Pryce Cut Is Roster Move For Now
14-YEAR VETERAN WILL "BE MISSED"
By Joe Platania
OWINGS MILLS -- The Ravens are experiencing the random vagaries of having an overly-talented roster.
Wednesday morning's rather surprising release of defensive end Trevor Pryce looks to be a temporary transaction, as the team would like to bring him back as soon as possible.
If no team claims him off waivers within 24 hours, he can be signed by any team, including the one who released him.
|Trevor Pryce is third among active players with a career total of 90 sacks, including 26 as a Raven. (Sabina Moran/PressBox)
That was the Ravens' philosophy last week in releasing safety Ken Hamlin when cornerback Cary Williams came off suspension. Head coach John Harbaugh warned observers not to "read too much into" the Pryce transaction, necessitated by Hamlin's return. "It's just a roster move," Harbaugh repeated several times.
Even though he was not made available to Baltimore-area media during the open locker room period, Pryce believes he will be back as well. In fact, his locker still had a jersey, pads, plenty of street clothes and personal effects inside.
If Pryce, who turned 35 years old in August, doesn't return to the Ravens for whatever reason, he has had plenty to keep him busy over the years, such as a record label (which he sold a few years ago) and a production company that has already sold two movie screenplays and a pair of TV scripts as well.
But none can compare to what Pryce's candor and benevolence has brought to his teammates.
"A lot of wisdom and he's been in the league for so many years," said defensive end Paul Kruger, whose playing time could increase with Pryce's departure and Cory Redding's concussion.
"He's seen and done everything," Kruger said. "He can offer you advice on any type of situation, whether it's personal or football. He's definitely been a big influence on me since I've been here."
Kruger and defensive linemate Brandon McKinney, inserted into last Sunday's win against Cleveland at Pryce's expense, have both caused turnovers against the Steelers in the teams' last two Baltimore meetings.
During overtime in last December's home win, Kruger picked off a Dennis Dixon pass and ran it back 26 yards to set up Billy Cundiff's game-winning field goal. However, Kruger has not yet been active for a game this year due to a shoulder injury.
Kruger said Wednesday he is not feeling any pain, so the situations regarding Pryce and Redding could change his status.
"I don't know Cory's situation," Kruger said. "But it definitely looks like there's something we can do. ... It's always a big game (against Pittsburgh) and I'm always excited to play. Definitely ready."
Still, it had to be tough for the defensive line unit to hear the news about Pryce. Nose tackle Kelly Gregg was definitely taken aback.
"He's a big influence on (the young) guys," Gregg said. "He's been doing this a long time. It's just the way the business is, I guess. He'll be missed. He's a major part of things. We watch TV in the morning together. It's tough not him being here. but he'll be back. It'll be good for his body to get a week of rest."
Pryce first came to Baltimore after nine seasons with the Broncos. After being drafted in the first round (28th overall) of the 1997 selection meeting, Pryce was on a pair of Super Bowl-winning rosters in his first two seasons.
As a Raven, Pryce recorded 26 sacks of his career total of 90, third among active players. He has led Baltimore in sacks on two occasions, getting 13.5 in 2006 and 6.5 last season.
The yardage lost on all of his Ravens sacks totals 601, second among players still in the league; the New York Jets' Jason Taylor leads both categories.
But Pryce also saw field time on special teams as well. His most memorable play involved blocking a Rob Bironas field goal at Tennessee, helping the Ravens escape with a win at Nashville in 2006. Pryce was given AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the block.
Pryce was one of a number of Ravens injured in 2007, putting such a crimp in the team's season it went on a franchise-record nine-game losing streak.
He missed five early-season games with a broken wrist, then the season's final six with a torn pectoral muscle after being placed on injured reserve. He returned in 2008 to knock down a career-high six passes, but even though he played all 16 games last season, his starts dipped from 16 to eight.
