Lewis and Heap won't carry full load against Colts

OWINGS MILLS – Although Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis and tight end Todd Heap saw their first action last week, it's unlikely that they'll be fully available for Sunday night's season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

Lewis is slated to start, but will work in a platoon system with backup Chester Taylor during the nationally televised game at M&T Bank Stadium.

"He's not in the full flow yet," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of Lewis, who underwent surgery on his right ankle in February. "I imagine at the end of the game that the carries could be fairly equitable between he and Chester, maybe a little less so against Tennessee, then into the bye and then I think we're ready to go."

Billick said he's uncertain that Heap, who had offseason surgeries on his ankle and shoulder, is ready to play 65 plays.

"We'll see how it is during the end of the week," Billick said. "Fortunately, we have depth at that position where we can still get some good things done."

PRACTICE SQUAD: The Ravens signed eight players to their practice squad, including: offensive tackle Dante Ellington; offensive guard Phil Hawkins; running back Alex Haynes; defensive end Darrell Lee (Florida); wide receiver Cole Manger (Bowling Green); cornerback Zach Norton; linebacker Mike Smith and defensive back Jamaine Winborne.

All the players were with the team in training camp except for Lee and Manger, who were recently cut by the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. Manger, who has long blonde hair, is nicknamed 'Sunshine' for his resemblance to the quarterback from ‘Remember the Titans.'

TRAINING ROOM: Billick indicated that the team is healthy with the exception of rookie offensive tackle Adam Terry (sprained left ankle) and wide receiver Devard Darling (strained right quadriceps).

"My leg is feeling pretty good, but it's taking a little time to heal up," said Darling, who didn't practice and said he didn't know if he would be available this week.

HURRICANE RELIEF: Through payroll deductions, the Ravens' players have donated $165,000 to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina days after Deion Sanders called for all professional athletes to donate $1,000 apiece. That figure will be matched by both the foundations of owner Steve Bisciotti and minority owner Art Modell. Plus, the team plans to match the first $25,000 collected from fans with all proceeds going toward the American Red Cross.

BACK IN BLACK The Ravens will break out their all-black uniforms for the second time Sunday, and will also wear them against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 19.

"Guys love it," Billick said. "It'll be a good night to pull them out."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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