Burgess: 'I've Just Got To Keep Playing'



Linebacker Still Upbeat After Two Injury-shortened Seasons

August 08, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Prescott Burgess isn't stowing a horseshoe in his gear, knocking on every piece of wood he sees or making a point to avoid walking near ladders.

Although his first two seasons in the NFL were cut short by injury, the outside linebacker remains optimistic he can help the Ravens.

"I'm not superstitious," he said Friday with a smile. "My first two years, luck was not on my side. But I feel great. I got stronger in the offseason. That plays a big part in how I'm playing right now. I just hope the coaches see that I'm a player that they want to have on the team and that they can put me out on the field at any position and I'll get the job done."

Since Burgess was drafted in the sixth round out of Michigan in 2007, his opportunities have been short-lived. In his rookie year, he played mostly special teams and made seven tackles in eight games before tearing a quadriceps.

Last season, he didn't even make it to Week 1, breaking his left forearm and finding himself back on injured reserve.

"They were injuries that wouldn't normally happen to a player," Burgess said. "I just have to overcome all of the things that have happened to me. I've just got to keep playing. ... I've just got to keep coming and go hard on each play every day."

Billed as an outside linebacker, Burgess has been learning the interior positions as well, and coach John Harbaugh believes he's making progress.

"I think he's done a good job as far as working," Harbaugh said. "Outwardly, he looks fine."

Injury update

Starting offensive tackle Jared Gaither and inside linebacker Tavares Gooden did not practice Friday, and the timetable for their return is up in the air.

Gooden's is perhaps the more serious injury of the two, as he developed complications from surgery for a sports hernia last winter. Gooden, who did not participate in Thursday's afternoon session, said he's not concerned about the injury.

"My body got a little fatigued," said Gooden, who is expected to replace Bart Scott as a starter alongside Ray Lewis. "Nothing's torn. I'm good."

Gaither said he tweaked his left trapezius near the end of Friday's morning practice. But like Gooden, Gaither said the injury is minor and that he hopes to return to practice today.

Fellow offensive tackle Oniel Cousins appeared to seriously injure his left knee, but the third-round pick in last year's draft was able to walk off under his own power. There was no update on Cousins.

Mason's merit badge

Ask and ye shall receive, Derrick Mason.

After the wide receiver jokingly complained that there was no marching band or even Girl Scouts to greet him after he ended his 20-day retirement Sunday, the Ravens arranged for Girl Scout Troop 1594 from Westminster to play "Hot Cross Buns" on flutes and recorders and give Mason several boxes of cookies after practice. Mason said he was surprised by the welcome.

"I kind of walked past them for a second, and then I had to look at the little jackets that they had on because my daughter was a Girl Scout," he said. "So I had to look at the jacket and [did] a double-take. Then I saw their signs, and I had to walk over there. I was surprised, but it was a good surprise for me. I asked for the marching band and I asked for the Girl Scouts, and the Ravens sent me Girl Scouts. You can't ask for anything better."

End zone

Without Gaither and left guard Ben Grubbs, the first offensive line had Michael Oher at left tackle, David Hale at left guard, Matt Birk at center, Chris Chester at right guard and Marshal Yanda at right tackle. When Cousins lined up at right tackle, Yanda moved to right guard. ... For the second straight day, the Ravens were blessed with mild temperatures and cool breezes. "It's funny because as coaches we always say, 'We want the hot weather.' We've had plenty of hot weather," Harbaugh said Thursday. "I think you get more done on a day like this, and sometimes it comes right at the right time." ... Former running back and 2006 fourth-round pick P.J. Daniels visited camp Friday. ... The team will have just one practice Sunday, at 2:45 p.m.

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