Safety Ed Reed's trip to the Pro Bowl in February has sparked a desire to do even greater things this season.
Reed, who made the first of what could be many Pro Bowls in his second year, led the Ravens with seven interceptions (tying a franchise record) and blocked two punts in a season that established him as one of the premier players at his position.
To ensure the encore would be even better, Reed said he started working out with Ray Lewis in March from "sunrise to sunset" until a week before the team reported to training camp.
He arrived in the best shape of his life.
"That's the easy part of the game, to have your mind set on all the accolades," Reed said. "I just continue to play my game and keep it simple -- that's getting to the football."
As well as Reed did last year, he expects more out of himself this season. There have been rumblings that Reed has his eye on the single-season interception record of 14 set by Dick "Night Train" Lane in 1952.
That, though, is not his motivation.
"I don't play this game, walking around thinking about money and this and that," Reed said. "Like I said, the accolades are all good and you want that, but that's going to come. I live for one purpose and one purpose only, and that's my Lord and savior Jesus Christ."
Slaughter adds depth
Linebacker Ed Hartwell strained his quadriceps during the morning practice and did not return. Hartwell is expected back Friday.
T.J. Slaughter took Hartwell's place with the starters and drew a rave review from coach Brian Billick afterward.
Slaughter, who signed late last year with the Ravens, is the top backup at both inside linebacker positions. Slaughter has started 29 games in his five-year career.
"Since I've been here, we've not had that kind of depth at linebacker, particularly on the inside," Billick said. "A guy like T.J., not only on special teams, but this is a starter in the NFL. He's capable of stepping in without any measurable drop-off. That's a huge advantage for us."
Making an impression
The Ravens were in full gear yesterday, but players were not allowed to tackle. Still, there were a number of collisions, and things were especially rough at the line of scrimmage.
"It feels good," tight end Todd Heap said. "It's been a long time since we've had pads on. So it's always good to get a few clean, crisp hits it. It wakes you up and it lets you know that it is football season. I'm always excited for that, and I don't think that anybody was backing down. Everybody was ready to go."
Ogden getting ready
Left tackle Jonathan Ogden practiced for the first time after skipping last week's workouts with a sore back. Ogden looked as though he was still experiencing minor discomfort.
"The older you get, the more things hurt but the easier the game becomes," Ogden said. "So it is kind of a tradeoff. You just have to get yourself mentally and physically at your peak for the first game of the season."
No happy returns
It was a bad day for the prospective punt returners.
Lamont Brightful misjudged a kick so badly it bounced about 3 yards in front of him and nearly grazed his leg. Minutes later, Derek Abney had a punt bounce off his shoulder pads right to a defender.
The biggest blow, however, came when it was discovered B.J. Sams would miss the next four to six weeks with a broken thumb. Sams was the dark-horse pick to win the job.
"I think he's going to be able to be back, run around and do some things, limited, in about a week," Billick said. "We have to make sure the incisions heal up and there's no infection."
Thumbs up: Kyle Boller threw a perfect pass to Kevin Johnson on a corner route over the outstretched hand of Lance Frazier that would have resulted in a touchdown. ... Javin Hunter intercepted a pass intended for Travis Taylor during one-on-one drills. ... T.J. Slaughter delivered the first hit of camp, lowering his shoulder into tight end Nick Eller and sending him to the ground.
Thumbs down: Marques Douglas ended up on the turf in two of the first three plays in team drills, courtesy of Edwin Mulitalo. ... Kordell Stewart and Chester Taylor fumbled an exchange. ... Less than a minute later, Boller fumbled an aborted handoff, sending coach Brian Billick on a profanity-laced tirade.
Quotable: "They were definitely talking at game speed. But they were a little rusty too." - right guard Bennie Anderson said of the defense.
Injuries: Peter Boulware (knee), Anthony Wright (shoulder), B.J. Sams (thumb) and Trent Smith (leg) did not practice. Smith is day-to-day. Sams is out for the next four weeks. Ed Hartwell left the morning practice early after straining his quadriceps. He is expected back Friday. Chris McAlister (contract dispute) is not in attendance.
Today's schedule: Full-squad practice, 8:45 to 11:10 a.m. Special teams, 3 to 4 p.m.
Countdown to season opener: 40 days.