No love lost in Ravens-Steelers feud

OWINGS MILLS - One year after Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Joey Porter's heated argument in Pittsburgh, the pot is apparently still boiling in the Steel City.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' star linebacker missed that game with a gunshot wound to his buttocks, but accused Lewis of mocking his trademark boot motion after tackles and proclaiming Heinz Field his house.

Their argument spilled over into the post-game scene by the Ravens' team bus.

"I truly wish you guys would stop stirring up that confrontation," Lewis said Wednesday. "There was never a confrontation. I've got nothing to do with. I play football. That's it."

Although Lewis is eager to turn the page and stressed last year that he told Porter he was in his prayers, the Steelers' defensive captain has a different version of events and outlook.

The linebacker hasn't let go of the latest dispute in an intense rivalry he labeled as pure hatred along with Steelers receiver Hines Ward. "I don't understand why he was talking to a guy who wasn't even playing," Porter told Pittsburgh reporters. "There were times when he was sitting on the sideline with a shoulder injury and I never took a shot at him. After what I was going through, he came over and talked trash to me. "He comes into our stadium and says this is his house. Me being a captain and leader of this team, he knew I was going to say something back. He was trying to get me to argue with him, and I did."

Porter did note that Lewis didn't make fun of him being wounded in a drive-by shooting in Colorado.

"The love is mutual," Porter said. "He probably hates me."

The Ravens-Steelers series has a combustible history.

There was even a fight in 2002 between former Ravens cornerback James Trapp and Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress where Trapp stomped on Burress' helmet.

"Pure hatred," Porter said. "All shots are dirty, so you don't have to feel bad when you do it.

"I know you don't like me. I don't like you. Let's go at it."

Porter didn't confine his remarks to Lewis. The outside linebacker criticized Ravens coach Brian Billick for playing his starters in a 13-10 overtime win in last year's regular-season finale even though the Ravens clinched the AFC North title before kickoff.

"A smart coach wouldn't play his players that long in a regular-season game that has no meaning," Porter said. "He played them all the way until the end in overtime just to beat us. That lets you know how serious the rivalry is. "Personally if that were me, I wouldn't have played my guys into overtime knowing they had a playoff game the next week."

TRAINING ROOM: All-Pro offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden practiced for the first time in two weeks. His knee was heavily wrapped, but the team is optimistic that he'll play Sunday after missing the opener.

Ogden is listed as questionable after spraining his medial collateral ligament in the preseason finale.

"It's feeling a lot better," Ogden said after practice. "I did a lot more things."

Tackle Ethan Brooks (knee), center Mike Flynn (broken collarbone) and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (knee) are out.

Wide receiver Travis Taylor is listed as questionable, but is expected to miss the next four games with a recurring groin injury he aggravated against the Browns. He's projected to return Oct. 24 after the bye week.

Cornerback Gary Baxter is listed as probable with a lacerated hand that required stitches. "It's going to be tough for me to catch the football," Baxter said. "As far as the pain, I played with a hernia all last year."

Steelers linebacker Kendrell Bell (groin) is questionable and rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his right knee in practice Wednesday. That leaves only starter Tommy Maddox and Brian St. Pierre from the practice squad.

PANIC BUTTON?: In the uproar that typically ensues a loss, almost every aspect of the Ravens has been questioned by fans following a 20-3 loss to Cleveland.

Billick's colorful response: "They'll either be with us or they'll continue to soil themselves and go someplace else."

WRIGHT RECOVERING: Backup quarterback Anthony Wright, who's on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing shoulder surgery, threw several passes under the supervision of trainer Bill Tessendorf.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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