Ravens get Monday night opener at Bengals

Kickoff date Sept. 10

road start old story for Billick-led team

NFL Meetings notebook

March 27, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun Reporter

PHOENIX -- The Ravens will open the 2007 season on Monday Night Football, playing the Bengals in Cincinnati as part of a national television doubleheader.

The season opener between the AFC North rivals is scheduled for Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

"I think it says to the fans that the league has high hopes," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said after the news was announced at the NFL owners meetings yesterday. "If I'm a fan, I'm saying, `Good, maybe I have reason to be an optimist because the league obviously thinks highly of us and Cincinnati's ability to rebound from a mediocre season.'"

It will mark the second time the Ravens have started a season in prime time. In 2005, the Ravens lost their season opener to the Indianapolis Colts, 24-7, in a nationally televised Sunday night game.

On the downside, this is the seventh time in coach Brian Billick's nine-year tenure that the Ravens will open a season on the road. The team has traditionally started on the road because of conflicts with the Orioles' schedule, but the Orioles are off on Sept. 10.

"To me, I think you are more apt to get lucky on the road earlier in the season than you are at the end of it," Bisciotti said. "I think it can work to your advantage."

The league also announced that the defending Super Bowl champion Colts will open the NFL season against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 6.

More Ravens picks

The Ravens tied the New England Patriots with an NFL-best four compensatory picks in next month's draft, the NFL announced.

The Ravens received two additional picks in the fourth round (134th and 137th overall), one in the fifth (174th) and another in the sixth (207th).

The team had hopes it would receive a compensatory pick as high as the third round, but the NFL gave out only four extra third-round selections (San Diego, San Francisco, Indianapolis and Oakland).

The Ravens received these compensatory picks based on a league formula after losing unrestricted free agents Tony Weaver, Maake Kemoeatu, Chester Taylor and Will Demps last season.

Delay on policy

A stronger player conduct policy will not be completed at this week's meetings, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

He said he expects to have a stricter plan in place by next month and could announce harsher punishments before the draft.

"It's a complicated issue and there are no simple answers," Goodell said. "We want to find out what is working well with the clubs and what is not working."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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