Ravens' secondary will have to wait for revenge

It took nine seconds for controversial Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens to dash past Baltimore Ravens cornerback Gary Baxter for a touchdown.<br><br> It wasn't long before Baxter was penalized for snatching Owens' face mask in retaliation for an 81-yard touchdown catch on the Eagles' first offensive play Friday night in a 26-17 preseason win over Baltimore.

And Baxter will have to wait until Halloween to try to gain a more satisfying measure of revenge when the Ravens return to Philadelphia to face Owens, who sought and received a nullified trade to Baltimore five months ago.

"It definitely sets the stage," Baxter said of the Oct. 31 game. "I'm not even going to lie. I'm a sore loser. He got me. It was my fault.

"Out of all the hype and all the other stuff that's going on with T.O. and Baltimore, they [emotions] came out. I got mad. I tried to get a little aggressive and I lost my composure. The great thing about it is I can learn from it."

It was Owens' lone reception, but it set the tone for the night.

While both Owens and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis exchanged niceties and dismissed any talk of a feud, Owens is no friend of a shorthanded Baltimore secondary.

After allowing the score on the Eagles' first offensive play, Baxter was involved in several shoving and verbal exchanges with Owens. He was penalized in the second quarter for getting rough with Owens.

Cornerback Corey Fuller apparently had a few choice words for the receiver, too, after his score.

"He was just running his mouth," Owens said of Fuller. "He had nothing to do with the play. Honestly, I was hoping I had ran that route on him. I knew over the years, he's one of those mouthy guys and you have to match guys' intensity. For whatever reason, he had to add his little two cents in. The damage was done."

Baxter cited bad technique for allowing the touchdown. He said he should have forced Owens inside toward safety Will Demps with Ed Reed blitzing Donovan McNabb.

"T.O, he won that one," Baxter said. "It's not something I ever want to happen again. I'm going to be ready next time when I come up here to play."

In the second quarter, Reed intercepted McNabb and flipped a lateral back to Demps for a touchdown.

"I really was just in the moment," Reed said. "I've got a little Magic Johnson in me."

The Ravens are playing without Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister, the franchise player who has yet to report because of a contract dispute.

Fuller sprained his knee against the Eagles. Baxter is working his way back to full health after hernia surgery. Nickel back Dale Carter is out for the season after a blood clot was discovered in his lungs before training camp.

Late Friday night, the Ravens were focused on correcting mistakes, not on the potential reinforcement of retired cornerback Deion Sanders. Sanders has been mulling a comeback with the Ravens as a nickel back and has been working out in Texas with noted personal trainer Tom Shaw.

"Oh, he's coming back," Shaw told Sporting News Radio. "Deion is going to make that call after we time him on Wednesday. On Friday, we are going to go through a whole game series and then he'll make that call. If he feels he's ready, then he'll do it."

Shaw said that Sanders has remained injury-free. He claimed the seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback defeated Fuller, Champ Bailey and Lewis in a street race in Puerto Rico.

"He smoked all of them," Shaw said. "He's close to being able to sprint and we are going to time him on Wednesday to see where he is. The last time, he ran he was running 40-yard dashes and his times ranged from 4.4 to 4.5."

As far as Oct. 31 is concerned, Lewis initially said the team isn't even thinking that far ahead.

A few minutes later, the linebacker winked as he noted: "In October, it's going to be a 60-minute game. It won't be the first quarter and then it's over."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


 


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