OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Being injured is one thing, but to hear scathing comments about it from a 320-pound teammate is hitting too close to home.
Good-natured ribbing or not, Baltimore Ravens defensive end Michael McCrary plans to silence one jumbo-sized teammate when he makes his first start of the year Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"You know `Goose' [Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa] had some smart comments to say," McCrary said. "He called me the $2 million sideline man. I got to take his jokes. Of course, it irritates me. What can I do? There is nothing I can do about it."
Unknown to Siragusa, McCrary could have played on his bum left knee in last Sunday's 28-27 loss to Jacksonville, but Ravens coaches held him out as a precaution. McCrary initially injured his knee over the summer when he hyperextended it chasing his 130-pound Rottweiler, "Boss," down a flight of steps.
"After my surgery, he [Boss] kept bumping into my knee. I wondered what the deal was," McCrary said. "I figured he was just lonely and wanted me to stay in the house more."
However, Siragusa is right. Baltimore has too much invested in McCrary to risk him for the season. Only an 11th-hour decision by the coaching staff prevented McCrary, who missed the entire preseason, from lining up at right defensive end beside the massive, run-stopping Siragusa for the opener.
"It was made in the last second," McCrary said of the decision to hold him out. "Every quarter they were telling me I might have a chance to go in there. When the quarter would come up, they would say, `Oh no, next quarter.' By the time the end of the fourth quarter came around, they said, `We're just going to save you and not risk the injury.' "
Good move. In the offseason, McCrary and Siragusa were free-agent coups for the Ravens. Baltimore desperately needed to upgrade its league-worst defense and signed McCrary, who last season tied Buffalo's Bruce Smith for the AFC sacks lead with 13 1/2, as an unrestricted free agent April 7 from Seattle. …