Life is hectic, but happy, in homecoming for Wilson

New Ravens cornerback, former Terps star, learning on the fly after trade from Seattle

September 03, 2010|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

If new Ravens cornerback Josh Wilson looked a bit dazed and confused Friday, it was for good reason. The former Maryland star had spent the last three days flying back East from Seattle after being traded Tuesday by the Seahawks, then flying to St. Louis and back with his new teammates and coaches for the final preseason game.

"I'm not sure what day I got traded," Wilson joked, talking with reporters after morning practice in Owings Mills. "I'm not sure where I live right now. Somebody asked me how far is home from here? I don't know how to get to the highway from here. I'm still figuring everything out."

Along with familiarizing himself with names and faces, Wilson will have to learn the team's playbook as the Ravens get ready for the 2010 season opener a week from Monday against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.

"It reminds me of being a rookie again. I'm walking everywhere with this playbook," Wilson said. "I'm trying to pull my coaches aside, 'Let's go over this playbook.' Normally I carry my Bible around. Right now I'm going to have my Bible in my left and my playbook in my right."

Depending on how quickly Wilson can devour the playbook, he could find his way into the lineup against the Jets as either the team's nickel back or even as a starting cornerback if Lardarius Webb is not able to go. Wilson, who had an 89-yard kick return for a touchdown as a rookie, could also be used there.

"He's a guy who obviously started for two years, so I wouldn't put any limits on what he can possibly do," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It's just a matter of how quickly he learns what we're doing and how comfortable we are in putting him out there. The situation could dictate that he has to be out there, and that's why we felt like we needed a quality player who's got some experience."

Asked if he could see himself playing in the opener, Wilson said, "Whatever I have to do, if I have to sit here and every day go over this defense and come out here by myself and figure it out, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to do whatever it takes. That's just the competitive nature in me."

The trade took Wilson by surprise, but maybe it shouldn't have been that big a shock. Going into his fourth season with the Seahawks after being drafted out of Maryland in the second round, Wilson said that new coach Pete Carroll had asked him when they met last spring "was I ready to compete for a starting job?"

Wilson said that he was told about the trade when he came off the practice field around 3 p.m. Tuesday and informed that he had a 10:15 p.m. red-eye flight back to Maryland. He went home, packed up some clothes and picked up his wife and their dog for the trip home. He has known his wife, Jazmin, since they dated in high school.

There is some irony that the player he might replace is his former Maryland teammate and longtime mentor Domonique Foxworth, who was lost for the season on the eve of training camp with a knee injury.

"To me it's a true blessing," Wilson said. "I had two years with Domonique [at Maryland]. My freshman year I was his backup and all I did was listen to what he said. My sophomore year we were on the field starting together and I was still listening. He went on to get drafted and I was still listening…Now being here, I'm going to go over to his house and get into this playbook and start all over again."

The homecoming is nice, but getting traded to a Super Bowl contender is even better.

"Being here and being at home is definitely No. 2," said Wilson, who grew up in Prince George's County. "No. 1 is having a pass rush. The front seven, I grew up watching these guys and being excited. Circumstances may not have been how I thought I was going to get here, but I'm definitely glad I got here."

C. Williams satisfied with preseason

Though the preseason did not end on a postive note for Cary Williams, the Ravens cornerback believes he has done enough to earn both a spot on the 53-man roster and a place in the secondary rotation.

"I feel good about it because I see improvement in my game," Williams said Friday. "I've continued to grow and I've continued to improve and get better in every aspect of the game both on and off the field."

Williams had played solidly in the team's first three preseason games, intercepting two passes and returning them for a combined 62 yards and breaking up four other passes. But Williams got beat by St. Louis Rams receiver Danny Amendola for a 36-yard pass that led to the first touchdown in a 27-21 loss for the Ravens Thursday night.

"It was a double move; it is what it is. Those things happen. It's part of the game," said Williams. "I've got a short memory."

Williams, who will start the season with a two-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, said that he remains hopeful that he will stick with the Ravens.

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