Surgery done, Rolle says he'll return next season

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

January 08, 2009|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

After coming back from having in-season neck surgery, Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle said there is "no doubt" he will come back next season.

Rolle, 32, is having one of his best seasons in recent years, intercepting three passes and breaking up 10 others. He also helped force a fumble in the Ravens' playoff win in Miami.

"The only time I think I don't want to play is when I feel like I can't cover my man or when I don't feel like I can play at the level I'm used to playing at," Rolle said.

Rolle was limited to six games last season because of a shoulder injury and his battle with epilepsy. He said he has the epilepsy under control with medication and hasn't had an episode in 10 months.

This season, he injured his neck in the second game of the season but only missed six games after having surgery on it. He has also fought through injuries to his foot, ankle, shoulder and hamstring this season, which makes him appreciate his performance more.

"It's a good feeling to go play and help the team," said Rolle, who is signed through the 2010 season but whose salary jumps to more than $4 million in the final two years of his contract. "It's good to come back and be on a team where football is important again."

Before joining the Ravens in 2005, Rolle spent his first seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans. Asked whether he finds it appropriate that his team needs to go through Nashville to get to the Super Bowl, Rolle said, "It's destiny, I believe."

Ryan to talk with Rams

Rex Ryan, the Ravens' defensive coordinator/assistant head coach, is expected to interview for the head coaching vacancy with the St. Louis Rams and perhaps another team Sunday, a day after the Ravens' playoff game at Tennessee.

Ryan has been linked to the openings with the Rams, Detroit Lions and New York Jets.

"I'm not blessed with a silver tongue like some of these guys," Ryan said of the interview process. "What you see is what you get. I know I'm a great football coach. I know I'm a leader of men, especially guys that play this game, and that's probably my edge over other people."

Meanwhile, Ravens pro personnel director George Kokinis is expected to interview with the Cleveland Browns on Monday for their general manager job.

Same practice routine

Three starters - wide receiver Derrick Mason (shoulder), safety Ed Reed (knee) and tight end Todd Heap (back) - did not practice.

But it has been that way for a month for Mason and Reed, who regularly miss practice during the week and play at a high level on game day.

"Whatever guys can do, they do," coach John Harbaugh said. "I think our guys practice through a lot more stuff sometimes than a lot of people do. I think our guys just do a great job of preparing and getting ready to play."

Linebacker Antwan Barnes (chest) is the only Raven who has been declared out. Rolle (thigh), defensive tackle Justin Bannan (foot), linebacker Jarret Johnson (calf) and kicker Matt Stover (right ankle) were limited in practice.

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