By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun
9:28 PM EDT, August 1, 2011
It wouldn't be much of a stretch to say Domonique Foxworth is a pretty positive guy. But his surgically repaired knee is testing the limits of the Ravens cornerback's good-natured manner.
Foxworth, who underwent surgery last August to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, spent a few minutes after Monday's practice at the team's training facility in Owings Mills expressing his frustration at the strength and stability of the knee.
"It just doesn't feel great," Foxworth said. "It's frustrating. I don't know. I'm not very happy about it, but I'll just keep working, I guess. It hurts, and I don't feel as quick or as fast as I once was. Everyone says it's part of the process, but I can't go out there and let down the team. So I'm just pushing and trying to get it where it needs to be as soon as possible."
Foxworth's return was supposed to be a boon for a secondary that lost a pair of unrestricted free-agent cornerbacks in Josh Wilson (who signed with the Washington Redskins) and Fabian Washington (New Orleans Saints).
With Foxworth in the fold, the defense could start him and Lardarius Webb at cornerback and take its time in acclimating Jimmy Smith, the team's first-round draft pick in April, to the rigors and speed of the NFL.
Smith tweaked his groin Monday, and Chris Carr, who agreed to return Saturday, won't be allowed to practice until Thursday, when the players re-certify as a union and ratify the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. But Foxworth said that rather than adding more to his plate, the coaching and medical staffs are trying to limit his repetitions.
"The coaches and trainers try to roll me back and roll back my reps, and I'm trying to push them forward," he said. "I think they're scared I'm going to reinjure it, and I'm scared it's not going to be strong enough. So I just want to push and push and push, and they want to make sure that I don't kill myself. It's August, and Jimmy didn't tear anything, so he'll be fine. And Chris will be practicing next week. I don't think anybody's in a panic just yet."
Harbaugh mum on injuries
John Harbaugh doesn't like to discuss injuries. The Ravens coach made that clear after practice.
Smith, the 27th overall pick, tweaked his groin early and was held out of the remainder of practice. He pulled up while trying to shadow rookie wide receiver LaQuan Williams (Maryland) on a crossing route. Smith wore a bag of ice under his pants and did not return.
Asked about the seriousness of Smith's injury, Harbaugh laid forth his policy on discussing injuries with the media. "I think I'll just establish this right now, but don't even bother to ask about any injuries," Harbaugh said.
According to a source, Smith's groin injury will keep him from practicing for a few days.
Grubbs removed from PUP
Harbaugh did comment on left guard Ben Grubbs, who was activated off of the team's physically-unable-to-perform list and practiced.
Grubbs had sat out the first three practices open to the media after undergoing minor ankle surgery in the offseason. Harbaugh said it did not appear that Grubbs had any setbacks.
"He looked OK," Harbaugh said. "It's the first time he's been on a football field since January. We'll look at the tape and see how he looked, but I don't think there were any major problems. He looked like he got through it physically."
Ravens bolt indoors
The Ravens finished the final 15 minutes of practice in their field house because of lightning. It required moving the team only a few hundred feet and took less than five minutes.
In previous years, the Ravens would have had to cut a training camp practice short because there were no indoor facilities at McDaniel College.
"That's one of the benefits of being here," Harbaugh said.
After the first full week of free agency, the Ravens have kept three of their free agents (guard Marshal Yanda, Carr and linebacker Prescott Burgess) while losing eight to other teams: tight end Todd Heap (Arizona); Wilson and Washington; safety Dawan Landry (Jacksonville); nose tackle Kelly Gregg (Kansas City); running back Willis McGahee (Denver); offensive lineman Chris Chester (Washington); and wide receiver Donte' Stallworth (Washington).
The NFL re-established the salary cap at $120 million, roughly $8 million less than the last time the league had the cap, in 2009. That has forced many teams to adjust.
"I think we expected it, and we're not surprised by it," Harbaugh said. "Our goal is to handle it better than everybody else."
Harbaugh delivered a warm send-off to Heap, the franchise's second all-time leading receiver and one of the most beloved players in team history. "I wish Todd nothing but the best," Harbaugh said. "I have the greatest respect for Todd. I really like him personally. I think we had three great years here. Todd was a huge part of what we've done. We appreciate everything he ever [did] for his whole career. I know the fans feel that. On behalf of the fans, Todd, thank you for what you did all those years here." … A number of players who cannot practice until Thursday attended practice. They included safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, linebackers Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden, Carr and offensive tackle Oneil Cousins.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.
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