Foxworth tore his ACL just before training camp last year, and the veteran admitted several times this season that he didn't yet feel completely comfortable with the surgically-repaired knee and his play had suffered as a result. After struggling in the Ravens' Week Two loss to the Tennessee Titans, Foxworth was inactive last Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
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"That was a conversation we've been having for about a week now," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. "It really heated up on Monday. There's a chance he could be able to play at some point in time and help us. We were holding out hope that was the case, but it was moving in the other direction for whatever reason. So we just didn't feel like we could afford to do that right now, especially needing a linebacker."
It's been a tough recovery for the former University of Maryland standout, whose return was influenced by the lockout. Not only was the 28-year-old not allowed to work with the team's training staff, but he wasn't able to devote his full attention to the rehab process because he was so active in the negotiations as a member of the NFLPA executive committee.
The latest development now casts some doubt on his future with the Ravens. Foxworth, who signed a four-year, $27.2 million contract with his hometown team in 2009, would be in the final year of the deal next season. He is due to make $5.6 million, a hefty price for a player that will have missed nearly two full seasons.
Asked about Foxworth's future with the team, Harbaugh said, "I'd say it's all up in the air for everybody. I hope he'll be here next year, too."
With Foxworth and rookie Jimmy Smith (high ankle sprain) out, the Ravens have been starting Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams at cornerback. Chris Carr, Danny Gorrer and rookie Chykie Brown are the other healthy cornerbacks on the roster.
"We'd probably like to have at least one more corner that is healthy, but we don't have that luxury right now," Harbaugh said. "It's definitely [something] we could address, just depending on what's available out there. But I'm comfortable with the guys we have."
Burgess is back
To take Foxworth's spot on the 53-man roster, the Ravens re-signed linebacker Prescott Burgess, who they drafted out of Michigan in the sixth round in 2007. Burgess gives the Ravens some depth at the linebacker position with Dannell Ellerbe nursing a strained hamstring. It's Burgess' third stint with the Ravens.
He's seen action in 37 games, and he led the Ravens in special teams tackles in both 2009 and 2010.
"I'm always happy getting back to work," Burgess said. "It's never fun staying home. I'm glad I'm back with the Ravens. I get to put that decal back on the side of my helmet and go out there and do my business."
More injury updates
Ellerbe, cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle), wide receivers Lee Evans (ankle) and David Reed (shoulder), safety Haruki Nakamura (knee), center Matt Birk (knee), guard Ben Grubbs (toe), and defensive end Cory Redding all were held out of practice today.
Evans, who didn't play against the Rams, said that he is improving but it's still too early to know if he'll play Sunday.
Ellerbe did some light jogging today and said that he expects to be a game-time decision Sunday. Smith, who got hurt in the season opener, is no longer wearing a boot on his left foot and he walked through the team's locker room today without a limp. He said that he's hoping to return for the Oct. 16 game against the Houston Texas, which is also the target date Nakamura gave for his return.
Nakamura hurt the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while playing special teams Sunday.
"It was something that didn't even need to happen. It was kind of a cheap shot," Nakamura said. "It had nothing to do with the play. We were 40 yards down the field and the guy pushed me in my back and my knee slammed on the turf. I can deal with injuries, but I can't deal with ignorance … I've already made a lot of progress. You don't want to push the PCL because there is the potential of tearing your ACL. It's not really worth pushing it."
Grubbs has missed the past two games, while Reed remains a ways away from returning. Birk and Redding also didn't participate or were limited in practice last Wednesday, but played in Sunday's game.
Suggs, Ravens "can't wait"
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs isn't averse to using his attire to make a statement. Today, he used his weekly briefing with the media as an opportunity to pay homage to his former teammate, New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott.
Suggs got behind the microphone today, wearing a purple shirt emblazoned with Scott's catchphrase, "Can't Wait!" on it. The shirt was given to him by Scott, who is selling the shirts to benefit former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, who suffered a severe spinal injury in a game last season.
"We all know what it means," Suggs said. "[I'm] personally sending a message to my brother, my former mentor, that I also can't wait."
Asked if he feared Scott would sue him for using his trademarked phrase, Suggs said, "Probably. You never know with the 'Mad Backer,' but it's his brand, his shirt. It's for a good cause. We can't wait either."
Scott said on a conference call with the Baltimore media that he presented a $36,000 check to LeGrand the other day.
Modell eligible for Hall
Former Ravens and Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell is among 103 candidates eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
Modell, who brought the Browns to Baltimore in 1996 and remained control of the team until selling to Steve Bisciotti in 2004, is among 18 contributors to the game eligible.
Among 11 first-year eligible candidates are quarterback Drew Bledsoe, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, cornerback Troy Vincent, and coaches Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells and Marty Schottenheimer.
The list of 103 candidates will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in mid-November and to 15 finalists in early January.
Modell, vilified in Cleveland for moving the Browns, hasn't been a finalist for the Hall since 2001.
Baltimore Sun staff writer Ken Murray contributed to this article.
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