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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-10-21

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-10-21

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-10-21
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said cornerback Samari Rolle and safety Dawan Landry could return to start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

He wouldn't say whether Chris McAlister would join them.

A day after the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback was benched, Harbaugh wouldn't guarantee McAlister would be back in the starting lineup for the NFL's second-ranked defense.

"If he's one of the guys that we feel gives us the best opportunity to play the best defense at that moment, he'll be out there," Harbaugh said. "If we think there's a guy that can do it better, then he'll be out there."

Harbaugh was extremely vague in trying to explain why McAlister didn't start for the first time this season.

He said the decision wasn't the result of an injury or a discipline problem. He then sidestepped questions when asked if the move was tied into a poor performance in Indianapolis or effort in practices.

"It's a football decision," Harbaugh said. "We're always going to put the best 11 players on the field for that situation. That's what we did (Sunday). We put the 11 guys out there that we felt were the best to defend whatever we were seeing in that particular package."

This isn't the first time that the Ravens have had an issue with McAlister.

McAlister was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana in 2000 and with driving under the influence in 2003. Charges were dropped in both cases.

Also, in 2003, McAlister broke curfew and missed a team meeting during a road trip to San Diego. He was sent home and fined.

But team officials had noticed a positive change with McAlister. Instead of working out near his home in Los Angeles, McAlister stayed near team headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., the past two seasons.

Asked about McAlister's behavior, Harbaugh said the reduction in playing time had nothing to do with conduct.

"We don't tie any kind of a punishment to pulling a guy off the field," he said. "How much a guy plays is based specifically and directly to what gives the best opportunity to put our best players out there in any given situation."

McAlister said this move isn't related to an injury. He had been limited in the preseason with a knee injury.

"My knee is excellent," he said.

McAlister is signed through the 2010 season, earning $8 million the next three years.

"Chris is still very much in the mix," Harbaugh said. "He's part of our plans. He's going to be a part of our success or failure as we go forward."

While McAlister's status is in doubt, there is a chance that the Ravens could have Rolle and Landry back.

Both have missed the past four games with neck and shoulder injuries. Rolle was seeing doctors Monday, and Landry is scheduled to meet with them Tuesday.

"I would have to say I was a little bit surprised in both those cases that you could come back so quickly," Harbaugh said.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 21, 2008

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Kelly Gregg Name: Kelly Gregg
Position: DT
Age: 31
Experience: 9 years
College: Oklahoma
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