Webb out for the season, Ivy on his way

OWINGS MILLS – Now that rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb is out for the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, the Baltimore Ravens have begun immediately identifying his potential replacements and reinforcements as they try to secure a playoff berth.

The Ravens confirmed that Webb is done for the year after getting injured late in a 31-7 victory over the Chicago Bears, and they have scheduled a physical today with former Baltimore nickel back Corey Ivy through his representatives.

If the physical goes well, they could sign Ivy for depth and special-teams while elevating Chris Carr to the starting lineup with Ivy and Frank Walker rotating in behind him.

Although the Ravens didn't publicly rule out the possibility of bringing back former Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister, they hadn't contacted him or his agent as of early Monday evening.

Not having Webb's speed, instincts and tackling in the lineup, though, represents a big loss.

"He's going to be out, that's obviously disappointing," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He played so well. He's such a likable guy.

"He's made a big impact on our team, and the guys really respect and like him. We're going to miss him."

The Ravens hope to sign a cornerback in time for practice Wednesday, and they prefer to sign an experienced veteran capable of contributing on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We'll probably have somebody on the field on Wednesday," general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a telephone interview. "We will look to bring back the best player that can help us for the next two ballgames and hopefully for the playoffs."

The Ravens also contacted former NFL cornerback Fakhir Brown, who last played in the United Football League this season with the Florida Tuskers. However, he wasn't immediately scheduled for a tryout.

Both Harbaugh and Newsome didn't sound completely opposed to exploring the McAlister option who was cut during the offseason after refusing to accept a pay cut following a stormy single season under Harbaugh. McAlister was recently injury-waived by the New Orleans Saints after a three-game stint and has a history of knee problems and off-field issues.

While with the Saints, McAlister referred to his break with the Ravens as a "bitter divorce" that he didn't want to talk about in any detail.

"We're open to bringing anybody back, anybody back that can play, anybody that can help us," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, he would be an option and there are other options out there as well. We're looking at all the possible options.

"We want to bring in somebody that can help us this week against Pittsburgh. That's our priority. If we can get that done, we will. If we can't, we won't, but that's what we're going to try to do."

Ivy played for the Ravens for three years before not being retained after last season and signing with the Cleveland Browns.

Ivy suffered a kidney injury against the Denver Broncos while with the Ravens and experienced complications on the plane ride home, prompting the Ravens to make an emergency stop in Pittsburgh.

He won the Ed Block Courage Award, returning to play after missing just two games. His first game back was against the Steelers and he recorded an interception a sack and a forced fumble returned for a touchdown.

In 2007, he started 13 games for the Ravens and finished with 57 tackles, three sacks and one interception.

He signed with the Browns after last season, but was cut during the final major roster cut on Sept. 5.

Ivy was signed by the Steelers on Nov. 24 prior to the Ravens' win in Baltimore, but was cut on Dec. 2.

For his career, Ivy has registered 278 tackles, 9 ½ sacks and three interceptions.

Ivy, 32, is known as a sure tackler who excels in kick coverage and has the ability to blitz and play against larger receivers. He also fit in well in the locker room.

With Webb out, Carr is preparing for an expanded role.

This marks the second time the Ravens have lost a starting cornerback for the season with Fabian Washington already sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"We've been so unfortunate, it's like, ‘Who's next?" Carr said. "It's been tough losing friends. These are guys we genuinely care about.

"I've started at every position, so I'm confident I can go out there and do well. Everybody has been stepping up. We have a lot of confidence because we know we're deep in the secondary."

Losing Webb, who had 35 tackles and six pass deflections, also impacts the special teams. He had replaced Carr as the primary kickoff returner and ran back a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown against the Broncos.

Carr may be asked to pick up kickoff returns in addition to his punt returning duties.

The Ravens will need all the help they can get on defense against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who engineered a dramatic comeback win over the Green Bay Packers with a franchise-record 503 yards along with three touchdown passes.

"We're a deep team," cornerback Domonique Foxworth said. "Webb stepped up when Fabian went down. Now that Webb is down, someone else will step up. Anytime somebody goes down, you have a ton of concern."

Carr has intercepted two passes this season and forced one fumble, notching 27 tackles.

He has improved lately along with the entire defense with eight interceptions in the past three games.

"You always have to be prepared for whatever," Carr said. "We should be fine. Everybody is fully capable. As long as we don't press. I think since we started doing that, the results have been better.

"Earlier in the season, I think we were pressing. Now, we're not pressing. We're playing relaxed. We're playing consistent and consistency wins football games."


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