WHERE ARE BRIAN AND GOOSE?: Fox color analyst and ex-Ravens head coach Brian Billick will stay in the NFC North Division for another week.
Billick, sideline reporter Charissa Thompson and play-by-play partner Thom Brennaman will head to Lambeau Field in Green Bay where Billick was 0-2 when he coached the Ravens, for the intradivisional showdown between the Packers and the winless Detroit Lions.
The Packers are coming off a game where they committed 18 penalties in a loss at Chicago. Yet, it was against Detroit the Billick-led Ravens played one of their worst games, getting flagged 21 times in a 2005 loss to the Lions.
The Billick-Brennaman duo have called two of the more noteworthy games in the league this year already, the disputed Calvin Johnson no-catch in Detroit's loss at Chicago and the Atlanta Falcons' overtime win against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.
Speaking of New Orleans, the restaurants had better hide their gumbo because Fox sideline reporter Tony Siragusa and booth partners Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston are coming to town for the Saints' game against the winless Carolina Panthers.
THINK PINK: Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October, but the endlessly-played NFL Films footage of players wearing pink cleats, wristbands and patches, not to mention on-field pink-ribbon logos and coaches wearing pink-brimmed hats, airs all year long.
And that's the idea. The NFL, whose female fan base seemingly grows by leaps and bounds every year, continues to encourage annual mammograms for women under 40.
The pink will likely be out in force at Heinz Field during Sunday's crucial AFC North Division clash between the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m., WJZ-TV, WIYY-FM).
The Ravens have two October home games to put their stamp on the campaign, an Oct. 10 game against the Denver Broncos and Oct. 24 against the Buffalo Bills.
And before you tune in to watch the Ravens-Steelers clash, WBAL-TV will broadcast the Komen Race for the Cure earlier Sunday (7 a.m.) from the Hunt Valley Towne Centre.
GREATEST PLAYERS: In case you haven't been following the NFL Network show dealing with the 100 greatest players in league history. The thing we like most about the show is each one has a presenter, as if they were getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. Of course, most of the guys on this list are already there. And there are a few with Baltimore or Maryland ties.
94. Lenny Moore. Presenter: ex-Washington Redskins great Bobby Mitchell.
88. Ed Reed. Presenter: Pittsburgh receiver Hines Ward.
82. Ted Hendricks. Presenter: former Oakland defensive lineman Howie Long.
76. Art Shell (UMES). Presenter: ex-Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf.
73. Ozzie Newsome. Presenter: former Cleveland coach Marty Schottenheimer.
72. Jonathan Ogden. Presenter: ex-New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan
62. Randy White (Maryland). Presenter: former Redskins guard Mark May.
TRIVIA TIME: As all Ravens fans know, linebacker Terrell Suggs came to the Ravens after being selected in the first round of the 2003 draft. That year, the Ravens opened their regular season schedule at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Who was the first player Suggs tackled as a pro in a regular season game: Antwaan Randle El, Tommy Maddox or Plaxico Burress?
ANSWER: Suggs did not start in the 2003 opener at Pittsburgh. The linebackers that day were Adalius Thomas, Ed Hartwell, Peter Boulware and Ray Lewis. But he was on the field midway through the first quarter for a third-and-goal play the Steelers ran from the Ravens' 6.
The Steelers had driven deep into Baltimore territory following a Kyle Boller interception run back 42 yards by linebacker Kendrell Bell, not to mention a defensive holding foul by Lewis.
But on third down, Suggs came free and sacked Maddox to force the Steelers to settle for a Jeff Reed 31-yard field goal. It would be the first of his 59 career sacks, which currently has him second on the Ravens' all-time list, 11 behind Boulware.
It would be the only tackle Suggs would have in the 34-15 loss. The following week, at home against Cleveland, Suggs recorded his first non-sack tackle on Browns running back William Green.
Posted September 29, 2010
For a practice report and Harbaugh comments, visit CSNBaltimore.com.