Suggs may play for 1st time in 4 weeks

Culpepper to start at quarterback for Lions in place of Stafford

December 10, 2009|By Jamison Hensley and Edward Lee

Terrell Suggs practiced Wednesday for the first time in three weeks, and there's a chance the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker-defensive end could return to the starting lineup Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Suggs has missed the past three games with a sprained ligament in his left knee, but Ravens coach John Harbaugh expressed guarded optimism that Suggs could be available Sunday.

"We're hopeful that we'll get Terrell back this week," Harbaugh said. "It's not a given by any stretch. But there is a chance."

Suggs, who did not make an appearance in the locker room, has received media scrutiny after a Baltimore County woman alleged in a court filing last week that he knocked her down and spilled bleach on her last month after an argument over game-day tickets.

Candace Williams, 26, who identified herself as Suggs' fiancee and the mother of his two children, received a temporary protective order Friday requiring Suggs to stay away from her and vacate their Windsor Mill home until a District Court hearing this Friday.

Suggs told The Baltimore Sun last week that he would not comment on a personal matter and also said he was not involved in a relationship with Williams.

In his first comments regarding Suggs since the restraining order was issued, Harbaugh said he has talked to Suggs about the legal issue.

"He came up and explained it to me, thoroughly, his perspective on it," Harbaugh said. "I understand the schedule going forward as far as what he has to deal with from a personal standpoint. We worked it out as far as the way it'll affect his personal responsibilities here with the Ravens. That's where we're at with it. The rest of it, he's going to deal with that from a personal perspective."

Culpepper to start
A few hours after Lions coach Jim Schwartz (Mount St. Joseph) told Baltimore reporters during a conference call that he had no plans to reveal his starting quarterback for Sunday, the club announced that Daunte Culpepper, not rookie Matthew Stafford, would start.

Culpepper has completed 37 of 65 passes (56.9 percent) for 433 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in four games, including two starts in October when Stafford was hobbled by a sprained right knee.

In Detroit's 23-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday, Stafford re-injured his left, nonthrowing shoulder that he separated against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 22.

"They're significantly different," Schwartz said of the two quarterbacks. "Daunte obviously has more experience. He's been around the league a lot more. He's used his legs a lot more over the course of his career. I think the one thing they both have in common is that both guys can wake up at about 3 o'clock in the morning and can throw a perfect spiral, and that's something they're both gifted with. They both get it done a little differently."

Mason rips officiating
Upset about the non-calls on the defensive backs covering the Ravens' wide receivers, Derrick Mason openly criticized the officials and insinuated that the Ravens aren't being treated fairly by them.

"I mean NFL, [NFL head of officiating] Mike Pereira, you need to really see about what's going on at that game," Mason said Wednesday. "[Commissioner Roger] Goodell, you can fine me if you want to. But it's getting ridiculous with the non-calls."

This was the first time Mason has talked to reporters after declining comment after Monday's 27-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers. In the fourth quarter, Mason was called for offensive pass interference and then was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after arguing with an official.

"I was just trying to explain to him that I have a right to the ball just as much as [Packers cornerback Charles] Woodson," Mason said. "He had his back to me, so, obviously, he wasn't looking to get the ball. As a receiver, they're taught you have a right to the ball just as well as the defensive back has a right to the ball. I guess he felt like it was Charles Woodson and he can throw the flag and call pass interference. If that's the case, you have to call it both ways. Their team is doing it to our guys. You got to call it. But we never get it done."

Reed has hip strain
Ed Reed is questionable for Sunday's game after a magnetic resonance imaging revealed a strain in his hip, Harbaugh said.

Reed, who did not practice and was unavailable for comment, was a late scratch Monday night at Green Bay after it was determined in pre-game warm-ups that he couldn't play. It ended the five-time Pro Bowl safety's streak of 64 straight games played.

"It's just a matter of how well it heals," Harbaugh said. "He's going to play like crazy to get out there and go this week. We'll just have to see."

In addition to Reed, linebacker Jarret Johnson (left shoulder), wide receiver Mark Clayton (tweaked right hamstring), tight end L.J. Smith (ankle) and offensive lineman David Hale (concussion) did not practice Wednesday.

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