Heat Gets Warm Reception From Some



August 11, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Running back Ray Rice welcomed the heat and humidity to Ravens training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster with open arms. Temperatures reached the high 90s, and the heat index exceeded 100 Monday.

"It's great to us, as a team, pushing through this stuff because these are when games are won in the fourth quarter," Rice said. "You're going to get these games where it's going to be tough. That's what training camp is for."

While Rice was receptive, the weather took a toll on some of his teammates during Monday's practice. Many players took to kneeling down on one knee to catch their breaths, and a plethora of water bottles and Gatorade cans littered both sidelines.

Center Matt Birk was excused from an interview request after the morning session because he lost 15 pounds and required an IV treatment. Several other players experienced cramping.

A few teams - the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins - schedule evening sessions to beat the heat, but the Ravens usually avoid that.

Still, the club took great pains to make life a little easier for the players. They were allowed to wear shells and shorts during the afternoon session, could make their way toward two giant fans blowing water on the sidelines, and were given two water breaks in the morning.

Cornerback Domonique Foxworth said he is adjusting to his first training camp in the Mid-Atlantic after spending his first three seasons with the Denver Broncos.

"It's definitely more difficult here mostly because of the intensity of the practice," he said. "I would say that heat on top of it compounds the intensity, but I would say that in Denver, it was a little easier once you got acclimated to the altitude."

Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who played at Nicholls State, said Monday's heat wasn't bad compared with the weather in Louisiana.

"There's a little breeze here that we don't feel in Louisiana," the rookie said. "It's just that hot heat that burns and stings. It's hard to breathe. Here, it's hot, but you've got a little breeze to cool you off."

Injury update

Wide receiver Demetrius Williams (right hamstring) and tight end Todd Heap (lower back) were held out midway through the morning session and did not practice in the afternoon. Neither injury is considered serious.

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (neck) and wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright (upper body) also did not participate in the afternoon. Defensive end Trevor Pryce, who was dealing with a problem with his left foot in the morning, cut short his involvement in the afternoon.

Wide receivers Mark Clayton (strained left hamstring), Biren Ealy (groin) and Thomas White (hamstring), linebackers Terrell Suggs (strained left heel) and Brendon Ayanbadejo (sprained toe), defensive tackle Lamar Divens (hip) and offensive tackle Stefan Rodgers (foot) did not practice.

End zone

With Heap sidelined by a lower-back issue, tight end L .J. Smith took many of the repetitions with the first offense. ... Free safety Ed Reed was back in his red, noncontact jersey. ... Ben Grubbs (ankle) was back at his usual left guard spot with the first offense. ... Rookie linebacker William VanDeSteeg played in Suggs' position with the first defense. ... When the offense went to an unbalanced alignment, David Hale lined up as the third offensive tackle. ... Former NFL coach Dick Vermeil and former Ravens wide receiver Qadry Ismail visited camp.

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