Clayton set to fill in on punt returns vs. Chiefs

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ravens Notebook

December 07, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

Mark Clayton, not Corey Ivy, will return punts for the Ravens on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Clayton and rookie Cory Ross returned punts during the portion of yesterday's practice open to the media, and Ivy said afterward that he was not a part of those plans.

Informed that he was listed first on the team's depth chart in punt returns, Ivy said: "Don't believe everything you read." Ivy returned two punts for 7 yards in last Thursday's 13-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Clayton and Ross participated in returns to offset the loss of specialist B.J. Sams, who will miss the rest of the season after fracturing his right ankle in Cincinnati.

Clayton, who returned six punts for 30 yards last season, said he is looking forward to it.

"It would be another opportunity to help this team," Clayton said. "I've stayed prepared for whatever the situation and for whatever could happen. In this case, they need me back there to return punts. I'm there."

Although coach Brian Billick acknowledged the risk of asking one of his two starting wide receivers to return punts, Clayton - who leads the teams in receiving yards with 651 on 52 receptions and has scored three touchdowns - said he has no such worries.

"You just go out there and play football," Clayton said. "If an injury happens, then it happens, and if it doesn't, then it's great, and we're just having fun. ... I know that everything will be all right."

The diminutive Ross, who is 5 feet 6 and 201 pounds, has been inactive for all 12 games this season, but will get his first opportunity Sunday.

"It's unfortunate how I got the chance, but that's the way football is," said Ross, who was introduced to the media by linebacker Bart Scott as "Kirby Puckett." "I'm just going to get in here and do the things I can do to help this team win."

Vincent `ready to go'

Right guard Keydrick Vincent participated in his first full practice yesterday and declared himself available to play in Kansas City on Sunday.

"They got it strengthened up, and I'm ready to go," said Vincent, who is listed as questionable after missing the Ravens' past three games with a strained groin.

Rookie Chris Chester has been starting in Vincent's place and has performed admirably. But if he can play, the coaching staff might start Vincent, who, at 6-5, 325 pounds, outweighs Chester by 20 pounds and stands two inches taller.

Cody on the mend

Linebacker Dan Cody said he did not fully tear the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and is targeting the Dec. 17 home game against the Cleveland Browns as his earliest return date.

Cody, who partially tore the ligament during the first quarter of the team's 27-0 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 26, said he has jogged, rode a bike and lifted weights with his left leg with little soreness or complication.

"It feels really good," Cody said, adding that surgery during the offseason is not planned. "I haven't sprinted on it or anything yet, but I would anticipate being back next week, assuming there's a spot there."

Cody is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Chiefs. Running back Musa Smith also is doubtful with a neck injury that limited him to riding a stationary bike during the portion of yesterday's practice open to the media.

Tight end Daniel Wilcox (hamstring) and linebacker Dennis Haley (ankle) are questionable.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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