At 6 feet 5, 220 pounds, rookie slotback Lance Yandell has been hard to miss at the Baltimore Football Club camp. When he's been on the field, that is.
Yandell, the all-time leading receiver in eight categories at Baldwin-Wallace College who played last year in the Arena Football League for the Cleveland Thunderbolts, strained his right hamstring a week ago and missed Monday's workouts at Towson State.
The rest of the week has been a physical struggle. Yesterday morning, Yandell pulled up while running a pass route, tossed his helmet in frustration and lay on the ground with a strained left hamstring.
Yandell missed the rest of the practices, and probably missed his chance to make the Baltimore roster.
"You can't show your stuff unless you're in there 100 percent of the time. I've been in there only 75 percent of the time, and I haven't been able to perform the way I want to," Yandell said. "I can play in this league, but I can't play while I'm hurt."
"He [Yandell] is too far behind. You can't make the club in the [whirlpool] tub," coach Don Matthews said. "He was trying to push himself. He rolled the dice and probably came back too early, but time is not on your side as a rookie."
Another one of Baltimore's walking wounded is veteran kicker Carlos Huerta, who was chosen in April's Las Vegas Posse dispersal draft and is the only place-kicker in camp.
Huerta suffered a deep thigh bruise on his kicking leg in a collision during a soccer game five weeks ago. He has had trouble kicking field goals, and his kickoffs have been subpar.
"The problem was it went into a bad spasm about a week after the injury," Huerta said. "I've definitely improved. I thought maybe one day I'd wake up, feel fine, and start kicking field goals, but it's not working out that way. The one good thing is it's forcing me to be perfect with my technique, and I haven't taken a step backward. I need another three weeks."
Huerta was runner-up to Baltimore linebacker Matt Goodwin for CFL Rookie of the Year honors last year. He made 82.6 percent of his field-goal attempts and all 37 conversions. Yesterday, his field-goal attempts were low and short, and his kickoffs traveled around 55 yards, as opposed to his usual 65.
Matthews isn't concerned at this point. "He'll be all right. That's why you go to training camp."
Rookies Todd Shara (offensive tackle) and Eric Naposki (linebacker) left camp yesterday. . . . At the start of business yesterday, 17,628 tickets had been sold for the June 17 home exhibition game against Ottawa, and all but about 400 belong to season-ticket holders.