Martin covers all the bases

The Baltimore Sun

No Chris McAlister? No Samari Rolle? No problem for Derrick Martin.

With the Ravens missing their starting cornerback tandem yesterday at training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster, Martin put forth a strong showing.

He intercepted a pass by quarterback Troy Smith, nearly collected two more interceptions and broke up an additional pass. It was the kind of display that impressed observers, but the third-year defensive back chastised himself for his mistakes.

"I should catch all of them that come to me," said Martin, who dropped and did 10 push-ups on the sideline after failing to grab a pass by Kyle Boller. "I'm just like one of the receivers. I feel like when the ball's in the air, it's mine. So when I drop one, I have to hit the push-ups."

An improved Martin could bolster a pass defense ranked 20th in yards allowed per game (222.3) and tied for 26th in passing touchdowns allowed (27). Some might say Martin endured a tumultuous offseason. Last month, he was cited for alleged drug possession after security officials at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport discovered three small packets of suspected marijuana while searching the cornerback. Martin declined to comment about the incident.

The Ravens did not draft a cornerback but traded a fourth-round pick for former Oakland Raider Fabian Washington and signed former Green Bay Packer Frank Walker as an unrestricted free agent.

Martin said he relishes the additional competition.

"There's a lot of people here, and it's all about competition," said Martin, who is also battling Corey Ivy, Ronnie Prude and David Pittman for a shot at the nickel back position. "They're giving everybody a shot. The position's up for grabs, and everybody's got to perform."

Paying their respects

Linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Derrick Mason, safety Ed Reed and McAlister joined general manager Ozzie Newsome on team owner Steve Bisciotti 's private jet to fly to Florida to attend the funeral of Rolle's father, Harry.

Lewis and Mason are expected to return to practice today, while Reed (physically-unable-to-perform list) and McAlister (nonfootball injury list) could be on the field today.

Coach John Harbaugh said the team has not imposed a deadline on Rolle's presence at training camp. "The timetable is Samari's right now," Harbaugh said.

End zone

Starting left offensive tackle Jared Gaither (Maryland) was carted off the field yesterday morning with his right ankle wrapped and did not practice in the afternoon. ... Left guard Ben Grubbs left the morning session early but was able to walk off on his own and returned in the afternoon. ... Running back P.J. Daniels did not practice for reasons undisclosed, while running back Cory Ross and offensive lineman David Hale did not participate in the afternoon session. ... Pittman, who is on the physically-unable-to-perform list with a foot injury, completed drills on his own. Wide receiver Demetrius Williams (lower left leg) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (offseason toe surgery), who are also on the physically-unable-to-perform list, worked out in the pool at the team hotel.

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