Running back testing loyalty

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Rookie Pruitt's dad played for Browns

tight end Sypniewski has new look

August 08, 2007|By Patrick Gutierrez | Patrick Gutierrez,SUN REPORTER

Although he is a rookie, Greg Pruitt Jr. has spent time in an NFL locker room before. The running back, whom the Ravens signed as an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina Central, is the son of four-time Pro Bowl running back Greg Pruitt, who spent most of his career with the Cleveland Browns.

The younger Pruitt said his father was excited for him getting an opportunity to audition for an NFL roster spot. He also said, however, his dad isn't exactly thrilled about that opportunity being with the Ravens.

"Him being a Cleveland Brown, he didn't have too much to say," said Pruitt, who did not have any rushing attempts in Saturday's scrimmage against the Washington Redskins. "I tried to give him a Ravens shirt, but he [wouldn't] take it."

The elder Pruitt, who still lives in the Cleveland area, acknowledged that his loyalty would be tested if his son became a Raven. With the tension between the two cities still an issue in Cleveland, he said he would be in a tough spot if the two teams played with his son on the other side.

"I have a dilemma if he makes the team and comes here to play, said Pruitt, who played for the Browns from 1973 to 1981. "I don't know if I can go to the game."

If that scenario occurs, he can thank former teammate Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens general manager played with Pruitt when both were on the Browns but said that had nothing to do with the younger Pruitt being in camp.

"Greg is here on his own merit," Newsome said. "He earned this opportunity by what he did in college."

Sypniewski's orange look

If you see a large man wandering around McDaniel College with what appears to be orange eyes, don't be alarmed. It's backup tight end Quinn Sypniewski, who is wearing tinted contact lenses to improve his pass catching.

The second-year player said his doctor advised him to switch to the colored lenses after offseason laser eye surgery. After talking with teammate Demetrius Williams and other players around the league who used the lenses, the former fifth-round pick decided to try them. So far Sypniewski has been impressed.

"I love it," he said. "They help reduce a lot of the glare and they cut out certain colors so they make everything stand out more. It's definitely an advantage as far as seeing the ball in the air."

Ingenuity pays off

While most autograph seekers were taking their chances among the throngs at McDaniel College, a couple of local teenagers recently displayed some keen ingenuity in trying to acquire players' signatures.

Mandy Buell and Erin McMunn, classmates at Winters Mill, staked out a quiet intersection many players pass through on their way back to the hotel after practice.

With a couple of lawn chairs and a makeshift sign that said "Signature Stop," the 14-year-olds waited by the intersection's stop sign for players to drive up. At one point, kick returner Cory Ross pulled up in his black luxury sedan and gave both girls his autograph.

"Y'all are smart," said Ross as he signed McMunn's football.

Ross was the fourth Raven to stop and sign that morning, although the girls said they did not recognize any of the other signatures.

Still, they were happy to be getting anyone at all.

"Every year we see them come through our neighborhood," Buell said. "We decided this year it was time to try and get them to stop."

Taking a break

Coach Brian Billick canceled today's afternoon practice for two reasons: to avoid the excessive heat and to reward his players for some solid practices. The Ravens will still have their morning practice at 8:15.

"You got to be very aware of why you're going to put guys on the field and put them at risk," Billick said. "If we did it the right way [in practice], we could get done what we need to get done to take the break and get ready for the Eagles. So far, they have fulfilled their end of the bargain."

Because the players are off tomorrow, they won't have to report back to practice until Friday.

End zone

The Ravens' one-hour special teams practice was moved to McDaniel College's gym because of the heat. ... Nose tackle Kelly Gregg, who has been sidelined for a week with a right thigh bruise, now has his knee wrapped. Asked whether he injured his thigh or knee, Gregg said, "It's kind of both."

patrick.gutierrez@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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