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It's often said that the most popular man in any NFL city is that team's backup quarterback. Think of Atlanta, for instance, where Matt Schaub achieved near legendary status among Falcons fans as the No.2 to Michael Vick despite hardly ever playing a down.

That axiom may be true in many places, but it isn't here in Baltimore. Ravens fans saw enough of Kyle Boller in his three years as the starter before Steve McNair arrived to be largely indifferent about him. Sure, Boller played well last season in the times he saw action for a banged-up McNair, who, at 34, may not have that much time left on his NFL clock. But as he enters the last year of his contract, Boller, 26, has been erratic enough to make the front office and fans more than a little nervous about bringing him back next year, at what will certainly be a significant price, given the demand for good quarterback play.

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The Ravens are fortunate that the players taken with the draft choices they gave up for Boller in 2003 -- Seattle blocking tight end Ben Joppru and New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork -- haven't lit up the league, or else the decision to keep him or let him go would be even tougher.

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