Siragusa day-to-day with irritated neck, uncertain for Bengals Tackle has numbness in arms after absorbing hits against Jaguars


As the Ravens adjust to the temporary loss of middle linebacker Ray Lewis, defensive tackle Tony Siragusa is recovering from his own scary moments in Sunday's 24-10 loss in Jacksonville.

First of all, Siragusa inadvertently fell on Lewis' arm, causing his dislocated left elbow. But "Goose" had his own physical problems as well, namely a neck injury that left him shaken up as late as yesterday and has left his status for this week's game against Cincinnati up in the air.

A magnetic resonance imagingexam yesterday revealed Siragusa had suffered an irritated nerve root in his neck. He is listed as day-to-day.

Siragusa, who finished with only one tackle, received his first scare in the first quarter.

"I got hit right on the top [of his helmet], and both of my arms went numb," he said. "I couldn't do much with my arms. I was out there using my shoulders and throwing my body around more than anything.

"Then, [late] in the fourth quarter, my neck got jammed again when I made a tackle, and my shoulders and hands lit up like

they were on fire. Even right now, my hands are like pins and needles. You know the initial shock you feel when you hit your funny bone? My hands have been feeling like that all the time."

If Siragusa needs help on Sunday, at least backup tackle Larry Webster is fully recovered from the pulled hamstring that ruined his preseason. Webster was in on 17 plays against Jacksonville, recording one tackle.

No decision on Harbaugh

Quarterback Jim Harbaugh offered no second guesses regarding coach Ted Marchibroda's decision to pull him in favor of Eric Zeier in the first half. Marchibroda was upset that Harbaugh did not throw downfield more often. He reiterated the decision had nothing to do with Harbaugh's health.

"He just wasn't going downfield enough, and it's not because of the injury [to the ring finger on Harbaugh's throwing hand]," Marchibroda said. "He's capable of throwing it downfield."

Marchibroda said he will decide by tomorrow on Harbaugh or Zeier as his starter against the Bengals. That drew no frowns from Harbaugh, for whom the Ravens traded in February to run their offense.

"I haven't been happy with the way I've played. I've got to do a better job staying with my reads and making better throws," said Harbaugh, who has yet to complete a half this season and is 13-for-26 for 128 yards.

"I haven't done anything that doesn't warrant a quarterback controversy. There's nothing I have done to solidify that position. I'm not throwing in the towel or getting discouraged about it. Whether it's a start or coming off the bench, I'm looking forward to my next opportunity."

History suggests Zeier could be the answer this week. Lifetime against Cincinnati, Harbaugh has completed 43 of 75 passes for 498 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. In two starts against the Bengals -- the season finale in 1997 and his rookie debut in 1995 -- Zeier has gone 54-for-87 for 659 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Boulware raises game

For all the trauma that the loss of Lewis caused on the defense, second-year outside linebacker Peter Boulware elevated his game against the Jaguars. After recovering a first-quarter fumble caused by Lewis, Boulware went on to record six tackles, including five solo.

Boulware was the picture of relentless hustle, especially on his two, unconventional sacks of Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell. In each case, Boulware sprinted across the field to run Brunell out of bounds just short of the line of scrimmage. On one sack, both players tumbled over the Ravens' bench.

"I'd like to drop him in the backfield, but [Sunday's sacks] count, too," he said. "I was trying to get to the quarterback so bad. That's my deal."

Boulware senses he must sharpen his game and leadership skills even more in Lewis' absence.

"For me personally, when Ray went out, I felt like more pressure was on me. It's my responsibility," he added. "I don't get other guys going by talking, I just have to set an example by the way I play.""

Time on hands

Although he had only one catch for 15 yards against cornerback Dave Thomas, a player he has abused in games past, Michael Jackson was not about to give his counterpart too much credit.

"I can't throw the ball and catch it, too. I wish I was that good," Jackson said. "I would never feel [Thomas] won a round. Even if he won it, we've got another one [on Nov. 1]. With the coaches' help, it will be a unanimous decision."

Pub Date: 9/22/98

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