Congemi injures back on safety in OT


Baltimore coach Don Matthews already was making contingency plans after backup quarterback John Congemi suffered a back injury in the first overtime of his team's 45-43 preseason victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last night.

Congemi, complaining of back spasms and a shooting pain down his right leg, was fitted with a neck brace and back support before being helped off the field and taken by ambulance to St. Joseph's Hospital.

"It looked like Congemi got hurt when he gave up the safety," said Matthews. "But he stayed in for our next offensive series, and just kind of crumpled over."

A night nursing supervisor at St. Joseph's said late last night Congemi was "still being evaluated" for non-specific injuries.

If Congemi, a seven-year veteran from Pitt, is unavailable for the season opener at Toronto on July 7, Matthews said he would check the waiver wire for an experienced CFL quarterback.

"Somebody's misfortune could become someone's good fortune," he said.

"We'll definitely have to do something if John's not ready. It would be too much of a burden to place on [starter] Tracy Ham to have two rookie quarterbacks supporting him."

The team keeps two active quarterbacks and one on the practice squad. That role could fall to rookie Shawn Jones, of Georgia Tech, who triggered the game-winning drive in the second overtime.

"I thought Jones showed a lot of poise for a rookie coming off the bench in a pressure situation," Matthews said. "He came right in, rolled out and completed his first pass, but we got penalized.

"But then he made the critical completion to [Walter] Wilson that set up [Donald] Igwebuike's winning field goal."

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