Sanders working his way back.

<p>OWINGS MILLS - Baltimore Ravens starting wide receiver Frank Sanders is trying to convince the coaching staff that he's healthy enough to play against the Steelers. Based on Sanders' progress since dislocating toes in his right foot nearly a month ago, Billick said the team may upgrade his status for Sunday's season-opener.</p>

He's listed as doubtful on the injury report, indicating a 25-percent chance of playing. "He's moving around pretty good," Ravens coach Brian Billick said, "but he is what we listed him as." Sanders said he hasn't had any setbacks this week. "I'm trying to show coach what I can do," Sanders said. "I'm letting him know I'm ready to go, but he makes that decision." 

Meanwhile, punter Dave Zastudil (hamstring) and free safety Gary Baxter (knee) were added to the list Friday as probable. That's a 75-percent chance they'll play, although Zastudil said he's 100-percent certain he'll punt against the Steelers. "There's some pain still in my hamstring," Zastudil said. "I don't know if it's scar tissue or what. Right now, I'm banking on going 100 percent in the game." Baltimore lists running back Musa Smith (knee) as out and cornerback Alvin Porter (groin) as doubtful. Cornerback Tom Knight (hamstring) and guard Casey Rabach (knee) are questionable. Porter said he's unlikely to play. 

COMEBACK TRAIL: Billick said Orlando Brown will see an appreciable amount of time behind Ethan Brooks at right tackle. This is Brown's first actual NFL game since a penalty flag hit him in the eye three years ago. "I'm going to be hyped up," Brown said. "I wish I was starting, but it ain't my decision. I guess since I haven't played a whole game in so long they want to take time to build my endurance up." 

QUOTABLE: A sampling of Steelers wideout Plaxico Burress' comments on his rival, Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister, to reporters in Pittsburgh: "I wouldn't rate him as one of the top cornerbacks. Sometimes, he takes it too personal and gets himself out of his game because he's not batting down every ball, intercepting every pass. "I guess he just wants to hold a guy to no catches every game. That's not going to happen. You have to know when to gamble. He insists on shutting down every pass and I haven't seen a cornerback do it yet in - what is it? - 100 years of football." "I don't doubt the guy's talent or say he's a bad player. He's a good player, a good athlete. He's big. He's strong. He's fast. He has all the skills and qualities to play the position. Sometimes, you just have to realize some things about this game."

Aaron Wilson writes for The Carroll County Times


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