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Ravens' corner Asa Jackson 'surprisingly sharp,' Harbaugh says

The Ravens placed cornerback Asa Jackson on the active roster and officially moved offensive guard Kelechi Osemele to injured reserve.

Osemele will have season-ending back surgery. He's been replaced in the starting lineup at left guard by A.Q. Shipley.

Jackson returns from an eight-game suspension for his second violation of the NFL performance-enhancing drug policy. He had been practicing this week under a roster exemption after being activated from the reserve-suspended list, with the exemption now lifted.

"Asa looked good," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It looked like he was in shape. I thought he was surprisingly sharp, and he looked good."

Jackson has been suspended twice for unauthorized use of Adderall, a medication that heightens concentration and is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The 2012 fifth-round draft pick from Cal-Poly served a four-game suspension as a rookie, and this latest suspension cost him eight $28,235 game checks from his $480,000 base salary — a total loss of $225,880.

"Definitely, it's been a rough first two years with that kind of stuff," Jackson said this week, adding that he now has the required approval for the medication. "From here on out, I've grown as a person and as a man, and they're not going to have any problems out of me."

Bernard on Ravens' radar

The Ravens have already seen how dangerous Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard can transform a football game into an elaborate game of tag, eluding defenders with his unique set of cuts and moves.

Bernard reversed field, broke tackles and somersaulted into the end zone for an electrifying 35-yard touchdown run against the Miami Dolphins.

"He's almost like a punt returner that's playing running back," Ravens defensive end Chris Canty said. "He's a jitterbug. He gets in and out of cuts very quickly. He can accelerate very quickly. He gets into those small holes.

"He's got good vision for a young back. He's fearless. He'll cut it all the way back to the back side. We're going to have to play disciplined team defense."

The rookie from North Carolina has already rushed for 361 yards and four touchdowns on 81 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He's caught 30 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for two touchdowns against the Dolphins, gaining 79 yards on nine carries.

"Very dynamic back," Ihedigbo said. "The things he can do out of the backfield create mismatches."

By zig-zagging across the field in Miami, retreating into the backfield before cutting back and accelerating away from pursuit, Bernard displayed his athleticism.

"You just have to feel comfortable with what you're doing," Bernard told Cincinnati reporters. "Like Barry Sanders in his time, he was one of those who lost a lot of yards to gain a lot of yards. The biggest thing is getting positive yards."

Texans bench Reed

Former Ravens free safety Ed Reed is no longer a starter for the Houston Texans and gets his playing time in sub packages.

Signed to a three-year, $15 million contract in March, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been replaced in the starting lineup by Shiloh Keo. Reed, 35, has just 16 tackles, no interceptions, no forced fumbles and has allowed numerous big plays. Reed is due a $4 million base salary next season, likely endangering his roster status.

End zone

The Bengals ruled out linebacker Rey Maualuga (knee) and defensive tackle Devon Still (elbow). Linebacker Mike Boley (hamstring) is doubtful. Bernard (ribs) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (groin) are questionable. Gresham hasn't practiced the past two days and is regarded a game-time decision. ... Browns wide receiver Greg Little (helmet tossing, taunting) and Ihedigbo (accused of choking Little, horse-collar tackle) weren't fined by the NFL for their altercations last Sunday, according to a league spokesman.

awilson@baltsun.com

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