OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (4-1) returned to work Thursday at 1 Winning Drive, continuing preparations for Sunday’s showdown with the New England Patriots (3-1) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo met with reporters before practice Thursday, just days before he’s eligible to be activated from the team’s Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Ayanbadejo tore his quadriceps on October 4, 2009-the last time the Ravens visited the Pats. He expects to return to the roster as soon as he’s eligible.
“The only thing that I don’t know is what my role is going to be” said the former Pro Bowl Special Teams ace. “I want to sprinkle in a little bit of defense and a little bit of Special Teams.”
Ayanbadejo acknowledged that the team could wait until after the Week 7 game against the Buffalo Bills and the bye week that follows to activate him; but it is particularly important to him that he gets back on the field as soon as possible.
“I haven’t played football in a year” said Ayanbadejo. “(I had an) over 100 game playing streak going-never missed a game in my career. I’m eager to get back in there just for myself.”
Safety Ed Reed (groin/hip) is also expected to be activated quickly by the team once eligible, but RB Matt Lawrence (knee) admitted that he was uncertain of whether or not he’d be added back to the roster after he’s eligible.
Lawrence said he knew the 21 days following Sunday’s game could be an uncomfortable time, but admitted “this is what I signed up for.”
Players on the PUP list can return to practice starting next week, the Ravens have 21 days to decide whether or not to move them to the active roster.
NGATA SPAINED MCL: DT Haloti Ngata told reporters Thursday that he suffered a “mild” MCL sprain in the Ravens’ 31-17 Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ngata said the injury should not prevent him from playing against the Patriots Sunday.
Ngata was injured while playing on the offensive side of the football, as he split out to attempt to catch a pass on a 1st quarter play. The Ravens were facing 4th and goal from the Broncos’ 1 yard line.
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said the team would allow Ngata to dictate whether or not they’d use him in offensive goal line situations in the future. “It’s always something you weigh. Haloti is the one who wants in there” said Cameron. “We’ve been awfully good with him in there. It was unfortunate what happened the other day, thank goodness he’s going to be fine.”
PRACTICE REPORT: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), OT Jared Gaither (back) and LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder) have been ruled OUT for Sunday’s game; none were on the practice field.
However, the five Ravens that missed practice Wednesday all returned to the practice field Thursday. RB Ray Rice (knee), FB Le’Ron McClain (shoulder/knee), Ngata (knee), DE Paul Kruger (knee) and CB Josh Wilson (hamstring) were all back on the field Thursday, all were limited participants. Joining them on the list of limited participants were LB Edgar Jones (thigh) and LB Jameel McClain (knee)-who were each limited for a 2nd straight day-and S Ken Hamlin (ankle), who was not on Wednesday’s injury report.
LB Prescott Burgess (unknown) was not present during the portion of practice open to the media; but was apparently just a late arrival as he was not listed on the injury report.
For the Patriots, RB Fred Taylor (toe) did not participate in practice for a second straight day. Safety James Sanders (hamstring) was a new addition to the injury report Thursday. QB Tom Brady (shoulder) and CB Terrence Wheatley (foot) were full participants for a second straight day.
NOTES: Hear from Cameron, Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison, Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg, LB Coach/Former Patriots Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees, Ayanbadejo and Wilson NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……OL Scott Kooistra joined Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hear that chat in the Audio Vault as well. DE Cory Redding is scheduled to join Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” Thursday at 3:30, LB Jason Phillips is scheduled to join Forrester Friday at 7:20am……Cameron told WNST.net Thursday that L. McClain is “the best fullback in the NFL” in terms of being a complete “rushing, blocking and pass catching” package……The Ravens will practice again Friday at 1 Winning Drive, Head Coach John Harbaugh is expected to address the media following practice.