Dilfer not giving Billick pass for releasing him

October 02, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN REPORTER

The Ravens will face their Super Bowl-winning quarterback for a third time Sunday when they play on the road against the San Francisco 49ers.

Trent Dilfer, who led the Ravens to the NFL title in the 2000 season, has officially replaced injured quarterback Alex Smith, the 49ers announced yesterday.

It's a reunion that comes with strong emotions.

Eight months ago, Dilfer told The Sun he remains extremely bitter about Brian Billick's decision to replace him with Elvis Grbac after the championship season and doesn't plan to speak to the Ravens coach again.

Responding yesterday, Billick said the grudge is "regrettable."

"I have huge respect for Trent," Billick said. "I can understand why this is something that he doesn't want to let go. I don't know if there is anything that I'm ever going to be able to say or do to rectify it."

Dilfer became the first quarterback in NFL history to win the Super Bowl and lose his job before the next season.

He went 11-1 as the Ravens' starter after replacing Tony Banks midway through the 2000 season but struggled at times with his accuracy. Because the Ravens had such a dominating defense, there was a perception that the Ravens won in spite of Dilfer.

Dilfer has played against the Ravens in two games, for the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns.

"[Billick] grossly misunderstood the talent of that football team, myself specifically," Dilfer said earlier this year. "I totally agree with so many things he did. But to this day, I am so sad I didn't have the chance to face the challenge of repeating."

The decision wasn't made by Billick alone. The Ravens chose to make a change at quarterback after extensive personnel meetings that were headed by general manager Ozzie Newsome.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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