Ravens Notebook

Le'Ron McClain was in no mood to talk, limping through the locker room with a sad expression on his face. The Baltimore Ravens' Pro Bowl fullback didn't practice Wednesday due to a sprained left ankle, and he's regarded as a major question mark for Sunday night's AFC North clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's believed he suffered a high-ankle sprain, the type that tends to linger.

No longer wearing a walking boot, McClain's ankle looked swollen.

"I'm alright," McClain said. "I'm good." When asked if he'll be able to play Sunday, he replied: "I don't know." McClain was considerably more upbeat on his Twitter account earlier this week. "Just got done seeing Doctor Chad! Ankle feeling great," McClain wrote. "Pittsburgh week, I gots to be ready." The Ravens haven't officially ruled out McClain, but they aren't exactly counting on him. "Le'Ron is a guy who's going to be day to day," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We think he's got a chance. I don't know what the percentages are. It's a tough ankle sprain, but he's played with those kind of things before, so we'll have to see."

McKie was cut by the Chicago Bears this spring after starting for the previous four years. The 5-foot-11, 247-pound former Temple player is preparing to play a significant role against the Steelers as a lead blocker. "I'm a hard-nosed blocker," McKie said. "I've been doing that for years in Chicago. I've played against almost every team in the NFL, so I can help out as far as veteran leadership. T "There's a lot to learn. The plays carry over, but as far as what they call it and what the formations are, you've got to try and learn the lingo and the terminology. I feel pretty comfortable so far."

McKie was no longer a fit for the Bears' offense once new offensive coordinator Mike Martz arrived. Cut by the New Orleans Saints twice this year since leaving Chicago, McKie has been out of a job until this week. "I have an opportunity to play for a great team with a bunch of great guys and a great coach," McKie said. "I just want to come in here and contribute in any way I can. I've been anxious to play football." McKie said he doesn't harbor a grudge against the Bears.

"There's no hard feelings, either way," he said. "In the NFL, things change all the time. Guys change teams, offenses change, different coordinators. I'm just thankful for the opportunity I've got now. I'm happy they're still doing well up there, and I'm glad to be with a great team like the Ravens." McKie is no stranger to the Steelers having played against them last season while blocking for Matt Forte.

Now, he'll be indoctrinated into the Ravens' blood rivalry with Pittsburgh. "I've seen it for years," McKie said. "How can you not? Every year they play, they're two of the top teams in the AFC. We played them last year in Chicago and had a lot of success against them, so that brings a lot of familiarity. I think it's going to be a great game. It's a good time to come in and try to help."



OHER EXPECTED TO PLAY: Offensive tackle Michael Oher is expected to be protecting quarterback Joe Flacco's blind side Sunday night despite a sprained right knee. Oher practiced Wednesday with his knee heavily wrapped, but participated fully. "I should be ready for Sunday," Oher said prior to practice. "I hope so." Oher left the field briefly and then returned and didn't appear to have any difficulty performing blocking drills. "Everything came back fine," Oher said. "I'm good. I definitely want to play. That's why the last couple of days I've been up here all day getting a lot of work in. I'm trying to get back out there."

Oher is balancing his priorities between practicing to get ready for this game and resting his knee to recuperate properly. "It's 50-50," Oher said. "Both of them are important. You've got to be out there to get the game speed and reps in and get your plays down, but you also want to be 100 percent." The magnitude of this game is a big factor. "It's Pittsburgh, and it's Pittsburgh week," Oher said. "I love playing against my former teammate, Mike Wallace. This is our rival, and we're tied for first place with these guys and we want to beat them. It's definitely a big game." The Ravens' offensive line fared well against Steelers outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley in the last meeting, a 17-14 win at Heinz Field.

"Woodley and Harrison, they're two great players," Oher said. "Just those two guys alone, just taking care of those guys, you got to play lights out against these guys.

"We did a lot of different things and they did a lot of different things. Hopefully, we come out and both do the same thing we did last game." SUGGS BRINGS DOWN THE HOUSE:- In the middle of a resurgent season and named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month on Wednesday, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs had a humorous answer for why he's improved this season. "I quit doing cocaine," said Suggs, causing reporters crowded around his locker to break into laughter.

Of course, Suggs was just kidding. "I'm just playing, I'm just playing," Suggs said. "I've never taken cocaine. My mom's going to kill me. I'm just playing, I'm just joking." Suggs went on to say that he's having fun on the field this year. Suggs leads the Ravens with 7 1/2 sacks after recording a career-low 3 1/2 sacks last season. "I just felt the love for the game," Suggs said. "I started having fun again. I think we threw an interception last week and I just smiled the whole series. I'm having a great time out here. "I was just having fun. It's just the love for the game. I just needed to get away and I think I was able to do that this past offseason and get back to being Sizzle." Suggs recorded four sacks in November, notching 14 tackles.

"He's been rushing the passer really well all the way through," Harbaugh said. "Sometimes, you come up with some sacks. We didn't get the sacks in the last game and yet we got a lot of pressure, and he was a big part of that as far as getting Josh Freeman off the spot and making him move around and throw the ball. "So, I'm hoping more of those come. Sometimes, it's just being in the right place at the right time."

