OWINGS MILLS -- Antwan Barnes finally received the news he had been dreading, a letter from the league office informing him that he's been fined $12,500 for his big hit on Philadelphia Eagles punter Sav Rocca.
The Baltimore Ravens' rookie outside linebacker separated Rocca from his helmet during a 29-3 victory to open the preseason at M&T Bank Stadium, sending the unsuspecting former Australian rules football star flailing into the air.
"Yeah, they got me," Barnes said. "I was kind of expecting it. The veterans told me to be ready for it."
There was no penalty assessed on the play, but the hit drew an angry rebuke from retired Eagles linebacker Ike Reese during the NFC East club's in-house broadcast.
"That's a cheap shot," Reese said. "That's uncalled for. There's no need to go after a kicker."
Barnes said that Rocca, who's listed at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, was certainly big enough to defend himself and was running down the field trying to make a tackle. So, the 6-foot-1, 240-pound fourth-round draft pick decided to block him.
"They said it was a fine because it was helmet-to-helmet contact, but it really wasn't," Barnes said. "It wasn't like he was just standing there by himself. Plus, he's taller and bigger than me."
Barnes, who signed a three-year, $1.402 million contract that included a $287,000 signing bonus last month, said that middle linebacker Ray Lewis has been advising him on how to appeal the fine, adding that he may consult his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
INJURY UPDATE: As the Ravens practiced indoors for the third day in a row Thursday morning at their training complex, there were signs that tight end Daniel Wilcox and running back P. J. Daniels are close to returning from injuries.
Wilcox (sprained left ankle) and Daniels (hamstring) dressed out for the first time in weeks, but neither player is expected to play Saturday night against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.
Daniels jogged laps around the field. Wilcox said he hasn't tried to cut yet, and is presenting confined to running in a straight line.
"Not this week, but they're getting better," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.
Wilcox hasn't practiced since Aug. 8 and Daniels got hurt prior to the Eagles game.
Running back Cory Ross (illness) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (swollen knee) returned to practice. Ngata, whose left knee is still wrapped up, isn't expected to play against the Redskins.
"I'm feeling much better," Ross said. "I got in the steam room and sweated out what was bothering me."
Meanwhile, cornerback Samari Rolle (sprained ankle), wide receiver Mark Clayton (sprained ankle) and offensive tackle Steve Edwards (knee surgery) didn't practice.
Edwards underwent surgery this week to repair a torn meniscus. He said he could be out up to six weeks.
"It's a situation where I'm trying to get rehabbed while they decide what they want to do," Edwards said. "Hopefully, there's still something for me when I get back."
One positive sign for Clayton's progress is that he's already out of the walking boot and not limping terribly.
Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe) and linebackers Dan Cody (knee surgery) and Mike Smith (shoulder surgery) remain on the physically unable to perform list.
QUICK HITS: Billick took the high road when asked about the Orioles' 30-3 embarrassment at the hands of the Texas Rangers. The Ravens haven't allowed that many points since the 2005 season. "Wow, that calls for the proverbial no comment," Billick said. "Goodness gracious. Is that a record? God bless America. " ... Running back Willis McGahee, a former University of Miami star, is saddened by his alma mater's decision to move out of the Orange Bowl to play its home games at the Miami Dolphins' stadium. "It's a business, it's all about money," McGahee said. "The Orange Bowl had a lot of tradition for the Hurricanes, and a lot of memories for me. It won't have that same feeling. I'm shocked on that one." ... Defensive tackle Justin Bannan wasn't pleased with the criticism he received from NBC analyst John Madden for running over New York Giants guard Chris Snee when he jumped offsides in the second quarter. Madden's comments: "I'd be mad at that. You're down there in a stance. All you have to do is reach across there and touch him. To me, there's different types of cheap shots, and this is one." Bannan's reaction: "I can't believe he's making a big deal out of that. I jumped offsides and I couldn't stop. It happens. To say what he said is crazy." ... The offensive line drew a few chuckles during their warmups as left guard Jason Brown fired out of his stance and yelled, "Redskins!" with feigned enthusiasm. ... Tickets are available for Saturday night's game. ... Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer had lunch with linebacker Terrell Suggs at the Ravens' cafeteria. They played football together as kids in St. Paul , Minn. , before Suggs' family moved to Chandler, Ariz.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
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