Bannan keeps head in game


When he can't practice, lineman learns from sideline

August 15, 2008|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

Although Justin Bannan hasn't practiced every day, the defensive tackle hasn't been absent from a practice yet.

While several of his teammates who have suffered injuries were absent from the practice fields at McDaniel College in Westminster, Bannan has attended every session despite enduring what he called some "minor bumps and bruises" that forced him to watch from the sideline for several days two weeks ago.

"I think if you're able to come out here and at least observe what's going on and get some mental reps, why not?" he said. "Some guys can't make it out just because of different kinds of injuries and stuff like that. I was a little banged up, but I was able to come out here and stay in tune with what was going on and - more or less - just keep my mind sharp."

Bannan's attitude jibes nicely with the perception of the NFL, which - while taking injuries seriously - relies on the toughness and strength of its players to burnish the league's reputation and drawing power.

Bannan, who teamed with Dwan Edwards to start in place of Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg last Thursday against the New England Patriots, has built a seven-year career on his ability to line up at nose guard, tackle and end.

"I think I'm a guy that's pretty versatile," he said. "That's something I bring to the table. I think I'm a quick study of things, I'm a quick learner, and I kind of feel like if they ask me to do anything, I can do it. Whatever they need."

Bannan doesn't attract fans the way Ngata and Gregg do, but he doesn't need to. Bannan has earned the admiration of his teammates and coaches.

"He gets the appreciation from us," defensive line coach Clarence Brooks said. "He's got the respect of the coaching staff and the other guys. Everybody on this team, particularly the defense, knows the kind of player that he is and what he does for us."

Phillips is back

With just three healthy cornerbacks practicing Wednesday and yesterday morning, the Ravens re-signed Anwar Phillips, whom they waived Aug. 1 to add running back Alex Haynes.

"I understood what it was," Phillips said of his release. "I'm not happy with what I did today. I was working out, but it's totally different even in practice. I just want to be able to come back and display a better job."

To make room for Phillips, the team waived offensive lineman Isaiah Wiggins.

End zone

Safety Ed Reed did not practice because of an undisclosed condition. "Ed had some issue right before practice that came up last night that he was in the training room," coach John Harbaugh said. "I don't have the details on it yet." ... Harbaugh said he was still awaiting confirmation that linebacker Terrell Suggs - who is embroiled in a dispute with the team over its franchise tag - will show up at the team's facility in Owings Mills next week. "There's a chance," Harbaugh said. "It's up to him. He's making that determination now." ... Running back Willis McGahee (arthroscopic knee surgery) was using crutches at the team hotel. ... Wide receiver Yamon Figurs (paternity leave) returned to practice. ... The team announced an attendance of 85,073 to visit training camp. That's the fourth-largest overall attendance at camp behind 111,492 in 2001, 90,370 in 2002 and 86,872 in 2005, and those years included at least one scrimmage.

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