The news that Trevor Pryce had signed with the New York Jets swept through the media and general public Thursday. But at least one of Pryce's former Ravens teammates said he knew about the defensive end's defection as early as Wednesday night.
"I found out last night," nose tackle Kelly Gregg said. "He called right after we got out of practice. It's just sad to see a guy like that go. He was instrumental in our defense and in our room, and it's just a crazy situation."
Added outside linebacker Jarret Johnson: "It [stinks] losing him. We were hoping to get him back next week. When you release a good player like him, there's always a possibility that another team will scoop him up."
Pryce's absence continued to resonate Thursday. His locker at the team's training facility remain untouched, and free safety Ed Reed wore Pryce's jersey during the open locker room session prior to practice.
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who broke the signing when he disclosed the move via his Twitter account, said he was stunned.
"If it was up to me, he would be lining up next to me," Suggs said of Pryce. "I definitely would want him in this locker room. Now, he's over there with Rex-daddy."
Pryce was released by the team Wednesday to make room for safety Ken Hamlin, but coach John Harbaugh had been adamant that the roster move was not significant and that Pryce could return to Owings Mills as early as next week.
In signing with New York, Pryce reunites with former Ravens defensive coordinator and current Jets head coach Rex Ryan. Under Ryan between 2006 and 2008, Pryce registered 19½ sacks, including a career-best 13 sacks in 2006.
That year, Pryce was asked whether Ryan would be suitable head coach. "If he becomes a head coach, I'm going to find out and I'm going with him," Pryce had said at the time.
Although Pryce led the Ravens in sacks last season with 6½, the 35-year-old defensive end lost his starting job towards the middle of last season, and he agreed to a $2.5 million pay cut in the offseason to remain with the team.
But defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said Pryce never wavered in his belief that he could contribute.
"I know he feels like he's not done and that he has a little more left in his tank," Ngata said. "It's good that he was able to find another team."
Pryce will earn $2 million from the Ravens for this season and money on the one-year deal he signed with New York.
Gaither not expected to play
Jared Gaither, who practiced on a limited basis Wednesday for the first time in 55 days, sat out Thursday's session. The offensive tackle has been bothered by a thoracic disk injury in his back.
Gaither was able to bend into his stance on Wednesday, but it is believed that he is still a few weeks away from being able to compete for the starting right tackle job, which is currently being manned by Marshal Yanda.
Gaither declined to speak to the media prior to practice, but offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said it would be difficult to envision Gaither lining up in Sunday's contest against the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Yeah, I think that'd be asking a lot of anyone," Cameron said Thursday. "It's nice to have him back. I think it's nice to get the feeling like he's back in the mix."
Rice, Redding return to practice
Rice, who bruised his right knee in the team's 24-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, wore a red, non-contact mesh over his jersey. Redding, who sustained a concussion in the third quarter against Cleveland, was dressed, carried his helmet, and ran to join the other defensive linemen in positional drills, and Moll, who is dealing with a hip injury, worked with the offensive linemen.
In addition to Gaither, outside linebacker Edgar Jones (thigh) did not participate.
Johnson (back) was limited for the second consecutive day, and cornerback Chris Carr (thigh) was added to the report as being limited.
Center Matt Birk (back), right guard Chris Chester (back) and tight end Todd Heap (shoulder) practiced fully for the second straight day. Fullback Le'Ron McClain also wore a red, non-contact jersey, but he was not listed on the injury report.
Ravens not checking in at "The Hotel"
One of the largest players on the Steelers' roster is 6-foot-7, 338-pound offensive tackle Flozell Adams and the assignment of getting past him could fall to either Ngata or Johnson.
"He's like a hotel, just like his nickname," said Ngata, who isn't exactly a slouch at 6-4 and 350 pounds. "He's just so big and takes up so much space. You can't see around him, so you've got to try to use his body against him. You can't do anything if you just go straight up against him. So you've got to try to use the edges on him."
If Adams — who was signed on July 30 to replace injured right tackle Willie Colon — has a vulnerability, it's his penchant for collecting penalties. Over the last five seasons, he's the second-most penalized player after Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Alex Barron.
Lewis' plan to keep Ward from smiling
Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward, who is considered Public Enemy No. 1 by the Ravens' fan base, plays the game with emotion, intensity and that smile.
Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis said that smile "[ticks] most people off."
So how do you knock the smile off Ward's face?
"Hit him. Easy," Lewis said with a chuckle. "That's a way to knock a smile off anybody's face on the football field."
The Ravens are tied for last in the NFL for the fewest takeaways (one) with the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans, but defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said he isn't stressing out. "You can't press and say, 'Boy, look at the stats. We haven't gotten many turnovers, we haven't gotten many interceptions,'" Mattison said. "You know what? All of a sudden, the thing you've got to look at is, have you gotten as many as you could have gotten? And we had a couple dropped, but other than that, there aren't a lot of other ones that we could've gotten had we played something differently. They're going to come." … Only one Steelers starter – right guard Trai Essex (ankle) – did not practice Thursday. A pair of reserves in quarterback Dennis Dixon (knee) and defensive tackle Chris Hoke (knee) didn't practice for the second consecutive day.