Pryce Check: Ravens' End Ready to Play
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
OWINGS MILLS, Md., Oct. 29 -- The past six weeks have been among the most difficult of Trevor Pryce's 11-year professional football career, as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive end sat and waited for his broken left wrist to heal.
"Because the team, we're going through some struggles. You feel helpless," Pryce said. "Just the things that I've been through, I've been through this before and I can offer some perspective of a team [the Denver Broncos] that won a Super Bowl and the next season we won [six] games. I've been through these struggles before. That's the biggest thing that I felt empty about."
But Pryce felt better Monday because he practiced with the knowledge that he will be ready to play in the Ravens' next game, at Pittsburgh (5-2) on Monday night. His left wrist is still in a cast -- which he referred to as "this protective mechanism" -- but he said that he is pain-free and won't be limited in what he can do on the field. Pryce, who was injured in the second game of the season, hopes to have the cast removed in another week.
The return of Pryce, who led Baltimore with 13 sacks last season, was one good sign for the Ravens (4-3), who practiced for the first time following their bye.
The Ravens had been looking forward to their bye week, because it would be an opportunity for their seven injured starters to rest and recover. The time off appeared to help. Tackle Jonathan Ogden (toe), center Mike Flynn (knee), tackle Adam Terry (ankle) and quarterback Steve McNair (groin and back) -- all of whom missed portions of, if not all of, the past two games -- participated in practice on Monday. Cornerback Chris McAlister (knee) and tight end Todd Heap (hamstring) were limited.
"I think we're in pretty good shape," Coach Brian Billick said. "We'll know on Thursday, really."
Ogden, who was on the field for roughly a dozen snaps against the Bills on Oct. 21, isn't sure how much he will be able to play against the Steelers, mainly because he is not in football shape. He said that his left big toe -- which he initially hurt late last season -- is still sore, but that there is no longer a sharp pain.
"Will I make it through a whole game? I don't know," said Ogden, who has yet to play an entire half this season. "But I'm going to try. I'm going to see what happens."
Ravens Note: Billick said that linebacker Ray Lewis's recent comments about the offensive play-calling shouldn't be a distraction as the team prepares for Pittsburgh.
Last Monday, on his weekly radio show, Lewis expressed frustration with Billick's play-calling, specifically Billick's decision in the final two minutes of the Buffalo loss to throw on three straight plays when the Ravens needed to gain only one yard for a first down.
"You can't make oranges be peaches," Lewis said on WBAL radio. "It doesn't change. It will never change. That's what Billick has to ask himself, why we keep putting ourselves in those situations."
On Monday, Billick reiterated that he does not have a problem with Lewis. "We're good; that's old news," he said. "We're ready to move on to the next challenge."