Ravens leaving early for West Coast

OWINGS MILLS -- Because of the menacing approach of Hurricane Isabel, the Baltimore Ravens are departing Wednesday to prepare for Sunday's kickoff against the San Diego Chargers. The Ravens will leave after practice for the West Coast and will practice at San Diego State University on Thursday and Friday with a Saturday walk-through at Qualcomm Stadium.

"The uncertainties of being able to practice in what might be significant winds and rain on Thursday and Friday, plus the ability for our charter to leave on Friday afternoon as originally scheduled, has caused us to adjust our schedules," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Baltimore (1-1) will maintain an East Coast time schedule, including a 9 p.m. curfew at the team hotel.

As general manager Ozzie Newsome noted, this is a business trip. The majority of the players are accustomed to spending a week at a different practice site from their experience at college bowl games.

"This is an important game for us," Billick said. "Leaving Baltimore will allow us to get into a little bit of a training-camp mode for a few days as we prepare for Sunday's game."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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