Reed's availability for opener in doubt

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

August 20, 2008|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

The Ravens are less confident that Ed Reed will be ready for the regular-season opener.

A week after downplaying Reed's concerns, coach John Harbaugh said yesterday that it's not a lock that the Pro Bowl safety will be in the starting lineup when the Ravens kick off the season Sept. 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Reed missed the first two preseason games because of a shoulder injury.

"I think it's a little more slow progress than we all thought it was going to be," Harbaugh said.

"Maybe Ed had a sense of that at one time because he's the guy that feels it. We're still optimistic that he'll be there the first week, but I don't think you can say 'definitely' right now."

After spending the first two weeks of Ravens training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list, Reed returned to practice, but he has been wearing a red jersey, which signifies no hitting.

Last week, Reed was noncommittal about being able to play in the opener, saying the injury was "more in-depth than you've been hearing about."

He did not appear during the open locker room period yesterday, but he continued to practice with the team.

If Reed can't play - he has started 37 straight games - four-year veteran Jim Leonhard seems to be the leading candidate to replace him. Leonhard, who started six games last season for the Buffalo Bills, started in place of Reed for the Ravens' first two preseason games.

QB waiting game

After declining again to name his starting quarterback for Saturday's preseason game against the St. Louis Rams, Harbaugh said the Ravens might not know their starter for the regular-season opener until the week leading up to it.

Kyle Boller and Troy Smith have not separated themselves in the quarterback battle. Harbaugh also ruled out starting rookie first-round pick Joe Flacco in the preseason.

Harbaugh said the Ravens could wait to name a starter from anywhere after the third preseason game until five minutes before the regular-season opener against the Bengals.

McGahee optimistic

Speaking to reporters for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last week, Willis McGahee said he has a timetable for his return.

"I will be ready [for the regular season], but I don't know about playing in the preseason," the running back said.

End zone

Starting offensive tackle Jared Gaither (Maryland), who has been out since injuring his right ankle July 26, said he doesn't know when he'll return. "Whenever I'm healthy, that's when I'm going to show back up," he said. "I don't know if it's going to be for these last two preseason games or for [Sept. 7]." ... Edgar Jones has changed positions, going from linebacker to tight end. He had previously split time at both spots during offseason camps, but he primarily played linebacker in training camp. He has also changed numbers, going from No. 91 to No. 46. ... Fullback Le'Ron McClain has also switched numbers, trading in No. 37 for No. 33 (which was the number of Justin Green, who was cut last week). McClain had worn No. 33 since high school and has it tattooed on his arm.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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