McGahee gives Jets runaround

The Baltimore Sun

The New York Jets might be just what Willis McGahee ordered.

The Ravens running back has enjoyed sustained success against the Jets rush defense, compiling at least 110 yards in each of his past five games when McGahee was the featured back for the Buffalo Bills.

The Jets come to M&T; Bank Stadium on Sunday at 4:15 p.m., but McGahee downplayed his track record against them.

"I just had a good experience with them," he said. "There's been one time when they stopped me [for] under 100 yards. They're going to game plan just like we're going to game plan. So it's another game for us. I'm looking forward to it on Sunday. We've just got to go out there and play."

In his past five games against New York, McGahee has averaged 132.6 yards and 5.1 yards per carry. He rushed for three touchdowns during that span.

McGahee's success has not been overlooked by at least one Jets player.

"He killed us a bunch of times," said linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who played with McGahee at the University of Miami. "Strong guy, a fast guy. He's very explosive. So it's all those things you want in a back and that you hate to see in a back. We have to get after him."

McGahee said he feels fine after his 19-carry, 77-yard effort in Monday night's 27-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and said he has no expectations about his workload Sunday.

"If my number's called, I'm going to go out and do what I've got to do," he said.

"Willis is a good back; that's why we coveted him," Billick told New York media during a conference call yesterday. "Obviously, he is very familiar with [the Jets], and that is a plus."

Ravens roots

Jets coach Eric Mangini scored his first job in the NFL as a 23-year-old ballboy for the Cleveland Browns during training camp in 1994. He worked there in public relations and eventually landed a job as a quality control assistant during the Ravens' first season.

One of Mangini's first duties after coming to the Ravens in 1996 was phoning in the team's selection of offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden as the fourth overall pick in the draft.

"I got to phone in the first pick ever [for the Ravens]," said Mangini, who met his wife, Julie, the daughter of prominent Baltimore lawyer Ron Shapiro, during his stay with the Ravens. "I remember Mr. [Art] Modell giving me a hard time because it was filmed. I wasn't exactly used to that."

Mangini is now quite used to the spotlight, and he made a cameo appearance in one of the final episodes of The Sopranos. "It was a great opportunity, and then they gave me a role I would be good at: eating dinner," Mangini said.

Ross activated

Running back Cory Ross watched the Ravens' Monday night game at home and didn't think the injury to return specialist B.J. Sams was serious.

Then Ross went to lift weights Tuesday and discovered that Sams' season was cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Yesterday, the team placed Sams on injured reserve, promoted Ross to the active roster from the practice squad and signed wide receiver Romby Bryant to fill Ross' spot on the practice squad.

"When you're out here on the field, everybody's equal, everybody's playing football, and that's what you're doing," Ross said. "To be promoted is just their way of telling you, 'Hey, we might need you to come out here and play for us, so be ready.' "

Billick declined to say who would handle return duties against the Jets. "We'll determine at the end of the week how we want to proceed," he said. "It could be a combination of both" Ross and Yamon Figurs.

Et cetera

Billick declined to disclose the team's conversations with the NFL about several disputed officials' calls from Monday night. "Next game," he said. ... McGahee said he doesn't know much about the extent of Bills tight end Kevin Everett's cervical spine injury. "I'm sorry for what happened to him," McGahee said. "In football, anything can happen." ... Former Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel will provide analysis of Sunday's game on CBS Radio/Westwood One, which will carry the game nationally. Fassel was fired by Billick on Oct. 17. ... Sams overtook Jermaine Lewis as the franchise's all-time leader in kickoff return yards with 3,161. Lewis had 3,153 yards between 1996 and 2001.

Sun reporter Don Markus contributed to this article.

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