Ryan 'Childish,' Kruger Says

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Jets Coach Apologizes For Remark About Number

August 19, 2009|By Jamison Hensley and Edward Lee | Jamison Hensley and Edward Lee,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com and edward.lee@baltsun.com

Not taking Rex Ryan's criticism lightly, Paul Kruger lashed back at the former defensive coordinator, calling his comments "childish."

Ryan, who is in his first season as the New York Jets coach, said Monday that he was "disappointed that they gave [Michael McCrary's No. 99] jersey to some rookie who hasn't proven" anything.

Kruger didn't read what Ryan said or hear a sound bite. But people have relayed the remarks to him.

"In my opinion, it's kind of childish," said Kruger, the team's second-round pick this year. "He doesn't know me. He doesn't understand what I can do. He's never seen me. So I think it's a little unprofessional, but it really doesn't affect me. It doesn't bother my game. I'm still going to work hard every day."

Kruger added, "If he's focused on stuff like that, then I think we've got a pretty good chance" Monday.

A day later, Ryan backed off his criticism, saying, "I got carried away. It was more of a shock to my system. ... I shouldn't talk about somebody else's football team."

McCrary said Tuesday that the Ravens had informed him they were giving his number to Kruger.

"They said he resembled me as far as having the same passion and desire I play with when I was on the field," McCrary said. "I wish him the best of luck and I've heard nothing but good things about him. I look forward to seeing him play."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the only number that will be held back this season is No. 57 for O.J. Brigance, the Ravens' director of player development, who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive and fatal disease that shuts down nerve cells responsible for movement.

"Everybody knows the inspiration that [Brigance] has brought to our team," Harbaugh said.

The No. 57 - which Brigance wore as a member of the Ravens' 2000 Super Bowl championship team - became available again when linebacker Bart Sc ott signed with the Jets as a free agent.

Harbaugh said there is no animosity between the team and Ryan, who was with the Ravens for 10 seasons.

In fact, Harbaugh approached the Ravens' public relations staff about putting together a pre-game tribute to Ryan. The Ravens are expected to salute Ryan on the video boards before kickoff of Monday's Ravens-Jets preseason game.

"I think it means a lot to go against a Rex Ryan-coached team," Harbaugh said. "We think the world of Rex, Mike [Pettine, Jets defensive coordinator], Jimmy [Leonhard] and Bart. You don't go through a season like we went through without it meaning a ton. We'll be their biggest fans, most of the time. We know what they're building there, and we respect it."

Rolle 'bored' on sidelines

Veteran cornerback Samari Rolle said he has become frustrated by a recurring neck injury that has sidelined him for all of training camp.

The 12-year veteran said the neck problems came back this offseason when he began lifting weights. He has seen two neck specialists and doesn't know when he will begin practicing.

"Some of the symptoms I have make sense, and some of them don't," he said. "But I'm not going out there until everything is fine, and the Ravens won't send me out there until everything is fine.

He added: "I want to go out there and participate. Training camp is a grind, but I'd rather be out there than doing what I'm doing, which is nothing. I'm bored."

Rolle was expected to be the team's nickel back this season and top backup behind Domonique Foxworth and Fabian Washington.

Plenty of arms

After going with three quarterbacks for most of training camp, the Ravens now have five, which is almost the same number as healthy receivers (seven).

The Ravens signed Cleo Lemon and Drew Willy days after John Beck injured his throwing shoulder. But Beck bounced back more quickly than expected, leaving the Ravens with a surplus of arms. The Ravens' top two quarterbacks are Joe Flacco and Troy Smith.

"We've got three quarterbacks that we're focusing on," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "And then those other two guys, if someone goes down, they've got to be ready."

End zone

Wide receiver Mark Clayton (hamstring) caught passes off to the side while running at half speed. He hasn't practiced since Aug. 2. The other receivers who didn't practice were Demetrius Williams (hamstring), Yamon Figurs (undisclosed reason) and Biren Ealy (groin). ... Marshal Yanda, the team's starting right guard before suffering a season-ending knee injury last season, has begun rotating with Chris Chester at right guard with the first-team offense. ... Linebackers Terrell Suggs (strained left heel) and Dannell Ellerbe (brace on right knee) and offensive tackle Stefan Rodgers (right leg) also did not practice. ... As part of the Ravens' Military Appreciation Day, the first 200 military members in uniform at this afternoon's practice will have reserved bleacher seating. ... There is no morning practice Wednesday.

Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston contributed to this article.

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