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OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce’s season was officially ended Wednesday as the four-time Pro Bowl selection was placed on injured reserve.
Because of a torn pectoral muscle suffered during a 33-30 overtime loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens are now bereft of their top pass rusher and will play the final six games with Dwan Edwards starting in his place and Antwan Barnes continuing to operate as a situational pass rusher.
"When you lose someone like Trevor, you realize, whatever happens, I’ve got your back because that’s a man who appreciates this game," middle linebacker Ray Lewis said. "For him not to be in as a teammate just doesn’t make sense.
"It’s a big loss, but you’ve got to appreciate someone playing through that after tearing that in the second play and then he’s still out there fighting with you."
Pryce led Baltimore with 13 sacks a year ago, but injuries have limited his production to 19 tackles and two sacks.
Now, there will likely be more blocking attention paid to outside linebacker Terrell Suggs again, which became commonplace strategy during the five games Pryce missed earlier this season with a broken left wrist that required surgery.
"You could see in the games that he came back what a difference he made in terms of the total package, but that’s kind of the M.O. for the year," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We’ve had a lot of games without him, so we’re prepared to go on with the next group."
INJURY UPDATE: Tight end Todd Heap didn’t practice, but didn’t rule himself out with a strained hamstring that has kept him out of five of the past seven weeks.
"It’s definitely progressing," he said. "We’ll see. It’s frustrating. I have to make sure it’s better before I try it again. It’s a hard one to deal with. I’m always an optimistic, I’m never a pessimist."
Center Mike Flynn didn’t practice due to a case of stomach flu.
Cornerback Chris McAlister (knee) and defensive tackle Justin Bannan (sprained right ankle) didn’t practice.
"It felt a lot better, which is a good sign," Bannan said. "It’s coming along. I can’t leave my buddies hanging. Whatever it takes, I need to be on the field Sunday."
Safeties Ed Reed (back, neck), Gerome Sapp (hamstring) and Jamaine Winborne (ankle), linebacker Gary Stills (knee) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained toe) were limited in practice.
Cornerback Samari Rolle (epilepsy) participated fully in practice.
Quarterback Steve McNair (shoulder) and wide receiver Demetrius Williams (high-ankle sprain) were ruled out.
RESPECTED: Running back Priest Holmes retired Wednesday, a development that prompted reminiscing at Ravens headquarters.
Holmes, who played for Baltimore from 1997 to 2000 prior to setting 11 career records with the Kansas City Chiefs, decided to stop playing after reinjuring his neck Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
"Priest is a true man of God who understands what submission is to a higher authority," Lewis said. "For him trying to get back tells a lot about his character and who he is as a man."
Added Billick: "Great experience being around Priest Holmes. As good a player as he was, he was a better person and a great athlete, and I’m better for having had the opportunity to work with him."
WAITING GAME: Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said he expects to be punished by the league office after slugging Browns rookie offensive tackle Joe Thomas in the face Sunday.
"Yeah, I expect to be fined," Ngata said. "It happened right there in front of everybody."
ROSTER MOVES: Defensive lineman Zarnell Fitch will take Pryce’s spot on the active roster as he was promoted from the practice squad. Fitch was cut by the New York Jets in August after spending last year on their practice squad. The Ravens also signed defensive tackle Amon Gordon to the practice squad. He was cut by the Denver Broncos on Nov. 7.
QUICK HITS: Kyle Boller was sacked six times against the Browns, but said the fault doesn’t lie solely with the offensive line. "I missed some hots," Boller said. "I’ve got to get the ball out of my hand when they’re bringing six guys and we have five blockers. At other times, it’s just errors in assignments. That’s what I’m talking about when I say that we’ve got to make sure that we’re all on the same page and get all the wrinkles ironed out so that those don’t happen." … The Ravens collected 23,000 pounds in their annual food drive to benefit the Maryland Food Bank, three times more than last year. … The Ravens’ band is scheduled to appear in the 81st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City today. The parade is broadcast on NBC. …. The Ravens promoted Mark Burdett (corporate sales), Bob Eller (operations), Baker Koppelman (ticket sales and operations) and Roy Sommerhof (stadium operations) to be vice presidents.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.