Ravens' Brown played game with a heavy heart

OWINGS MILLS - Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown's mother, Catharine, died the day before he played in the team's season-opening loss to the Cleveland Browns. <br><br> Brown's mother had been on a respirator, and he spent the majority of training camp caring for her. Ravens senior vice president of public relations Kevin Byrne said the funeral is today in Washington and that several members of the organization will attend.

"It was an incredible couple of days for Orlando," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "You can only imagine what emotions he was going through and actually played a very, very good game. It's important to Orlando that he do so, given his mother's situation. He wants that for himself, for her." 

Brown dedicated the season to his mother when he returned to the team after missing the final preseason game.

The massive offensive lineman said that she was the person he trusted most in the world and that he would do everything within his power to honor her. 

Brown's father is alive, although legally blind. 

"He's had an opportunity to put his mind at ease as to what was going to happen and communicate with her," Billick said. "Obviously, our prayers and thoughts go out to him." 

DEION UPDATE: Nickel back Deion Sanders drew solid reviews from the coaching staff for his performance in a 20-3 loss to the Browns even though he made no tangible impact. 

In his Ravens debut, Sanders played roughly 15 snaps and no passes were thrown his way even though he dared Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia to test his 37-year-old legs. He returned a punt five yards. 

"He played very well," Billick said. "They really didn't challenge him." 

When cornerback Gary Baxter lacerated his hand, an injury that won't keep him out Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Walls entered the game instead of Sanders. 

"First game, we wanted to be careful not to throw Deion in a situation where he would play 50 snaps," Billick said. "That is why Ray Walls went in. Gary had a deep laceration, very painful, but it won't prevent him from playing. "Had that changed to long-term or should it turn to long-term, then we would rethink it. We are going to ease our way into that with him playing more snaps. We will expand on that each week." 

THE WORST?: The Ravens' five-game offensive drought during the Super Bowl season of 2000 was referenced when Billick was asked if this was the worst offensive performance of his tenure in Baltimore. 
"If you only look at the stats, you are missing how the game transpired," Billick said. 

RECEIVING SITUATION: If Travis Taylor is out after reinjuring his groin, Randy Hymes would start against Pittsburgh opposite flanker Kevin Johnson

Hymes caught five passes for 39 yards, including a 17-yard catch to convert a 3rd-and-15 inside Ravens territory on Sunday. 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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