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With Dilfer out, Redman tightens his helmet strap


Chris Redman quarterbacked his first two-minute drill since training camp yesterday, ran the Ravens' scout-team offense and worked as holder on extra-point kicks for the first time since high school.

That's all part of Redman's new job description as the Ravens' backup quarterback.

Redman's role expanded when veteran backup Trent Dilfer tweaked his left knee at the end of last Friday's practice and had surgery on Monday for torn cartilage. Dilfer is expected to miss two games, during which time Redman will be on call as Tony Banks' prospective replacement.

"I'm taking this week pretty serious because, in one play, Tony could be out," the 23-year-old rookie said. "Even if he does stay in the next couple weeks, this is a really good time for me to work and improve myself as a quarterback."

Because Dilfer can't practice yet, and because the Ravens didn't sign a third quarterback in his absence, Redman also has to continue to run the scout-team offense for the Ravens' defense in preparation for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The scout team runs the opponent's plays each week.

Additionally, Redman stayed after yesterday's practice to take his first snaps as a potential holder for kicker Matt Stover. That job belongs to punter Kyle Richardson.

"I haven't done it since high school and I didn't do it much then," Redman said. "It's a little different, but I picked it up pretty good."

Redman, a four-year starter at Louisville, is learning the life of the NFL backup on the run.

"You definitely feel an urgency that if your times comes, you need to step up and do the job," he said. "There can't be any drop-off, and I hope I can [instill] some confidence in the other players so, if I do step in there, we'll be able to succeed."

Redman admitted to having "butterflies" when he first learned of Dilfer's injury last week. He also said he wouldn't mind a mopup role in a win for his NFL debut.

"That's what I'm hoping," Redman said. "I'm going to give Tony a couple of pep talks in the locker room and see if that helps any.

"Hopefully, Tony will be fine and we'll keep moving on."

Ismail gives thumbs up

Split end Qadry Ismail, who missed most of the last two games with a knee injury, declared himself ready to play Sunday against the Bengals.

"I feel I'm questionable in the minds of everyone else, but I feel I'm cleared in my own mind to play," he said after practice.

Ismail, who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee returning a kickoff against Jacksonville in Week 2, has been listed as questionable on the team's injury report.

Tickets available

When is a sellout not a sellout? When the Bengals return 300 of the 500 tickets they received for Sunday's game at PSINet Stadium.

Team spokesman Kevin Byrne said the Bengals did just that yesterday, which means anyone still seeking tickets can call 410-481-SEAT.

Byrne said the Ravens' Dec.10 home game against San Diego is a virtual sellout, leaving the Christmas Eve game against the New York Jets as the only one this season with an appreciable number of tickets still available. There are fewer than 2,000 tickets left for that game.

Stover's favorite team

Matt Stover apparently has Cincinnati's number. It's three.

That's how many times the 11-year veteran has kicked a game-winning field goal against the Bengals. He did it as a rookie in 1991 (45 yards), again in 1995 (28 yards) and last year (50 yards). Twice in Stover's career, he has kicked five field goals in a game against Cincinnati.

Small wonder, then, that the Bengals tried to sign Stover last off-season as a free agent. The Ravens re-signed him to a four-year, $4$million contract.

End zone

The Ravens list Dilfer as doubtful for Sunday, reserve tight end John Jones (knee) as questionable and right guard Mike Flynn (knee) as probable. Flynn injured his knee slightly on Wednesday. ... The NFL took an interception away from defensive back James Trapp and gave it to defensive end Rob Burnett this week. The play was originally ruled a Trapp interception and fumble that Burnett recovered.

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