Deciding whether to return not a snap for center Flynn

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

December 29, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

With all the attention surrounding Jonathan Ogden's possible retirement, the future of center Mike Flynn has gone unnoticed.

But that has been typical for Flynn, an undrafted free agent out of Maine who has quietly become an eight-year starter for the Ravens.

"When I retire, I'm going to make sure I don't do it after J.O. because nobody is going to care," Flynn said, laughing. "I've played a few games around here and I'm old, too."

Joking aside, Flynn said his decision whether to come back will be based on whether the team wants him to return and how he feels about playing.

"When you have a tough year like this and you're late in your career, it takes a lot out of you physically and even more mentally," he said. "It's like any other guy in this locker room who has 10-plus years. You got to go through a lot of emotions when the season is over."

It's possible the Ravens will want to move in a younger direction at center.

Flynn is scheduled to make $2 million in the final year of his contract, and the Ravens have 2006 second-round pick Chris Chester waiting to step in at Flynn's spot.

"Mike's been an asset to this team for a long time," coach Brian Billick said. "It's reaching that point in his career where -- like we've talked about with Jonathan -- you have to make some decisions about what you want to do and what you are willing to do in the offseason."

If tomorrow is his last game, Flynn can't complain.

Before settling into the Ravens' starting lineup in 2000, he didn't know whether he would have an NFL career. He played on two practice squads (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' and Jacksonville Jaguars') and was cut twice.

"Once I played two years, everything after that was gravy," Flynn said. "It's been a pretty good ride for a guy from Maine."

Injury update

The Ravens' top three tight ends -- Todd Heap (hamstring), Daniel Wilcox (thigh) and Quinn Sypniewski (concussion) -- have been declared out. The Ravens have only one healthy tight end, Lee Vickers, and could promote Jake Nordin from the practice squad.

Billick hedged on whether Vickers would start, saying, "We'll adapt some other ways as well."

Wide receiver Mark Clayton, who is questionable with a back injury, did not practice. But Billick expects him to play.

In total, the Ravens have listed seven players as out: Heap, Wilcox, Sypniewski, quarterback Kyle Boller (concussion), running back Willis McGahee (ribs), safety Gerome Sapp (thigh) and wide receiver Demetrius Williams (ankle).

Three players are questionable: Clayton, running back Mike Anderson (hamstring) and linebacker Ray Lewis (back).

Harrison voted Steelers' MVP

Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison was voted the Steelers' Most Valuable Player this season, an award that came three years after the Ravens cut him.

An undrafted rookie, he was cut twice by the Steelers before the Ravens allocated him to NFL Europe in 2004. After a solid season there, he rubbed some Ravens the wrong way and was released 10 days after joining the team in offseason workouts.

"He was very, very raw when we had him," Billick said. "... It's fabulous to see him grow into a Pro Bowl-caliber player."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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