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OWINGS MILLS — In the wake of running back Willis McGahee being struck in the eye Sunday in an episode that opened up a cut on his right eyelid and also being poked in his left eye by the Cleveland Browns’ defense, the Baltimore Ravens have filed a complaint with the league office.
If it’s determined that punishment is warranted, then any potential disciplinary action wouldn’t be announced until Friday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail.
"It’s on the tape," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. "There were two incidents, two different guys.
“We sent it in and we talked to the league. We asked them for their opinion on what happened, and we’re waiting to hear back on it."
McGahee’s right eye remains swollen and he was limited in practice. He didn’t talk with reporters, but was seen in the locker room wearing sunglasses.
"It still looks pretty bad to me," Harbaugh said. "If you guys saw him in there, that thing is swollen up badly.
“As long as he can see, he’ll play. But if he can’t see, he’s not going to able to play. So, we’ll try to get that swelling down."
Although there has been speculation about which Cleveland players hit McGahee, Harbaugh declined to name names.
"I don’t think we should say," he said. "I wouldn’t want to comment on it, but you can see it on the tape."
(Here’s video of the play that ended with McGahee suffering the cut right eye)
WARPATH: The blood feud between Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and Ravens linebacker Bart Scott erupted again last season when Scott threatened Ward during a 38-7 Baltimore loss at Heinz Field.
Moments after Ward took out free safety Reed with a block that lifted him off his feet, Scott never saw the wide receiver coming on a sideline hit and was sent flailing through the air much to the delight of former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
"Yeah, he threatened to kill me after the game," Ward said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "I got a big laugh out of it. Out on the field, you’re going to have a war of words. Guys are going to talk about your mother, talk about anything to get up under your skin.
"It’s just words. Words don’t hurt me. I’m pretty sure if I see Bart out in the street, outside of football, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to kill me. Tell him I said, ‘Hello.’"
Scott never did get the payback he sought last season in the second game as Ward didn’t play.
Apparently, the bad blood doesn’t extend to Scott’s teammates.
Linebacker Terrell Suggs said he hangs out with Ward in Las Vegas and works out with offensive tackle Max Starks during the offseason, but there’s no apparent thaw for Scott when it comes to the Pro Bowl wideout.
"Bart’s the Mad Backer, Bart has a split personality, especially when he’s on the field," Suggs said. "Bart’s a really lovable guy. He’s very fun in the locker room and on the practice field, but it’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When he gets on the field, even I can’t talk to him."
Ward isn’t anticipating retribution, at least nothing outside the rules.
"We’re not going out there to try to hurt each other, you know, end somebody’s career," he said. "At the same time, we know you’ve got to strap up your helmet and get ready to put on a physical game."
Ward has caught 734 career passes for 8,906 yards and 68 touchdowns to lead the Steelers in every all-time category.
Harbaugh didn’t have much to say when asked about Ward, though.
“I haven’t really thought about grading him as a blocking receiver, so I wouldn’t know what category to put him in or what number to put on him," Harbaugh said. "He’s a guy we’re getting ready to play on Monday night."
SMITH RETURNS: Quarterback Troy Smith practiced for the first time since being stricken by a tonsil infection in August, an illness that halted his bid for the starting job.
The former Heisman Trophy winner practiced on a limited basis, running the scout team as he did his best impression of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"He’s proclaiming himself the best scout-team quarterback ever," wide receiver Derrick Mason said.
Noticeably thinner, Smith has regained about half of the 20 pounds he lost and said he is up to 200 pounds. One of Smith’s hospital visits was to treat chest pains that occurred when a blood clot in his jugular vein spread to his lungs.
"You take for granted being able to breathe on a consistent basis," Smith said. "That was taken away from me for a period of time where I couldn’t really breathe and couldn’t really move the way I wanted to.
“Just to be able to be back out joking with the guys, being able to run and take deep breaths again, that means everything. It was totally a blast for me while I was lying in my hospital bed how many people came to visit. That meant everything to me, and that helped me get through the illness."
Smith was on the verge of claiming the starting job when he fell ill prior to a preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. He tries not to dwell on what might have been or on whether he’ll eventually climb the depth chart to become rookie starter Joe Flacco’s backup.
"I do, but that’s a whole other thought process," Smith said. "I won’t even go down that road. The cure for me now is winning. That’s what we’re doing, and I feel tremendous about the situation and being a part of this special team.
"My health is what’s most important now. When you’re lying in a hospital bed watching the sequel of Predator or Terminator III all day, you just want to get back to doing something. I still have to get my stamina back, my muscle memory back."
Smith expressed support for Flacco, the Ravens’ first-round draft pick from Delaware.
"He’s doing a tremendous job with the offense and getting us to where we need to be," Smith said. "We’ve put him in situations where supposedly a rookie quarterback would not be able to handle it. I’m rooting for him, because our success relies on him and that’s the way it’s supposed to be."
INJURY REPORT: Safety Dawan Landry has been visiting the Ravens’ training complex for treatment following his spinal cord concussion and remains in a cervical collar after being released from Maryland Shock Trauma on Monday. He’s expected to play again this season.
"He looked great and said he felt great," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, it was a scare. When you see a player go down, especially face first, and you don’t see him move, then it’s not a football issue anymore. It becomes a life issue. You just want him to move and to be okay."
Nose guard Kelly Gregg (left knee) didn’t practice.
Linebacker Nick Greisen (quadriceps), fullback Le’Ron McClain (back/ankle), McGahee, cornerback Samari Rolle (shoulder/neck) and Smith were limited in practice.
Return specialist Yamon Figurs (hamstring), linebacker Tavares Gooden (hip) and cornerback Fabian Washington (bulging disc in his neck) participated fully.
The Steelers have already ruled out running back Willie Parker (sprained knee), nose guard Casey Hampton (knee) and defensive end Brett Keisel (calf), but safety Troy Polamalu (quadriceps), offensive tackle Marvel Smith (non-injury), Ward (non-injury) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) didn’t practice.
When asked if he’ll adjust his game plan with Parker out and rookie Rashard Mendenhall starting in his place, Harbaugh replied: "No. They’ll have a running back there lining up, a real good one."
QUICK HIT: One of the Ravens’ five sacks against the Browns has been taken away by the NFL after a film study by the Elias Sports Bureau determined that it was a rush by quarterback Derek Anderson for a loss. Anderson tripped in the backfield. The Ravens now have six sacks for the season.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.