Ravens' Fuller accepts change in status

OWINGS MILLS - For nearly a decade, Corey Fuller has started with distinction in the NFL. During Sunday's AFC North clash against the Cincinnati Bengals, though, the veteran cornerback will be relegated to a role as the Baltimore Ravens' nickel back. Because of the combination of his nagging leg injuries and the emergence of Gary Baxter since he shifted over from free safety, the former Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings standout has been replaced in the defensive lineup.

The Ravens (7-5) are 3-1 when Baxter starts at cornerback. "I don't think it's so much as the hot hand as it's they work well together," Fuller said. "I'm not here to cause no confusion. I'm here to be part of the solution. I feel like I've done well, but my numbers don't say it." Fuller, 32, has 33 tackles and eight pass deflections this season. He surrendered an 80-yard touchdown pass to Seattle Seahawks receiver Darrell Jackson two weeks ago in a 44-41 overtime win. Jackson quickly gained separation on the play and there was no assistance from the safeties over the top. When Fuller aggravated his quadriceps and hamstring and couldn't drive toward the football the way he usually does, he took himself out and Baxter finished the game. "I've seen a lot of deep balls this year and ain't one been caught yet," Fuller said. "That busted play was in a whole different coverage. I don't need any credit. I'm here to try to win a Super Bowl. I ain't got no personal agenda." 

Baxter ranks third on the defense with 80 tackles and has deflected 14 passes with three interceptions. "My earning power in this business is almost dead," Fuller said. "Even if I started the next three years and played great, I would be 35 years old. What's the difference between starting and coming off the bench? I started for nine years in the 

NFL." INJURY UPDATE: Baltimore rookie quarterback Kyle Boller remains out after undergoing surgery on his quadriceps. Defensive end Tony Weaver anticipates returning to action Sunday after missing last game with a neck stinger. Weaver had two sacks in a 34-26 loss to Cincinnati in October and is listed as questionable. "Hopefully, I'll get a chance to get out there and have that repeat performance," Weaver said. Tight end John Jones is listed as questionable and has missed the last two games with a strained quad. Cornerback Tom Knight (ankle) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (leg) are listed as probable. The Bengals' most prominent injury is cornerback Jeff Burris' concussion. He has already been ruled out.

 PAYBACK TIME: Offensive tackle Orlando Brown hasn't forgotten his confrontation with Bengals defensive lineman Tony Williams. Brown claims that Williams punched him in front of an official during the loss at Paul Brown Stadium and also struck a Baltimore running back. "I'm going to be looking for him," said the 6-foot-7, 365-pound blocker. "He hauled off and hit me right in front of the ref. I didn't hit him back because the second guy always gets caught. I'm going to get him legal." 

EX-TERP IN TROUBLE: Former University of Maryland fullback James Lynch, a member of the Bengals' practice squad, was arrested Tuesday in Kentucky on charges of urinating in the street, fleeing and evading police, resisting arrest and public intoxication. Lynch allegedly taunted officers and said they wouldn't be able to handcuff him, according to a published report that said it took four officers to subdue the 276-pounder. Lynch, 21, is free on bond. He was cited last month for driving with a suspended license and driving without headlights. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis declined to say if Lynch will be disciplined by the team or league, saying, "That's personal." 

FANTASY RUN: Wide receiver Marcus Robinson was largely ignored during fantasy football drafts prior to the season. Now, the former Pro Bowl alternate has suddenly become a hot commodity for fantasy owners to acquire after catching five touchdowns over the last two weeks. "I wasn't putting up the numbers so what would have been the point in drafting me?" Robinson said. "They're trying to win their fantasy league and that's how you play the game. If they want me now, that's great." 

QUICK HITS: Linebacker Ray Lewis was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Month for November. … Lewis leads Pro Bowl balloting at his position in the AFC and Ed Reed leads at strong safety. Kansas City runner Priest Holmes leads his position in the AFC, but Baltimore runner Jamal Lewis ranks 10th overall in the NFL with 478,914 votes. … Ravens offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo will collect musical instruments Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Western High School. Big Ed's Band Foundation was formed last year to support Baltimore public schools' music programs. 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

Ravens Insider Top Stories