Ravens notebook: Thursday

OWINGS MILLS -- For a rookie fullback starting his first NFL game, Justin Green proved his mettle against elite competition. The Baltimore Ravens' fifth-round draft pick from Montana did a credible job in a tough assignment, blocking Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers James Farrior and Joey Porter in a 20-19 loss Monday night.

"Justin Green, I've got great faith in him," said running back Jamal Lewis, who gained 61 yards on 17 carries with Green acting as his lead blocker. "He'll stick his nose in there and I think he has a great future ahead of him."
Green has been elevated from third string to the starters' huddle because of injuries to starter Alan Ricard (injured reserve) and backup Ovie Mughelli.

The 5-foot-11, 251 pound converted college tailback has retained a lot of his speed and versatility, catching his second NFL pass against the Steelers for 7 yards.

Green is starting to get accustomed to Lewis' straightforward running style.

"We have a good relationship and you have to know what he wants from you as a blocker," said Green, who rushed for 1,784 yards and 22 touchdowns in 20 starts at Montana. "I kind of know what he's looking for now. He's a big, bruising type of running back and you have to get that last man out of his way so he can run up the field."

TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens made no changes to their injury report, but several players missed a portion of team drills, including quarterback Kyle Boller (doubtful, toe), defensive end Tony Weaver (doubtful, toe), receiver Mark Clayton (questionable, ankle), Mughelli (questionable, ankle) and nose guard Maake Kemoeatu (probable, thigh).

Boller returned to practice after experiencing soreness in his toe last week, and Ravens coach Brian Billick said he still retains hope that he might have some role against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Billick amended his prior optimism about Weaver, calling him the biggest question mark. He didn't rule out Clayton and Mughelli possibly returning this week.

The Bengals added three players to their injury report as probable: offensive tackle Willie Anderson (illness), defensive tackle Mathias Askew (hamstring) and defensive tackle John Thornton (shoulder).

MOURNED: Former Ravens offensive lineman Lester Brown, who died Tuesday in a car accident in California, left a lasting impression on his teammates before being released this summer.

"He was a great guy, a quiet man always trying to learn," offensive guard Keydrick Vincent said. "Death is something that happens, and hopefully he's going to a better place.

"It's very sad. I know he has a kid on the way and I feel for his family. It's just a very tough situation."

ROSTER MOVES: The Ravens signed rookie cornerback Duval Thompson (University of Pennsylvania, St. Louis Rams) to the practice squad, and shifed defensive back Jamaine Winborne to the practice squad's injured list.

Thompson tried out earlier this week along with defensive backs Robb Butler and Lenny Williams.

QUICK HITS: Bengals receiver Chad Johnson's imaginative antics have gained an admirer in Baltimore: the equally loquacious Billick. "You've got to give the guy credit, he's witty as hell," Billick said. "He's clever. He's fun to read." … Although Johnson said he's a cousin of Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle in the Bengals' media guide, Rolle isn't claiming him. "Not this week," Rolle said. "He just called me about five minutes ago, but I didn't answer the call. I'm not talking to him this week." … Nickel back Deion Sanders sees some parallels between himself and Johnson: "I think that is why I love him so much. He has that swagger, that confidence, he has that dog in him that you can't teach. He's refreshing and entertaining."

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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