Ravens Notebook

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens cornerback Chris Carr is dealing with a hamstring injury that could affect his status for Saturday's AFC divisional playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Carr was downgraded to not practicing Thursday after being limited Wednesday. The starting cornerback could be a potential game-time decision, but Carr and coach John Harbaugh both predicted he would play.

"It's one of those things that you feel like you're going to be fine, you don't think it's going to be too serious and I felt like I'm going to play on Saturday," Carr said. " But certain injuries you never know how they're going to feel. So, it's not like an ACL where you know you're done, there's no way you're going to be able to play. It's one of those injuries where I feel good and I feel like I'm going to play, but you just never know."

Carr acknowledged that it will come down to how he feels during the drills before kickoff. "If I don't feel good, then I won't go," Carr said. "But I feel like I will feel well enough on Saturday." Carr wouldn't specify when he got hurt, but he wasn't listed on the injury report prior to the Ravens' 30-7 AFC wild-card win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. He was reluctant to discuss his injury at all. "I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but it happened," Carr said. "Sorry, I usually give better interviews than this." Deadly serious, Harbaugh was in no mood to discuss injuries. "Oh, he'll play," Harbaugh said. "He'll be fine. We're not going into injuries right now, so don't even try. I'm serious. Not interested in talking about any of that."

FAMILIARITY INCREASES: The Cleveland Browns' new head coach is an old acquaintance of Harbaugh. Pat Shurmur was under consideration to become the Ravens' offensive coordinator before Harbaugh hired Cam Cameron. Shurmur worked on the same Philadelphia Eagles' staff with Harbaugh for a decade, coaching the quarterbacks. He was hired Thursday by the Browns after a successful stint as the St. Louis Rams' offensive coordinator as he developed rookie quarterback Sam Bradford.

"Pat Shurmur is a great friend, we've got a lot of respect for him," Harbaugh said. "Great family man, tremendous football coach, obviously, we've spent a lot of time together in Philly. We took a lot of long runs around South Philadelphia there, talked a lot of ball over the years. I'm really happy for him, He's very deserving." Harbaugh said it doesn't bother him that he'll be competing against Shurmur. He's looking forward to it. "No, I don't care," Harbaugh said. "I'm excited about it. We squared off on a lot of other little [competitions] golf and basketball and things like that. So, we're used to it."

INJURY UPDATE: Center Matt Birk didn't practice for the second consecutive day to a knee injury. Birk has been dealing with a left injury for the past few weeks, but hasn't missed a start all season.

Wide receiver Donte' Stallworth returned to practice, participating fully after missing Wednesday with an illness. "Yeah, I'm a lot better," Stallworth said. "I just had a little stomach deal. I've been talking to the doctor and they said if it was to continue I would take an IV before Saturday. I'm fine." Safety Tom Zbikowski (bulging disc in his back) and inside linebacker Tavares Gooden (dislocated left shoulder) participated fully again. Meanwhile, Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (Achilles) returned to practice on a full-time basis.

He was out on Wednesday. The Steelers increased cornerback Bryant McFadden's activity from limited to full. He has an abdomen injury.

Defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps) was limited again. He's not expected to play Saturday. ON A ROLL: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has been a terror in the playoffs, recording seven sacks in eight career playoff games. He sacked Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel twice last week and sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger two seasons ago in the AFC championship game.

Suggs ranks second in sacks in the postseason over the past four years, only ranking behind Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley's eight.

"You want your players to play their best, especially in games that count, especially in the playoffs," Suggs said. "I just want to win. That goes for the rest of the 53 men on this team. We just want to win." Suggs has already created a stir by wearing a T-shirt during interviews that sports a Raven bird flipping the Steelers the bird. "No," Harbaugh said when asked about Suggs' message. "No reaction." There's a rumor circulating around the training complex that Harbaugh has told the players they can have some fun this week in terms of what they say, just as long as they back up their words on the field Saturday.



HANDSHAKE?: After being informed of Hines Ward's complaints about giving him a "fake handshake" earlier this season in Pittsburgh, Harbaugh sought out the wide receiver before the Ravens' last game against the Steelers. They never connected, though. Harbaugh said he has no problem with shaking hands with Ward. "I'm not opposed to shaking anybody's hand before the game," Harbaugh said. "I'm looking forward to it."



COMMERCIALS: Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis is quite the pitchman, appearing in a series of Old Spice commercials. And Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu is in demand for advertising, too, with his popular Head & Shoulders spots.

So, who's commercials are superior? "Now, this has got to be the funniest question I have ever heard in my life," Lewis said. "I don't know. I like Troy's commercial. I even like the next one that just came out with the multiple heads going everywhere. I just think they're all in fun. If you know Troy, you know his personality. "When you get on commercial sets, it's amazing the things they can ask you to do, and then you know the heat that you're going to take for it all year. I've been taking this heat all year, so I'm going to keep riding it out and hopefully I can get away with it at the end of the year."

IMPRESSED: Free safety Ed Reed has been quiet around the Ravens' training complex this week, declining interview requests. The former NFL Defensive Player is dealing with a lot, though, as he and his family grieve his younger brother, Brian Reed, who has disappeared after jumping into the Mississippi River last Friday to elude police.

"I just think he's been great," Harbaugh said. "He's dealing with a lot, obviously, more than you'd wish on anybody. He's just been a real pro. He's been here at work every day. He's been leading. He's been teaching like he always does, and he's getting himself ready to play, but he's carrying that with him certainly." Reed returned to Louisiana via a private jet following the Ravens' win in Kansas City, returning in time Tuesday to attend meetings and participate in practice. He hasn't missed a minute of preparation despite the trying personal situation. Reed has leaned on teammates and coaches for support this week.

"I think everybody has a part in dealing with it," Harbaugh said. "You're on a team, and we deal with things, and we go through things. You've got relationships on a team, so I think everybody gets involved to whatever extent they have a relationship with that person to different degrees. And, I'm a part of that as much as anybody. But it's always a team thing."

QUICK HITS: Harbaugh declined to discuss his emotions less than two days before kickoff. "I don't care to talk about it. I'm just excited to play," he said. "I can't describe that. I'm not eloquent enough to describe that. It's just a big game, and we're proud to be in it. We're going to try to go do our best. Me, like all of our guys, I think what you try to do is just do your job. That's the focus of it, is just to do your job. The emotions, that's all part of it, but doing your job is a lot more important." … Harbaugh said he doesn't think his relationship with his younger brother will change with Jim Harbaugh being hired by the San Francisco 49ers. "I don't think the relationship will change," Harbaugh said. "I think we'll still be brothers, and I'm sure we'll still talk football. You'll probably be a little more careful with what you share. We won't be talking about injuries, I know that, before we play them that week. It's just a great thing. I couldn't be more proud of him or excited. It's very cool, and I know our parents feel great about it. It'll be interesting to see how it shakes out. We play them next year, but that's on the backburner right now." … Lewis was asked about Ward's comments that he doesn't like the Ravens. Does he feel the same way about the Steelers. "Listen, I like pizza," Lewis said. "I like a lot of things. And then there's a lot of things I don't like. It's OK to use that word, like. But it's always good when you don't get that other word.

And that is, when you don't respect somebody. He gives us the same respect that we give them. Once the whistle blows, you buckle up your chin straps, and all over again, let's finish this and let's do it the way we do it and let's see what happens at the end of the day." Since that didn't really answer the question, Lewis was asked to be more specific about his feelings toward the Ravens' AFC North rival. "Are the Steelers in the ‘like' or ‘don't like' category?" Lewis said. "Well, since I'm a Baltimore person, I'm going to say ‘don't like.' Can I use that word?"

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