Injury won't keep Ogden down; Left tackle: 'I don't see any way I won't play';


Ravens left offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, still nursing a sore left hip he suffered on the first play of the second quarter of Sunday's season-opening, 27-10 loss to St. Louis, said he would be surprised if he isn't practicing by Thursday and ready to go in this Sunday's home opener against Pittsburgh.

Ogden felt an encouraging sign yesterday morning. He awakened with much less discomfort than he felt upon his return to Baltimore on Sunday night.

"It feels a whole lot better today," Ogden said. "I'll keep taking medicine and rehabbing. It didn't bother me much in my sleep and I was walking [yesterday] morning without a bad limp."

Ogden was injured while chasing down Rams cornerback Taje Allen, after an interception thrown by quarterback Scott Mitchell. Ogden did not return to the game. Spencer Folau played in his place.

"It's a soft tissue injury. We'll see how it feels on Wednesday," Ravens head trainer Bill Tessendorf said.

Ogden has pretty much penciled himself back in the lineup.

"Unless things take a real bad turn, I don't see any way I won't play this week," he said.

Ravens coach Brian Billick also said he expected running back Priest Holmes to start against the Steelers.

Holmes, who rushed 12 times for 52 yards against the Rams, sprained his knee and will wear a protective brace this week. He returned to the Rams game after getting hurt.

No place for Rhett to run

Running back Errict Rhett said he no longer gets caught up about his playing time. That's a good thing considering the six-year veteran saw almost none against the Rams, mostly because the Ravens played catch-up the entire game.

"You have to understand the situation we were put in," Rhett said. "We got down pretty early. We didn't run the ball all that much."

The plan going into the game was to play Rhett more. Running back coach Matt Simon said the Ravens had plays set for Rhett.

But with the Ravens falling behind 17-3 and only running the ball four times in the second half, Rhett's time was scrapped. The Ravens did not attempt a rush over the game's final 22: 35.

"Rhett was involved in some personal packages we would have loved to use," Simon said. "Those opportunities didn't come this time."

After pulling to within 17-10 at the end of the third quarter, the Ravens twice went three-and-out in the fourth without running the ball, then fell behind 20-10 and 27-10.

So that left Rhett on the sideline rooting for his teammates, a little disappointed at not being able to contribute.

"It is kind of depressing when you don't get the opportunity to play," Rhett said. " In a way, I can't get caught up in all of that.

"Now I cheer on other players and pretend I'm out there," he said. "Ray [Lewis] did enough yesterday to pretend it was me. I was satisfied watching him. I got hyped up watching him."

Lewis finished the game with 14 tackles, a sack and an interception.

Johnson can't help

Wide receiver Patrick Johnson could have, at the least, stretched the Rams' defense with his speed and possibly opened things up for Jermaine Lewis to make a catch.

But Johnson won't dwell on that. He will continue to rehabilitate his calf in hopes of making his season debut this week.

"The guys that were out there [against St. Louis] did a real good job," said Johnson, who was kept out of the game by coaches because of the injury. "Unfortunately the game went the way it did. I can't really worry about what I could have done on the field when I'm injured. Because it is going to take its time to get well."

Said Billick: "Jermaine is obviously a guy you want to jump on [as a defense], and to be able to add Patrick's speed to the mix would have been nice. Patrick worked hard today and I think he looks good for this week."

Johnson is working the calf as much as three times a day. He did some light jogging and catching in practice yesterday.

Catching up on miss

Rookie receiver Brandon Stokley holds the distinction of scoring the first touchdowns of the Ravens' preseason and regular season.

Stokley, a fourth-round draft pick, caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell in the closing seconds of the third quarter, cutting the St. Louis lead to 17-10. Stokley also was not immune to the pratfalls that plagued the offense for much of the afternoon.

With 11: 20 left in the second quarter and the Ravens trailing 10-0 with the ball at their own 45, Stokley took off into the left flat and found himself wide open on a third-and-three. But just as Mitchell released his pass, Stokley stumbled on the turf and fell.

Poof. An opportunity for a first down suddenly turned into a punt.

"It's not all Scott's fault. It says incomplete [on the play sheet], but if I do my job and I don't fall down, it's a first down and we keep our drive going," said Stokley, whose only catch was in the end zone.

Pub Date: 9/14/99

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