After kidney tear, Ivy to be honored

Ravens cornerback receiving courage award for speedy return

Pro Football

March 20, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

The details have been described over and over again, but Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy doesn't seem to mind repeating them.

After suffering a kidney tear during a Monday night football game against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 9 that forced the team plane to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh, the medical staff there informed Ivy that he wouldn't be able to play football for the remainder of the season.

Less than two months later, Ivy, 5 feet 9, 188 pounds, was back on the field, intercepting a pass and registering a sack that led to a fumble recovery and touchdown return in a 27-0 thumping of - of all teams - the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That turn of events has not been lost on Ivy.

"It's funny that you ask that because I did have to make the emergency landing in Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh doctors told me that I wouldn't be able to play for the rest of the year," Ivy said last week. "I don't know. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I had a breakout game against the Steelers, and it was just rough sledding for the rest of the way for them."

Ivy is the Ravens' representative for the Ed Block Courage Award and will be one of 32 NFL players and personnel to be honored at the 29th annual Ed Block Courage Awards tonight at Martin's West in Woodlawn.

Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is also scheduled to be there after being named the Assistant Coach of the Year by Pro Football Weekly; Johnny Holliday, the voice of the University of Maryland football and men's basketball teams, will be inducted into the Baltimore Sports Media Hall of Fame; and Ravens tight end Todd Heap will participate during the presentation.

Ivy can chuckle about his experience, but he understands how perilous his situation was after the injury. He missed three consecutive games and was permitted little physical exertion to enable the kidney to heal.

"It was a scary experience," he said. "But after I talked with the doctors back in Baltimore and they told me that it would take a little while to heal, they assured me that there would be no complications. I took a post-CAT scan, and everything seemed fine. Then they gave me the green light to go."

Ivy's fortitude and desire to return caught the attention of his teammates, who voted him as the team's selection for the Ed Block Courage Award, which is named after the former trainer of the Baltimore Colts who was renowned as a humanitarian.

"I was somewhat surprised," Ivy said after Ravens coach Brian Billick announced the voting results before the end of the regular season. "Of course I was honored because a lot of other guys were overcoming injuries. Guys like [safety] Ed Reed, who was overcoming an ankle [injury], and [linebacker] Ray [Lewis] was getting over his hamstring injury. ... It's an honor that my teammates thought that I had courage and that I was there for the team."

Ivy said he is especially pleased to receive his award on the same night that Ryan will be accepting his. Ryan coached Ivy at Oklahoma as defensive coordinator.

"It will definitely mean something," Ivy said of Ryan's presence at the ceremony. "Rex believed in me. He believed that I was well enough to go out there and help the team be successful. I'm just grateful to have him and the rest of my coaches supporting me and waiting until I got back healthy to play the game that I love."

Other players who are expected to attend are Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne and Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman.

Doors open at 5 p.m., and tickets are available. A table of 10 seats can be purchased for $1,250, while individual tickets are $150 each. For more information, call (410) 821-6252.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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