Ravens notebook: Stewart signed as backup QB

OWINGS MILLS – Kordell Stewart sweated through solitary workouts, crossed his fingers and watched far more football on television than he cared to. Five minutes after Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller got hurt Sunday night, Stewart's agent called. Less than a day later, the Ravens were on the phone. By Wednesday morning, Stewart was under contract with the Ravens again after being with the team last season and not throwing a pass.

If Stewart can pick up the nuances of the offense quickly, he'll back up Anthony Wright on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans instead of untested rookie Derek Anderson.

"It's the logical choice," said Ravens coach Brian Billick of bringing back Stewart one day after auditioning Danny Kanell. "Kordell was great for us last year, a great team member, understands the role.

"Hopefully, there's enough carry-over for him verbiage-wise that he can adjust quickly. It's a nice comfort zone having him back."

For eight months, Stewart waited for a call. Once Boller got hurt, he was fairly certain that his hiatus was over.

"My heart started beating pretty fast," Stewart said. "When I saw that, my heart went out to him and I kind of in the back of my mind thought I might get a call. It was just a matter of time. I'm young in comparison to some quarterbacks that are playing right now.

"As far as my confidence and thinking it was going to happen, yes I did. You always have that hope, wishing someone could call you sooner rather than later."

Stewart, 32, won't get many repetitions this week aside from the scout team offense because Wright needs all of the work he can get to prepare for his first start in two years. Billick said a decision will be made by the end of the week on whether Stewart or Anderson will be the backup.

"Will [Stewart] have the grasp of it back that he can get us out of a game and function properly in a short period of time?" Billick said. "He looks strong. He's a professional."

TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens listed nickel back Deion Sanders (thigh), defensive end Terrell Suggs (back), tight end Daniel Wilcox (hip) and wide receiver Devard Darling (thigh) as questionable on the initial injury report, although Sanders insisted he would play. Suggs and Sanders didn't practice. Linebacker Peter Boulware (knee), tight end Todd Heap (foot), running back Jamal Lewis (finger) and safety Ed Reed (thigh) are listed as probable.

Lewis has broken the tip of his left finger, but said it won't hinder his ability to carry the football. He said he has no plans to have it amputated a la Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott.

ROSTER MOVES: The Ravens waived wide receiver Patrick Johnson to make room for Stewart on the 53-man roster.

Wide receiver Fred Stamps was signed to the practice squad and offensive tackle Dante Ellington was waived.

The Ravens are unable to add kickoff specialist Wade Richey because they are carrying four quarterbacks on the roster, so Matt Stover will kick off again this week. That could change during the bye next week.

ANNOYED: Billick seemed to lose his temper when asked repeatedly about whether wide receiver Clarence Moore should be benched because of his shaky hands in favor of Randy Hymes.

"I don't panic quite as fast as you all do sometimes," Billick said. "I'm not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The kid dropped a couple of balls. We're going to stick with him, because we think he's going to be a good football player."

Meanwhile, Sanders chided the fans for cheering Boller while he was being carried off the field.

"I've been on the field to hear the worst outpouring of a crowd in Philadelphia when Michael Irvin was hurt, but to hear fans cheer when a man is injured really disappointed me," Sanders said. "I know he'll forgive you, we'll forgive you, but please don't let that happen again because that's our teammate and that really hurt us."

HAIL MARY: Stewart is thrilled to reunite with quarterbacks coach Rick Neuheisel, his coach at Colorado. They defeated Michigan on Stewart's famed ‘Hail Mary' pass.

"We threw the Hail Mary pass together, so that has gotten us pretty close. Just like we drew it up is how it happened."

QUICK HIT: Fullback Alan Ricard will remain behind new starter Ovie Mughelli.

"I've got nothing good to tell you," said Ricard, a 2003 Pro Bowl alternate. "Hopefully, something will change soon."

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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