging a concern about the depth at receiver, Billick was asked if the Ravens could add another veteran. "There's always that possibility," he said. ... There is still no timetable on the return of receiver Clarence Moore (hernia), who is still on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Katie Carrera and Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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