McNair returns to practice

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Although quarterback Steve McNair was limited as he practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion, Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick reiterated his belief that McNair will be available Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. McNair took part in stretching Monday and threw a few passes to receivers during the portion of practice that's open to reporters.

However, he didn't have his helmet with him and it's uncertain how much action he saw during team drills.
McNair didn't participate at all the previous day as the team returned to work after a bye, one week after incurring a Grade 2 concussion, a neck sprain and a neck abrasion in a 23-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Billick predicted a week ago that McNair, a three-time Pro Bowl passer who's struggling with seven interceptions and a 64.1 passer rating, would start against New Orleans.
"I'm not aware of anything that would change that as of right now, but we'll see," Billick said. "Obviously, anytime somebody has a concussion you go with it slowly. We will make that assessment Wednesday, but I'll have to have input from the doctors and trainers."
McNair agreed to conduct interviews, but wasn't made available for comment by team officials during the open locker room period.
OUTREACH: It hasn't escaped the Ravens' notice that they were the last opponent to play the Saints in the Louisiana Superdome before Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The Ravens played the Saints in a preseason game a few days before the hurricane struck.
Especially for Louisiana natives like safety Ed Reed, who grew up outside New Orleans in suburban St. Rose. Reed has organized a player payroll deduction with proceeds to benefit Habitat for Humanity programs.
"It's always a dream and an honor to go back home and play in front of the home crowd," said Reed, who has collected 100 tickets to accommodate friends and family. "It's definitely already sunk into me. We just want to help rebuild the city.
"This game is so much smaller than what life is about. I wanted to make sure we brought something to give back to the city."
When asked how he thought New Orleans' rebuilding process was faring, Reed replied: "The pictures that's being painted aren't the truth. There are houses that haven't even been searched, and families are still finding loved ones. Football is so minor compared to what's going on, or not going on in the city."
SAMS' LEGAL UPDATE: A court date has been set for return specialist B.J. Sams' driving while impaired trial, according to court records.
Sams, who was arrested Oct. 3 by a Maryland State Police trooper on the outer loop of I-695, is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 4 at the Baltimore County district courthouse in Towson.
Sams, who received probation before judgment earlier this year for an August 2005 DUI, could potentially face a suspension and/or a fine from the league if convicted. Sams was also charged with a lane violation in this latest case.
TRAINING ROOM: Rookie safety Dawan Landry practiced and expects to start against New Orleans after spraining a medial collateral ligament in his knee against Carolina.
Linebacker Mike Smith, who missed the Panthers game with a concussion, is also expected to be available.
Cornerback Corey Ivy (torn kidney) hasn't been cleared to practice.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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