Notebook: Washington answers bell

IRVING, Texas -- Fabian Washington was true to his word, starting at cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens against the Dallas Cowboys six days after pulling his hamstring against the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his first season in Baltimore following an offseason trade from the Oakland Raiders for a fourth-round draft pick, Washington has emerged as an indispensable figure in the Ravens' secondary.

Even though Washington didn't have the normal amount of time to recover and was listed as questionable on the injury report, he managed to get healthy enough in time to start Saturday night at Texas Stadium and guard Cowboys star wide receiver Terrell Owens.

"By Saturday, I think my chances are very high I'm going to play," Washington said days prior to kickoff. "I'm going to be out there. I wouldn't miss this one."

Washington was disappointed that he was unavail able to slow down Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from engineering a 92-yard game-winning drive in the fourth quarter last week.

"That was terrible," Washington said. "I really wish I was in there and could've helped my team try to pull out that win, but unfortunately my hamstring did go out on me and I couldn't do anything but just watch."

Earlier this season, Washington missed time with a bulging disc in his neck that sidelined him during training camp. He also missed the first game of the season due to an NFL suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

"It's frustrating," Washington said. "This is the first year I've really had to deal with injuries. It sucks because I was starting to play where I'm getting comfortable and just flying around playing football and then you get a hamstring injury.

"For a guy like me, I need my legs out there almost at full strength to perform like I want to perform. So, that was definitely a setback." Since replacing Chris McAlister, who's out for the season following knee surgery, Washington has recorded 30 tackles, one interception and a dozen pass deflections.

"You don't have to worry about someone running past him," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "That's the thing about Fabian. He's done a great job. If he could catch, he would really be something.

"He's probably got as good of cover skills as there is in the league. We knew we were getting a heck of a player, but he's tightened up his game even more."

TRAINING ROOM: Offensive tackle Willie Anderson left the game in the first quarter with a left ankle injury, and went to the locker room to be examined. His X-rays were determined to be negative by team doctors.

He was replaced by veteran Chad Slaughter. Wide receiver Derrick Mason was in and out of the game with problems with his dislocated left shoulder. He appeared to aggravate the injury in the first quarter on a nine-yard reception and had to be helped to the sidelines.

Mason returned to play, but hurt his shoulder again and left the game after a gutty catch with his right hand. He wound up catching a touchdown and gutted it out the whole game.

REVENGE: Ravens cornerback Evan Oglesby was cut by the Cowboys in training camp after making the team the previous year.

He expressed determination to prove that Cowboys coach Wade Phillips had made a mistake.

"I want to show them that they were wrong about me," Oglesby said. "I want revenge."

INACTIVES: The Ravens deactivated running back Ray Rice (shin/calf contusion), kicker Steve Hauschka, wide receivers Terrance Copper and Marcus M axwell (hip), offensive tackle Oniel Cousins and offensive guard David Hale and tight end Edgar Jones.

Todd Bouman was out as the third quarterback. The Cowboys deactivated third quarterback Brooks Bollinger, cornerback Alan Ball, safety Courtney Brown, running back Alonzo Coleman, linebacker Bobby Carpenter, offensive guard Montrae Holland, offensive guard Joe Berger and wide receiver Isaiah Stanback.

HOMETOWN HERO: Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton is an Arlington, Texas native, and he delivered some early Christmas presents to Cowboys fans Scott Schlee and his father, J.W. Schlee. They attended the game as guests of Clayton, who graduated from Sam Houston High School in Arlington.

Schlee designed Clayton's Web site, and sat with Clayton's mother and friends at Texas Stadium. "We're wearing Cowboys blue in a sea of purple," Schlee said. "I hope he has a phenomenal day, but I hope the Cowboys still win."

HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL: Former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith said that the Cowboys need to do a better job of policing locker room leaks in the wake of several published reports involving internal turmoil involving Terrell Owens, Tony Romo and Jason Witten.

"The things that go on in the locker room need to stay in th e locker room," Smith said. "When I was playing, there was always a source here or a source there, leaks here, leaks there.

"We never could pinpoint who that person was, but they always caused trouble. A strong team is able to overcome that."

QUICK HITS: Smith offered a dire prediction for the Cowboys' running game before kickoff: "They will have their hands full with the Baltimore Ravens' defense. One thing we won't be doing is running the football." … During the most famous moments at Texas Stadium montage before the game, of course, Owens' controversial display at the star at midfield when he was the with San Francisco 49ers was discussed. NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci, who was Owens' coach at the time, suspended Owens for a week. "I felt like I needed to do it," Mariucci said. "I had to send him a message about sportsmanship." … The Ravens won their previous two meetings with the Cowboys with a 27-0 victory in 2000 and a 30-10 win in 2004. This was the first time a Baltimore team had played at Texas Stadium since the Colts lost 38-0 to Dallas in 1978. The Colts went 1-3 in Dallas while they were based in Baltimore with their lone win coming back in 1960.=2 0… In the last meeting with Dallas, former Ravens starter Kyle Boller completed 23 of 34 passes for 232 yards with two touchdown passes. … Smith and Tony Dorsett were honorary captains for Dallas. The Ravens' captains were linebackers Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnson and fullback Le'Ron McClain. … Besides defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, punter Sam Koch was the other notable omission from Baltimore on the AFC Pro Bowl squad. "Sam took it for what it was," special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "He knows he played well, and he's happy he got votes. I don't think it really affected him a great deal. I don't really think there was any regret or any disappointment. He's happy to be a part of the conversation. He's a young player and he vows to continue to get better. There will be other opportunities for him." … Kicker Matt Stover is in the final year of his contract and would like to return, but no negotiations have been launched. After a rough start, Stover has rebounded to have a solid season. "I think it really speaks to his conditioning," Rosburg said. "He's taken care of himself so well over the years that if you didn't know he was 40 years old, you would walk up to him a nd think he was still a younger player. Let's say that, I have to be careful when I say things about age with Matt."


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