Ravens In Hot Pursuit Of Someone Else To Hit

Ravens Training Camp

August 12, 2009|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,ken.murray@baltsun.com

A heat wave and a head slap precipitated a fight in the Ravens' morning practice at McDaniel College on Tuesday. As luck would have it, the Washington Redskins arrive at M&T Bank Stadium to relieve training camp tensions in the preseason opener Thursday night.

"We're definitely fed up playing against each other," cornerback Frank Walker said after scuffling with wide receiver Yamon Figurs. "We're definitely looking forward to competing against another team this Thursday. We've been competing against each other for two weeks now, and tempers flare."

It was the closest thing to a brawl the Ravens have had this summer, coming on the second straight day of 90-degree-plus temperatures.

Figurs, a third-year veteran scrambling to keep his roster spot, was taken down by Walker after a catch on an out pattern. He got up and slapped Walker on the side of the helmet. Walker, 5 feet 11 and 200 pounds, reacted by slamming Figurs, 5-11 and 185, to the ground. Figurs jumped up and both players threw punches before being engulfed by teammates.

Walker said later he was reacting to the head slap.

"It's competitive out here," he said. "A few plays I had good jams on him and pretty much held him up at the line of scrimmage."

Walker insisted he didn't throw any punches, then modified that to say he didn't throw any after Figurs was on the ground and his helmet came off.

Walker also said coach John Harbaugh lectured him on not taking penalties. Walker's body slam drew a flag from one of the officials the Ravens employ at practice.

On Monday night, the Ravens listened to retired NFL coach Dick Vermeil talk about the high number of penalties that assist scoring drives.

"You have to be smart in those type situations because the second guy is always the one called," Walker said.

Harbaugh "spoke with me briefly on that, and told me to keep playing hard, keep playing fast, keep doing what I have been doing."

Asked whether Harbaugh discourages fighting in practice, Walker said: "Everything is within reason. You're not going to keep chasing a guy down trying to fight. You scuffle, you fight, it's over with. He's not going to say he's for it, but he understands the game, he knows what's going on. And sometimes tempers flare. It's good for some coaches to see if you've got that fight in you."

Harbaugh declined to talk about the fight. Figurs was unavailable for comment, but Walker indicated there was no animosity.

"We leave that on the field," Walker said. "We shook hands. After that, he was all good."

After practice, Walker ran four laps around one of the practice fields with safety Derrick Martin. He said it wasn't punishment but part of his regular conditioning regimen.

Walker, a seven-year veteran out of Tuskegee and celebrated trash-talker, said he has turned down the volume in his on-field dialogue this summer.

"I just wanted to see if my game would change with less chatter because when you chatter, you've got to back it up," he said. "I just wanted to see if it's different; it's not really a big difference. But I'm definitely not a sleeping dog. If you wake me up, I have to crank it back up. I'm not all the way gone."

TODAY

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