Ravens notebook: 'Kemo' rumbling back to town

OWINGS MILLS -- Mike Flynn is about to do battle with a heavyweight, and the prospect of grappling with massive Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu is enough to drive a man to eat. The Baltimore Ravens' center joked that he might need to bulk up with a little carb-loading before wrestling with his sumo-sized former teammate on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Dubbed as 'Kemo' because of his multi-syllable name, Kemoeatu signed a five-year, $23 million contract with Carolina on the opening day of the free agent signing period in March.
"I had trouble with him in practice, and I'm sure it will be a struggle in the game," said Flynn, who'll get assistance with the 6-foot-5, 350-pound native of Tonga from right guard Keydrick Vincent. "It'll be a war, and he's a good player. It'll be a challenge, and I expect him to play his best game coming back here."
Following a four-year apprenticeship with the Ravens after entering the league as an undrafted free agent, Kemoeatu emerged as a major commodity in free agency. His asking price went far beyond what Baltimore was willing to match.
"It was an eye-opener as far as I started small and got lucky enough to work my way up," Kemoeatu told Charlotte reporters. "Thanks to Baltimore for teaching me all sides of football. They pretty much raised me over there."
The Panthers allowed 392 combined rushing yards in opening the season with two losses, but have surrendered no more than 92 per game in three consecutive victories over Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Cleveland.
That's in large part because of Kemoeatu's hefty contribution as a gap-plugging force inside whose name is rarely announced on tackles, but does his job by effectively eating up space.
"He's a good locker room guy," Carolina coach John Fox said. "He's a big physical presence inside. He is stout. He is hard to move out of there, and he has been a good addition for us."
IVY RETURNS: Injured cornerback Corey Ivy, who tore his kidney Monday night, returned to the team's training complex for the first time since being released from a Pittsburgh hospital on Thursday. Ivy, who attended meetings and practice, declined an interview request.
"It's great to see him," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Just what Corey represents, his toughness, his willingness to give it up for the team, the guys really appreciate that. I was surprised. I didn't expect to see him in the team meetings. It shocked the hell out of me."
Second-year cornerback Evan Oglesby is expected to take Ivy's place in nickel packages with undrafted rookie corner Ronnie Prude rotating into the lineup and playing more on special teams.
Meanwhile, rookie cornerback Derrick Martin said he was probably going to be activated for the first time.
TRAINING ROOM: Starting wide receiver Mark Clayton was a late addition to the injury report with a neck stinger and is question, but still expected to start Sunday. If Clayton is unable to go, the Ravens would start promising rookie wideout Demetrius Williams.
Baltimore upgraded four players to probable, including fullback Justin Green (thigh), tight end Todd Heap (ankle/leg), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee/chest) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (hamstring). All four practiced after being limited in team drills Thursday.
Special-teams ace Gary Stills (abdomen) returned to practice. He's still listed as questionable along with linebacker Mike Smith (concussion).
QUICK HITS: Defensive end Trevor Pryce can't wait for another encounter against the Denver Broncos, his former team. "I'm hoping, wish and praying that we play them again in the playoffs, and I don't care where," he said. "It could be a sandlot." … Several Broncos called the Ravens' defense overrated following their 13-3 win. Especially running back Tatum Bell: "We built them up and gave them the respect, but they haven't played anyone yet." Linebacker Bart Scott issued this rebuttal: "Who cares? He lucked up and got some yards on us. Overrated? They had 210 yards of offense [It was 222]. They had six yards passing before the half. Who cares what he thinks? Who is he?" … Cornerback Chris McAlister, who connected on two earlier field goals in the team's weekly contest, was wide left from 35 yards when the stakes were doubled and the spot was moved. "You should have had Drew Rosenhaus as your negotiator, Chris," linebacker Adalius Thomas quipped in the locker room. "He got greedy," Billick said. … The Ravens' 18 sacks ties them with the Chicago Bears for second in the NFL, five behind the Philadelphia Eagles' league-best 23. … Carolina is one of three teams the Ravens have never beaten along with New England and Kansas City. … The Ravens' six-game home winning streak ranks fourth in the NFL. They haven't lost at M&T Bank Stadium since Nov. 6, 2005, a 21-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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