OWINGS MILLS — It was a grand entrance for the smallest player on the Baltimore Ravensâ€™ roster.
Before stocky rookie return specialist Cory Ross held his first formal press conference since making the team as an undrafted free agent, there was a humorous introduction for the 5-foot-6, 201-pounder.
â€œA lot of wiggle, 5-foot-9, 250 pounds,â€ said linebacker Bart Scott, sounding like boxing announcer Michael Buffer. â€œWatch out, baby. Kirby Puckett. Come on, Kirby.â€
Ross laughed sheepishly, unaccustomed to the attention and perhaps not too fond of his nickname.
â€œI guess the laugh is on me,â€ he said. â€œThat comes with the territory. Call me Cory.â€
With highly regarded return specialist B.J. Sams out for the season with a fractured right ankle, Ross will shed his relative anonymity since his days as the Nebraska Cornhuskersâ€™ starting running back and will handle kickoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
â€œItâ€™s unfortunate how I got the chance, but thatâ€™s the way football is,â€ said Ross, who was impressive during training camp on returns. â€œIâ€™m just going to get in there and do the things I can do to help the team win.
â€œI knew there was a possibility. Itâ€™s a long season. Some guys take a pounding.â€
Starting wide receiver Mark Clayton is slated to split punt-returning duties with nickel back Corey Ivy, and Ross caught a few punts Wednesday along with safety Ed Reed as the Ravens are taking a committee approach to filling in for Sams.
â€œI may be able to get in there and do both, Iâ€™m working hard at doing some punt returns,â€ Ross said. â€œHavenâ€™t caught any in a while, but Iâ€™m definitely feeling good and confident out there.â€
Ross dropped a few punts Wednesday and Clayton appeared to catch the ball smoothly.
â€œIâ€™m ready if they need me,â€ Clayton said. â€œItâ€™s just another opportunity to contribute.â€
Ross has been inactive for the first dozen games, biding his time in case the team needed him. The Ravens, who have a history of utilizing undrafted free agents, were an attractive destination for Ross when he was sifting through offers following the draft.
â€œ[Special-teams coach] Frank Gansz came in and looked at me at
TRAINING ROOM: Outside linebacker Dan Cody is optimistic that he can come back in two weeks after tearing his posterior cruciate ligament, and said he wonâ€™t require surgery.
Cody is listed as doubtful on the injury report and didnâ€™t practice.
â€œItâ€™s coming along really good, I just feel like itâ€™s a big difference everyday,â€ Cody said. â€œThey say like 1 in 10 guys has to have surgery for this injury. It makes me not worry about it as much.â€
Meanwhile, running back Musa Smith (neck) is doubtful for Sunday and didnâ€™t practice.
Offensive guard Keydrick Vincent (groin) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (hamstring) are expected to return this week, and are listed as questionable along with linebacker Dennis Haley (ankle).
The Chiefs listed linebacker Derrick Johnson (ankle), safety Sammy Knight (ankle), defensive tackle James Reed (groin) and defensive tackle Jimmy Wilkerson (hamstring) as questionable. Tight end Tony Gonzalez and offensive tackle Kyle Turley are probable with shoulder injuries.
A LONG WAIT: Fullback Nick Luchey had been dutifully going to tryouts with several NFL teams since the Houston Texans cut him this summer.
It was a long enough period of unemployment that the 6-foot-2, 273-pounder briefly considered ending his eight-year football career prior to Baltimore signing him Monday to replace fullback Justin Green, whoâ€™s out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
â€œI had never been in this situation before in my life,â€ Luchey said. â€œTo be honest with you, I had thought about retiring. I watched the games on television and it made me want to get back into it. Iâ€™m really thankful to be here because this is what I was born to do.â€
Luchey, who has experience playing tight end and H-back, is slated to back up starter Ovie Mughelli. He has rushed for 170 career yards and two touchdowns, catching 27 passes for 258 yards.
â€œI can do a lot of different things,â€ Luchey said. â€œIâ€™ve always been an athletic guy for my size. I can do whatever they need me to do.â€
PLAYOFF SCENARIO:There is one remote scenario where the Ravens can clinch a playoff berth this weekend. It would require the combination of the Ravens winning in
â€œYou know what, theyâ€™ll come tell us,â€ Ravens coach Brian Billick said. â€œI wonâ€™t change anything.â€
QUICK HITS:The Ravens have no plans to pipe in artificial crowd noise to prepare for raucous Arrowhead Stadium. â€œWeâ€™ve been through that before,â€ Billick said. â€œThereâ€™s no way to simulate it. You do some things in terms of the play-calling, the snap count, those type of things to account for it. Itâ€™s a tough environment.â€ â€¦ To a man, the Ravens said they were refreshed after five days off from practice following the 13-7 loss to the Bengals. â€œOne thing about having time off is that when you get away from football, you come back and you are recharged,â€ middle linebacker Ray Lewis said. â€œCoach Billick is very strategic when he does that, and I always appreciate it because I get away from it all. When we step out on the field, we are so fresh that we are almost feeling like weâ€™re playing the first game of the year.â€
Aaron Wilson covers the