Suggs has developed into a strong all-around defensive player, emerging as more than just a pass rusher.

"When I first got here that's all I wanted was sacks," Suggs said. "And then a certain defensive coordinator and a couple of guys were like, ‘No, you don't want to just be labeled as a pass rusher. You want to do everything. "You want to stop the run. You want to drop. You want to have all that on your résumé.' So, I guess that's a fair assessment that I can do all things. I guess I sound like a Bible verse." As for the jokes, Suggs couldn't resist taking a shot at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Suggs thinks that Brady is pampered by the league. When asked about the fight between Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan, Suggs said: "Maybe I throw some punches at a quarterback with a bad hairdo, I'd get thrown out of the league." HANDSHAKE-GATE?: Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward accused Harbaugh of not liking him, saying that he felt snubbed by him prior to the Ravens' win at Heinz Field earlier this season. "I don't think their head coach likes me," Ward told Pittsburgh reporters. "I tried to shake his hand before we played them the last time. He gave me a fake handshake. He didn't even look at me. That's fine. Whatever." Harbaugh seemed surprised to hear about Ward's sentiments.

"That I don't like him? I wouldn't look at him when I shook his hand? I gave him a fake handshake, really?" Harbaugh said with a smile. "I didn't know there was a barometer for the pregame handshake. That's good to know. There's a meter, a scale. I need some work on that. That will be good. "I'll just take it as constructive criticism. It's an opportunity to improve my pregame decorum and courteousness. I've got a lot of respect for Hines Ward obviously. I'll be looking forward to seeing him before the game then. I'll try to be better, Hines."

Harbaugh was complimentary of Ward's game. And he acknowledged that it is somewhat awkward to shake hands with opponents given how intense games are.

"It probably is a little bit," he said. "I don't get involved with that too much. I'm on the sidelines watching it. He's a physical player. It's an intense game. After the game, guys are pretty good about shaking hands. Before the game, obviously we don't do as good a job." INJURY UPDATES: Strong safety Dawan Landry was limited after suffering a mild concussion Sunday. Offensive guard Chris Chester returned to practice after missing the past two games with a lower leg infection, participating fully. Tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) also participated fully after being sidelined against Tampa Bay.

"I'm feeling better, I'm feeling a lot better from where I was last week to now," Dickson said. "It's Steelers week. You've got to wrap it up and be ready to go. If I have to hobble out there and make the big block, I'm gonna go out there. "I'm day to day. With those kind of muscle injuries, you can always mess them up worse. So, you've got to basically do the necessary treatment and get back as soon as you can." Free safety Tom Zbikowski (bruised heel) missed the past five games, but is expected to play against Pittsburgh.

"We're confident Zibby can go," Harbaugh said. "He was out there last week and did a good job. Didn't feel like he was quite ready, but we're expecting him to go.

Zbikowski is no longer on the injury report. "It felt good last week at practice, I just didn't think I was ready to play yet," Zbikowski said. "I'm definitely more comfortable now. I'm ready to go."

For the Steelers, safety Troy Polamalu (ankle) didn't practice as well as defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps).

The following players were limited: offensive tackle Flozell Adams (back), defensive end Nick Eason (knee), cornerback Bryant McFadden (hamstring) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (foot).



PLAYOFF TICKETS GOING ON SALE: The NFL requested that the Ravens begin the process of selling playoff tickets for potential home playoff games. The Ravens alerted season ticket holders through e-mails about chances to purchase tickets for two games and PSL holders will be sent a notice through the mail.

There will also be a lottery for available seats for PSL holders to buy additional tickets. Then, sales will go toward the general public if tickets remain available.

Wild-card game prices will be $54 to $165 with $64 to $180 for divisional round games and $109 to $230 for the AFC championship game.

QUICK HITS: After cutting safety Ken Hamlin on Tuesday, the Ravens don't expect him to be out of a job for long. "My guess is he will be picked up right away," Harbaugh said. "He's a really good player. The numbers have just gotten us. We just haven't been able to hold on to some guys in some situations. I was disappointed to lose him." … The Ravens' fire alarm went off when a sprinkler was hit in the team's indoor practice facility. The Ravens ran their special-teams practice outside before going back inside once the fire alarm was cut off. … Suggs was sympathetic toward oft-fined Steelers linebacker James Harrison. During a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters, Suggs said that Harrison is under scrutiny from officials. "The referees are kind of looking for him," Suggs said. "Even if he breathes on a quarterback wrong, he might get a flag. I think they are looking at him more closely than they are everybody else in the league. In the referee world, they kind of red-flagged him." Suggs added that he thinks the NFL gives certain quarterbacks preferential treatment like Brady and Peyton Manning. "The league has their favorites," Suggs said. "One being in Indy and one being with that other team up north. Besides those two, everybody is fair game. Some quarterbacks are getting the calls right away. Some quarterbacks they don't care. Like I always said, Carson Palmer got hit in his knee in 2005, but there was no rule made. Then, Tom Brady got hit in his knee and all of a sudden there is a rule and possible suspensions, excessive fines. It's just getting ridiculous." … The Ravens are 6-1 in Baltimore against the Steelers since 2003.

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