Ravens' Brightful thriving with second chance

OWINGS MILLS - It was only a month ago when Lamont Brightful was banished to the bench. He was relegated to watching veteran Dedric Ward return kicks against the Denver Broncos.

Instead of complaining about his plight, the diminutive return specialist recorded a few tackles as a nickel defensive back.

The following week against Jacksonville, he was back in the lineup and returned a kickoff 58 yards.

In last weekend's 9-6 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, Brightful had a career-long 73-yard kickoff return. He also averaged 15 yards on five punt returns.

Two days later, Ward was out of a job altogether as he was released so Baltimore could add defensive end Riddick Parker.

"I never got worried," Brightful said. "I kept my head in the game. I knew for a while it looked like I was going to wind up out in the cold, but I just stayed calm and confident." Although Brightful lived in West Baltimore until high school, Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks (7-3) at M&T Bank Stadium marks his first game against the football team he watched during high school and college.

Brightful attended Mariner High School in Everett, Wash., before starring at Eastern Washington University.

"I had to get a lot of tickets for this one for people from out West," Brightful said. "A lot of people that know me will be watching this game in Baltimore and in Seattle."

INJURY UPDATE: Ravens coach Brian Billick ruled out quarterback Kyle Boller (leg) and tight end John Jones (leg) and declared that the remainder of his injured players should be available on Sunday.

Defensive end Tony Weaver entered the week as one of the major question marks because of a neck injury. The soreness from muscle spasms has subsided enough that he expects to make his 27th consecutive start since Baltimore drafted him in the second round a year ago out of Notre Dame. "I feel good," said Weaver, who is listed as questionable. "The spasms have calmed down and hopefully I can get out there."

Receiver Frank Sanders has a chipped bone and a sprained right ankle and is listed as questionable along with receiver Marcus Robinson (chest). Sanders missed last week's loss to the Dolphins.

"I can go," Sanders said. "I've had no setbacks."

SYMPATHETIC TO BROWN'S PLIGHT: Until this winter, Corey Fuller was a teammate of troubled Cleveland Browns running back William Green. The veteran cornerback is understandably worried about Green.

While in the midst of a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policies, Green was stabbed by his fiancée this week. The mother of Green's two children was arrested for felonious assault and domestic violence, and the running back was treated at a hospital and granted a protective order.

Last week, Green was arrested for driving under the influence and his license was suspended. Both of his parents died of AIDS before he graduated from high school.

"It's definitely sad," Fuller said. "He had a rough upbringing, but William Green is a good kid. This is a big setback for him. He needs people's prayers right now."

NO CHANGE: Billick emphasized that quarterback Ray Lucas will remain the third quarterback behind backup Chris Redman.

"Ray is here to give us that third quarterback in a disastrous situation," Billick said. "Although I would not want to limit Ray in any way, at no point did we sign Ray with the anticipation of him moving into the two, or even the one position. He has to be ready should something happen to one or two."

FOOD DRIVE: The annual Ravens food drive is set for this Sunday. Donations of canned good between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the stadium gates will result in the presentation of a team photo to those who contribute. Financial donations will be accepted, too.

QUICK HITS: The Ravens lead the AFC with 22 turnovers. … Former Ravens starting quarterback Trent Dilfer is Matt Hasselbeck's backup. ... Former Ravens draft pick Cedric Woodard is starting at defensive tackle for the Seahawks. … Seahawks defensive end Lamar King is a Baltimore native.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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