Billick: Johnson won't go on IR


For Patrick Johnson, the news regarding his injury layoff was tempered in part by Brian Billick's decision yesterday that he will not put the wide receiver on injured reserve anytime in the near future.

Johnson fractured his left collarbone in the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 26-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday and will be out six to eight weeks.

"I'm glad he's not going to put me on IR," Johnson said. "I've had this injury before, it's something that is going to take time. But I'd rather have this than a knee or a messed-up shoulder. This will heal, and I'll be back out."

That, in essence, is what Billick is counting on. Johnson broke his right collarbone on the first day of training camp last year, but returned for the third game of the regular season.

This injury is the same one receiver Travis Taylor suffered nine games into the season last year.

Billick, though, choose to place Taylor on injured reserve, thereby ending his season.

"Travis was late enough in the year where he couldn't have come back until possibly the playoffs," Billick said. "Patrick could be back around the bye [Dec. 9], which still gives us four solid games. So we will not do anything with Patrick Johnson just yet."

With just over seven minutes left in the game, Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac rolled to his right and tried to hit Johnson in the upper corner of the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown. The play did not develop in time, and Johnson got hit by Titans linebacker Greg Favors as the pass fell incomplete.

"I was just trying to stay in, and wait on the ball. I got hit real hard," he said. "The way that he hit me and the way that I landed, even if it would have been anyone else, it would have been the same thing."

Johnson's injury leaves the Ravens with only four receivers on the active roster. Qadry Ismail and Taylor will continue to start, with Brandon Stokley serving as the No. 3 receiver. Jermaine Lewis likely will see more time as the fourth receiver.

Board decision

Billick understood what Titans coach Jeff Fisher was trying to convey in telling the Titans to hit the Ravens with a 2-by-4 last week.

What he did not like was Fisher implying the Ravens do not win with class.

"That's locker room talk, and I have no problem with that," Billick said. "That is just the way you address your team, much like after a big win pulling a Sports Illustrated cover out.

"The other comment -- we've tried to be respectful. Myself personally, somebody needs to show me the comment, tape, radio, in print where I've been disrespectful. I challenge anybody to find anything different along those lines. So to then turn around and not receive that level of respect is disappointing but not earth-shattering."

Happy for Sharpe

Ravens vice president of football operations Ozzie Newsome has seen his records fall before, and he embraces all new holders.

Newsome watched as Shannon Sharpe broke his all-time receiving record for tight ends in Sunday's game against the Titans with a second quarter 13-yard catch. Sharpe, now at 8,018 yards, became the first tight end to go over 8,000 and has 38 more than Newsome. Sharpe needs 24 more catches to pass Newsome's all-time receptions mark (662).

"No. 1, I'm happy for Shannon," Newsome said. "This is one of many records I've posted in high school and college and have seen someone surpass. I'm glad Shannon has this one.

"This all goes back to when we recruited him to come here. We had in mind that we could break the record together. When he breaks the reception record, I promised him that he can hand me the ball."

Mum is the word

Billick is keeping under wraps the play he had called on a fourth-and-inches in the first quarter of Sunday's game.

The play, from the Titans' 27, called for backup quarterback Randall Cunningham to line up in punt formation before going under center. Cunningham was called for a false start for bobbing his head on the snap count, and the Ravens were penalized 5 yards. Kyle Richardson came out and punted.

"The play didn't get off, so we'll kind of keep that in speculation," Billick said.

Billick applauds fans

After criticizing the fans at PSINet Stadium after the home opener against the Chicago Bears, Billick was complimentary of the noise level for Sunday's game.

"I appreciate the help, we hit it pretty good," Billick said. "The fans were incredible, not only the noise level but they are beginning to catch on. The minute they went into no-huddle, the fans were accountable for two timeouts. And those are key. And it [the noise] wears down a team."

Extra points

ESPN reported last night that right tackle Leon Searcy has been suspended by the league for one game for his domestic-violence case. The Ravens declined to comment until the league releases official word. The case was diverted to a pretrial intervention program. Billick ruled Searcy (triceps) out for Sunday's game against Green Bay. Tight end Todd Heap (ankle) may return to practice tomorrow. ... The Ravens named Centennial High's Ed Holshue Coach of the Week. Maureen Brady (Archbishop Spalding) and Matt Hostetler (River Hill) were Ravens Champions of the Week.

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