Ravens' Rolle ruled out for Monday

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle has been ruled out for Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to shoulder and neck problems, subtracting a key starter from the NFL's top-ranked defense heading into a critical AFC North contest.

With Rolle unavailable, the Ravens will be without three starters on defense as strong safety Dawan Landry (neck) and nose guard Kelly Gregg (left knee) are also sidelined.

The Ravens would probably like to start nickel back Fabian Washington in Rolle's place, but his shaky health could increase the playing time of Corey Ivy and Frank Walker. They could possibly rotate opposite Chris McAlister if Washington is unable to go.

"Corey Ivy and Frank Walker have done an outstanding job," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "So we're confident if Samari can't go, in goes those two guys. Fabian's progressing. That would be great to get him back also. That would be a bonus."

Washington is listed as probable on the injury report with a bulging disc in his neck, which forced him to miss last week's 28-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. He missed the opening game under an NFL suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

"I've been working well in practice, and I think I'll be good enough to play," Washington said. "Time is pretty much the only thing that's going to heal it, and I don't have much time right now.

"I just want to make it through the season and get it handled after the season. I hope I won't need surgery, but I may have to if my body can't reabsorb the disc."

Walker said he has received the usual number of snaps in practice as he prepares for wide receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, who have combined for 25 receptions, 314 yards and three touchdowns.

"They're explosive outside," Walker said. "They've got the guys that can get deep, so you just need to concentrate on your technique, be confident and play hard."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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