Return to practice a fine feeling for cornerback Rolle

The Baltimore Sun

Samari Rolle was bouncing around before the start of Ravens practice yesterday, and that felt right.

The 10-year cornerback practiced with the team for the first time since Sept. 20, and although he was limited in what he did, Rolle said he felt fine afterward.

"It felt good just to put a helmet on and not have any restrictions on what you can do," he said. "I was more hyper than anything just for the fact that I hadn't even put a helmet on. So it was a good feeling."

Whether Rolle will start Sunday against the St. Louis Rams is not nearly as definitive. Rolle said the key would be his level of participation in practice today and tomorrow, and coach Brian Billick was tight-lipped about the cornerback's status.

But Billick acknowledged that getting Rolle back onto the field would have a ripple effect through the entire team.

"Having him back allows - particularly at nickel - Corey [Ivy] to go back to the nickel spot where he is so, so good," Billick said. "It also allows us in special teams, the guys that had to step into that role can now step back into their special teams role, which just cascades down. So we're anxious to have him back."

Rolle has missed the past three games because of an illness he has declined to describe and complications from medication administered to treat the illness.

Rolle, who hadn't missed a game since his final season with the Tennessee Titans in 2004, said he understood the frustration that offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and defensive end Trevor Pryce endured watching their teammates from the sidelines.

"It hurt a lot when you know you're needed out there," Rolle said. "It's the same thing with Trevor being out and J.O. being out. When you really can't do anything, it makes you kind of want to remove yourself from the situation."

Heap optimistic

Tight end Todd Heap, who was limited in practice, said he was cautiously optimistic that his strained hamstring had healed enough to allow him to play against the Rams.

"I talk to a lot of guys on our team that have had [strained hamstrings], and you've got to be careful," said Heap, who is the Ravens' second-leading receiver in catches and third in yards despite sitting out Sunday's 9-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers. "You've got to be smart about it, but it's been improving every day, which is a good sign. I'm excited for this week."

Tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained toe) and linebacker Gary Stills - who wore a brace on his left knee - did not practice. Wide receiver Derrick Mason sat out with an unusual ailment, according to Billick.

"He's got - as Tess [trainer Bill Tessendorf] says - gastroenteritis," Billick said. "In my neighborhood, that's [diarrhea]. So you put whatever label you want to."

Lloyd understanding

Rhys Lloyd said he understood why the team released him Saturday.

The kicker, who was informed Friday by the coaches that he would be released, said he recognized that the team needed his spot on the active roster to add depth at wide receiver by promoting rookie Matt Willis from the practice squad.

"It was something that they needed to do," said Lloyd, who was re-signed Tuesday. "You've got to take one for the team, but I was more than happy to do it. In this league, you can't hold a grudge or anything. So I was more than willing to do it, and they signed me back. They kept their word, which was nice, too."

To make room for Lloyd, the Ravens cut Willis from the active roster and re-signed him to the practice squad. The team also terminated the practice-squad contract of wide receiver Romby Bryant and signed offensive lineman Brandon Torrey to the practice squad.

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