Demps and Sapp to battle for safety spot

OWINGS MILLS – Will Demps has started for two seasons at safety next to Pro Bowl selection Ed Reed. Still, the Baltimore Ravens plan to audition second-year professional Gerome Sapp, a special-teams standout, during training camp with the incumbent Demps established as the favorite to retain the job. "It is time for him to step up now," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of Sapp, a sixth-round draft pick last year out of Notre Dame. "Will Demps is not going to give up that easily."

"So, he is fighting for a roster spot whether it is in base or in nickel as well as being a presence on special teams."

Last season, Demps intercepted two passes, forced a fumble and had 39 tackles in nine starts.

As an undrafted rookie out of San Diego State in 2002, Demps earned a starting position. He started 10 games, collecting 43 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Demps, 24, has the edge in experience. Sapp, 23, has superior size at 6-foot-1, 216 pounds.

Veteran cornerback Corey Fuller is another possibility at safety while also competing for nickel duties with newly-signed Dale Carter, a former Pro Bowl choice.

NEW UNIFORMS: The Ravens will unveil a new uniform today to be worn Nov. 7 against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPN.

All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis, who made suggestions about the uniform design, and quarterback Kyle Boller will model the uniforms. The primary color scheme is expected to be black.

QUICK HITS: Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister, who's seeking a new contract, and nose guard Kelly Gregg (family death) aren't at practice this week. .. Cornerback Gary Baxter is participating in individual drills after abdominal hernia surgery, but is expected to be available at training camp. … Lewis (thumb) and linebacker Peter Boulware (knee) aren't practicing. … Rookie Marcell Allmond has moved to safety from cornerback. … Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome will speak at the 55th annual meeting of the National Association of Athletic Trainers today at the Baltimore Convention Center on the topic of sports-related concussions. He'll be joined by former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson. … Reed hosted 20 students from Booker T. Washington Middle School at practice Tuesday as a reward for academic achievement.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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