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News » McGahee on benching: 'No need to be frustrated'

McGahee on benching: 'No need to be frustrated'

McGahee on benching: 'No need to be frustrated'
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - Willis McGahee has become the forgotten man in the Baltimore Ravens' running game, and he apparently isn't the least bit frustrated or angry about his pronounced lack of playing time.

During a 34-3 rout of Cincinnati on Sunday, McGahee watched from the sideline as Le'Ron McClain and rookie Ray Rice shared the workload in what used to be a potent three-pronged attack.

McGahee led the Ravens in rushing last year and went to the Pro Bowl, yet this season he has fewer yards and attempts than McClain, who had eight carries as a rookie fullback last year.

After reaching 1,000 yards rushing in three of the last four seasons, McGahee has only 489 yards in 2008 and appears to have plummeted from atop the depth chart. Asked Wednesday if his ego was hurting, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "It's like a positive right now. The injuries I have, it just gives me a chance to heal my body and let it rest even more, just adding on another couple years to my football span."

But what about this year? Will he be part of Baltimore's playoff push, or remain a spectator?

McGahee is dealing with an ailing left knee, a sore right ankle and bruised ribs. That may have been the reason he didn't play against the Bengals, although coach John Harbaugh eluded the issue and McGahee said, "I don't have an answer."

The benching came after McGahee rushed for only 8 yards in seven tries against Philadelphia. The week before that, he gained 18 yards on nine carries against the New York Giants.

At 260 pounds, McClain was better equipped to punish the Cincinnati defense than the 232-pound McGahee. But that doesn't explain why the 205-pound Rice is now apparently the second option in the rotation.

"There's no need to be frustrated. It's not going to get you nowhere. You can pout and cry all you want but that's not going to get you on the field," McGahee said. "I'm not complaining, man. As long as we keep winning and moving the ball, no tears over here."

Rice has gained 423 yards on 104 carries and ranks second on the team with 31 catches.

"The better I do, the more my role expands," the rookie said.

And the less McGahee plays. Drafted in 2003 by Buffalo after sustaining a serious knee injury in his final game at the University of Miami, McGahee did not play as a rookie but has averaged 291 carries over the last four seasons.

This year, he's at 141 attempts and will be pressed to get 200.

McClain received his first NFL start at tailback against the Bengals and might get the call Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Harbaugh isn't tipping his hand - to either the media or his players.

"I really don't know. I guess everybody has to wait until Sunday," said McClain, whose 545 rushing yards is 527 more than he gathered last year. "We just go with the flow. Whatever goes, goes."

McGahee said he is ready, when and if needed.

"When my number is called, I will be out there. If not, Ray and Le'Ron are doing a great job," he said. "It's not like the running game is really struggling. So I don't mind sitting back and watching."

That's a good thing judging by Harbaugh's skewed view of the situation this week.

Asked Wednesday if the week off might be helpful to McGahee against the Redskins, Harbaugh replied, "That's irrelevant. It's not a question that needs to be addressed."

Monday, however, Harbaugh said, "We plan on Willis being a huge part of what we're doing in December. He's getting stronger and stronger throughout the course of the season."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 4, 2008

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