Get out those purple leis

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

it's Pro Bowl time

Up to 12 Ravens could be chosen for Hawaii

team glad to rejoin fans

December 15, 2006|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun Reporter

The Ravens could start reaping the rewards of their success next week.

There is a solid chance that the Ravens (10-3) could break the team record for Pro Bowl selections when the announcement is made Tuesday. The Ravens could send as many as 12 players to the all-star event, which would shatter the mark of eight that was set in 2003.

A bulk of the Pro Bowl selections should come from the team's top-ranked defense, where eight (Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Adalius Thomas, Trevor Pryce, Terrell Suggs, Kelly Gregg, Ed Reed and Chris McAlister) have a shot to go to Hawaii. Tackle Jonathan Ogden and tight end Todd Heap also could make it from the Ravens' offense.

On special teams, kicker Matt Stover and leading tackler Gary Stills could get nods.

But the celebration won't be as jubilant if Gregg, the team's popular nose tackle, doesn't make his first Pro Bowl.

"I can't imagine a guy that the team would want that more for than Kelly Gregg," coach Brian Billick said. "Based on the people you talk to after we play them, it should be a guarantee. Unfortunately, we don't play everybody. He certainly deserves it."

The Pro Bowl teams are determined on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches.

Home, sweet home

A week after playing in one of the toughest stadiums to play in December, the Ravens return home to a place that is building a reputation, as well.

The Ravens are tied with the Denver Broncos for the NFL's best home record (40-14) since 2000.

"My daughter was at that [Kansas City] game and afterward, she said, `Dad, our fans are louder than those people.' And they are," Billick said. "What do you think the advantage would be on our surface [Sunday against the Cleveland Browns] with Adalius Thomas, Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce coming off the edge when those tackles can't hear the snap count?"

End zone

While keeping the No. 1 overall ranking for a second straight week, the Ravens' defense is now tops the NFL in fewest points allowed (13.1 points per game). The Ravens have allowed one or no touchdowns in four straight games. ... Wide receiver Derrick Mason (thigh) returned to practice yesterday but remains questionable. Running back Jamal Lewis (illness) was added as probable.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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