Kicking off Ravens' season is a step in right direction

The Kickoff

August 11, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

I know it's only August, but I've got Hank Williams Jr. echoing in my head and I have to admit that I am, indeed, ready for some football.

Maybe it's the surge in local optimism that has come with the arrival of veteran quarterback Steve McNair in Baltimore. Maybe it's the prospect of a brand-new soap opera starring Terrell Owens in Dallas. Maybe it's the fact that the next important game played by the Orioles will be with Carlos Lee's agent in November.

It's hard not to be excited about McNair, who will make his competitive debut for the Ravens tonight when the New York Giants visit M&T Bank Stadium for the preseason opener. But don't stop for a beer on the way to your seats or you might miss him.

The first preseason game generally features the first team just long enough for the new players to take a bow. McNair probably will run the offense for two or three possessions and turn it over to Kyle Boller for the rest of the first half. Boller probably will complete a higher percentage of passes, partly because he'll be facing the second-team defense of the Giants and partly to mess with your head.

I'm slightly disappointed in the lack of training camp intrigue so far. The quarterback situation has been resolved. No. 1 draft pick Haloti Ngata signed quickly. Ray Lewis appears healthy and relatively content. Brian Billick and Mike Preston were seen dining recently, though not together.

Frankly, it's been so uneventful I spent one day this week at training camp polishing the rims on Jamal Lewis' monster truck.

Tonight, at least, there will be some early head-knocking, though hopefully no one will come out of it with more than a minor migraine.

This not really just in: Ravens fans - as a sign of solidarity with their Orioles counterparts - have sold thousands of tickets on eBay to Giants fans to make sure the visiting team feels at home.

T.O. clearly feels comfortable in his new surroundings, because he already is starting to crave attention.

He has been restricted to riding a stationary bicycle for the eight sessions of training camp because of a sore hamstring, so yesterday he worked out wearing a bicycle helmet and a jersey from the Discovery Channel cycling team.

The act cracked up teammates and (perhaps more importantly to T.O.) drew a crowd of news photographers at the Cowboys' Oxnard, Calif., training facility, but it drew only a disinterested glance from coach Bill Parcells, who should be a strong candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize if he gets through the season without throwing Owens off a team flight ... at 30,000 feet.

No sense getting worked up about the apparent crude gesture that Miguel Tejada made toward the stands at Rogers Centre during Wednesday's series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays. The gesture, though considered obscene in the United States, actually is a common hand signal in Canada that means "Please trade for me."

Former USC running back LenDale White got into an altercation with teammate Donnie Nickey during drills yesterday at the Tennessee Titans' training camp and allegedly spit in the veteran safety's face.

Nickey, a three-year veteran from Ohio State, took a swing at White before an angry Jeff Fisher got things back under control.

Obviously, I'm siding with White, since he is from USC. He probably was just upset that the Buckeyes were ranked first in the USA Today preseason coaches poll and reacted accordingly, which is completely understandable.

In the interest of equal time, former Baltimore Colt and WBAL football analyst Stan White is just fine with the Buckeyes opening the season as the consensus favorite to win the national championship.

Stan played at Ohio State and his son is the starting fullback at OSU, though I'm sure young Stan - a very bright young man who already is in graduate school -would have chosen USC if given a chance to make up his own mind.

This week's stolen funny sports headline comes from The Onion, the news satire site on the Web: Outgoing Commissioner Tagliabue expected to pardon Dennis Miller before leaving office.

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.