When the smoke finally cleared Wednesday on the brouhaha over the officiating in the Ravens-New England Patriots game, the Ravens got a measure of vindication, if not exactly the last word.
There will be no fines, which is a point for the Ravens.
Neither will there be any I-told-you-so's, which is coach John Harbaugh's way of ensuring a truce with the officials.
"It was back and forth," Harbaugh said of a two-day dialogue with NFL officials. "They confirmed everything, and we're not allowed to talk about any of that stuff. It's between the league and the team. And it's an opportunity for us to understand better, for them to understand better. When it's all said and done, we get better, the officiating gets better; that's all part of the process."
In the wake of a 27-21 loss to the Patriots, the Ravens were upset with where the ball was spotted on a number of occasions and with two personal foul, roughing-the passer penalties that appeared to give special consideration to quarterback Tom Brady. After suggesting the fouls were "embarrassing to the game," linebacker Ray Lewis escaped a fine for criticizing officials.
"It's a respect factor," Lewis said Wednesday about the absence of any fines. "Our league does a great job of controlling the outcomes of games and what goes on in between the lines. You can never discredit that. I think they understood where we were coming from. I think there is a great level of respect from both sides."
Ron Winter's officiating crew flagged the Ravens for nine penalties worth 85 yards. The Ravens had been penalized a total of 20 times in their first three games.
Burgess is back
After a brief stint on the Patriots' practice squad, linebacker Prescott Burgess was back on familiar ground with the Ravens on Wednesday. Signed this week to replace injured Brendon Ayanbadejo, Burgess got his old locker back and a place on special teams.
"I've only been gone for a week and a half," Burgess, a sixth-round draft pick in 2007, said. "I haven't forgotten the plays. I'm preparing to be ready if they call my number."
Burgess was traded to the Patriots on Sept. 22 for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in what amounted to a two-week loan. Burgess was almost immediately placed on the practice squad.
Asked whether the Patriots sought information about the Ravens while he was there, Burgess at first said, "They really didn't." Then he acknowledged that they had.
"If they asked a question, I gave them the best information that I had," he said. "I'm here with the Ravens now, [and I've] just got to get ready for the Bengals."
Despite missing two games, Burgess is tied for sixth in special teams tackles with five.
New player reps
Tight end Todd Heap and cornerback Chris Carr were voted player representatives for the NFL Players Association last week. Heap replaces the departed Matt Stover, who worked for the union most of his NFL career.
Their appointment comes at a critical time in union history. The owners opted out of the current collective bargaining agreement and if no agreement is reached with the union by March, it will potentially signal the end of the salary-cap era.
Said Heap: "You want to be a little more informed, and I think the main thing is keeping the team informed. I think that is the biggest responsibility. Guys are going to come to you with questions and you need to know the answer or get the answers quickly."
Carr, in his first year with the team, said he was excited to be part of what could be a historic process.
"That's probably one of the reasons I wanted to be involved," Carr said. "I want to know exactly what's going on."
Left tackle Jared Gaither wore a neck brace to Wednesday morning's walk-through at Owings Mills and said he has a chance to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, although that may be a stretch. He did not practice Wednesday.
Three other Ravens also missed practice: linebacker Jarret Johnson (shoulder), and wide receivers Derrick Mason (neck) and Demetrius Williams (illness). Carr was limited by a groin injury.
Linebacker Tavares Gooden (shoulder), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (back) and safety Ed Reed (knee) all participated fully in practice.
Sitting out Wednesday's practice for the Bengals were running back Cedric Benson (hip), linebackers Rashad Jeanty (finger) and Rey Maualuga (knee), and safety Chinedum Ndukwe (hamstring).
Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.