Ravens notebook: Zeus questionable for Sunday

OWINGS MILLS – More than Orlando Brown's car is in need of body work following a minor car accident. The Baltimore Ravens' massive offensive tackle known as "Zeus" is likely to miss Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a back injury suffered in an accident earlier this week. He was downgraded from probable to questionable Friday and was held out of practice.

Tony Pashos will likely start at right tackle, and second-round draft pick Adam Terry could be activated as the top reserve at tackle.

"You'll adapt to it," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Right now, it looks like Pashos will take the load."

Brown, 34, who has been rotating with Pashos, spends at least half the game riding an exercise bike on the sidelines.

"My back just tightened up on me," Brown said. "I ain't going to say I'm definitely out. I'll see how I feel Sunday when I wake up."

As for his rear-ended Mercedes-Benz, Brown said it's in need of a new bumper and a muffler and might be scrapped.

"She's handicapped," said Brown, a car aficionado who owns a Rolls-Royce and a modified Hummer. "It's time to go buy something else."

ROUGH PERIOD: There are a few parallels between Billick and Steelers coach Bill Cowher with the exception of Billick owning a Super Bowl ring.

The Steelers were absent from the playoffs under Cowher from 1998 to 2000. However, Steelers owner Dan Rooney chose to extend Cowher's contract.

Billick is set to miss the postseason for the second year in a row and there is rampant speculation about whether he'll be fired despite being under contract through 2007.

"I take a lot of strength from what the Steelers' organization went through in Bill's seventh, eighth and ninth year," Billick said. "I remember what was written.

"I remember how tough a time it had to be for Bill. That doesn't make it easier to go through it, but it is part of the challenge of the job and you have to be energized by it."

Picked by many to win the AFC North because of a roster dotted with 15 former Pro Bowl selections, the Ravens (2-7) instead are off to the worst start in franchise history and are likely to finish with Billick's worst record in his seven-year tenure.

"I have to go home on a regular basis and go up to my room and open up my jewelry box and look at my Super Bowl ring to remind myself that maybe I am not the village idiot," Billick said.

READY TO GO: Rookie center Jason Brown has only played in one NFL game, and that was restricted to blocking for extra points. He's slated to be the seventh offensive lineman as the top backup at center and both guard spots against Pittsburgh.

"I've never taken any real snaps in a regular-season game, so I'm excited about this," said Brown, a fourth-round pick. "It's one of those situation where it's, ‘Next man up,' and you have to be ready."

TRAINING ROOM: The Ravens added wide receiver Derrick Mason (thigh) to the injury report as probable.

The Steelers downgraded linebacker James Farrior (knee) and offensive tackle Marvel Smith (ankle) from questionable to doubtful, upgrading tight end Jerame Tuman (ankle) to probable.

QUICK HITS: It's a case of mutual dislike and respect when it comes to the rivalry between Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister and Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. "I don't think that McAlister and myself are best friends," Ward said. "He is an excellent corner, but I don't think we will go out to eat after the game or anything. He is one of the best corners in the NFL." … The Frederick Douglass High football team attended practice and met with Billick and linebackers Ray Lewis and Tommy Polley. Douglass was suspended from the state playoffs when the state association ruled it used an academically ineligible player. The school disputes that ruling. "Talk about getting screwed by the ofificials," Billick said. "Poor kids." … The Ravens will host their 10th annual Family Food & Funds Drive at Sunday's game. The Lady Ravens Association and team family members will be stationed outside stadium gates to collect non-perishable food items and money to benefit the Maryland Food Bank.

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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