Training camp practices abruptly ended for the Baltimore Ravens on Monday with some bad news: Center Mike Flynn, the anchor of an offensive line that led the way for running back Jamal Lewis's 2,000-yard season, broke his collarbone and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.
Flynn was injured early in the morning practice and was later examined by Leigh Ann Curl, the team's chief orthopedic surgeon. He will most likely miss the first three games, against Cleveland (Sept. 12), Pittsburgh (Sept. 19), Cincinnati (Sept. 26). The Ravens will host Kansas City on Oct. 4 in a Monday night game.
Versatile fourth-year veteran Casey Rabach will take Flynn's place. Baltimore (1-1) will host Detroit (1-1) in a preseason game Saturday.
"I guess [it has an impact]," Coach Brian Billick said after the morning practice. "We'll see what it is, but that's the way we deal with it, and fortunately, Casey can move over [to center]. We'll see where we go from here."
Flynn came to Baltimore as a rookie free agent in 1997 and has been a mainstay on the Ravens' offensive line since the 2000 season. He started at right guard for much of 2000, Baltimore's Super Bowl season, and then moved to center in 2001. Over the past four years, Flynn has made 63 starts, missing only one game because of injury.
Rabach has been one of the Ravens' utility linemen, filling in at center and both guard positions the past two seasons. He started at center in a 22-20 loss at Indianapolis in October 2002 when Flynn was out with an ankle injury. The previous week, Rabach took more than half the offensive snaps at center in a 26-21 win at Cleveland, in which Lewis ran for 187 yards.
"If we didn't have Casey, I'd be worried," guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "Although he's been the sixth guy, his personality is not the sixth guy. He wants to be in there, he wants to be playing. This will be great for him and great for us, to see what he's really about."
Rabach was selected by the Ravens in the third round of the 2001 draft. He started on back-to-back Rose Bowl champion teams at Wisconsin and was named first team all-Big Ten as a center in 1999 and as a guard in 2000.
He came into camp competing with Bennie Anderson for the starting right guard position, but the competition stalled when Rabach sprained his left medial collateral ligament on Aug. 14. Rabach returned to practice late last week (though he did not play in Friday's preseason loss at Philadelphia), and he didn't seem fazed by the switch back to center.
"Obviously, there's some technique stuff that's a little bit different," Rabach said. "But I think that center is kind of my natural position, where I'm a little undersized [6-4, 301 pounds] for a guard. I feel real comfortable with playing center."
The Ravens had made it through the first three weeks of training camp relatively unscathed, aside from the normal bumps and bruises. But starting defensive end Marques Douglas dislocated his elbow Wednesday, and will be out four to six weeks. The Ravens most likely will face the Browns in the season opener without three projected starters: Douglas, Flynn and linebacker Peter Boulware, who is still rehabilitating his knee after offseason surgery.
Baltimore welcomed back one player. Orlando Brown, the starting right tackle, had missed nearly every practice since the Ravens' preseason game against Atlanta on Aug. 12 to be with his ailing mother. He practiced Monday.
Ravens Notes: Training camp at McDaniel College was scheduled to end on Tuesday with a morning practice, but Billick canceled the session. The players will gather Tuesday morning for meetings, and practices will resume Wednesday at the Owings Mills training facility. Those practices are closed to the public. . . . Linebacker Terrell Suggs was involved in a minor car accident Monday morning but was not injured. . . . Tight end Todd Heap (shoulder), wide receiver Travis Taylor (groin), wide receiver Devard Darling (quadriceps), cornerback Corey Fuller (bruised leg), defensive end Anthony Weaver (high ankle sprain), cornerback Fred Weary (knee), wide receiver Derek Abney (shoulder), defensive tackle Matt Zielinski (knee), quarterback Anthony Wright (shoulder) and tight end Trent Smith (leg) did not practice on Monday.