WESTMINSTER — The injury to third-string quarterback John Beck’s throwing shoulder triggered an immediate reaction from the Baltimore Ravens.
They brought in veteran reserve quarterback Cleo Lemon for a tryout and a physical Saturday as a precautionary measure in case Beck is out for an extended period.
The Ravens also re-signed undrafted rookie quarterback Drew Willy.
If Beck is going to be out for a long time due to sprained ligaments and muscles, then the Ravens could quickly turn to Lemon. Team officials remained in contact with Lemon following his successful physical and were scheduled to speak with him again this morning.
It was initially feared that Beck has a broken collarbone after taking a hard shot in the Ravens’ 23-0 preseason win over the Washington Redskins, but that’s apparently not the case as no tears or breaks were revealed on his magnetic resonance imaging exam.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that he didn’t know the exact details of Beck’s injury.
"I know it’s not a tear, so it’s not going to be surgical," Harbaugh said. "So, it should be a deal where rest brings it back, but I don’t have the exact details yet."
Lemon worked out recently for the New England Patriots and passed a physical, but they signed former Oakland Raiders quarterback Andrew Walter instead.
Lemon has a background with Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, playing for him with the Miami Dolphins and the San Diego Chargers. Lemon spent time with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002.
In five NFL seasons, Lemon, 29, has thrown for 2,185 yards with eight touchdown passes with seven interceptions for a 71.8 quarterback rating.
Willy was cut by the Ravens following a rookie minicamp on June 18.
"It’s a huge opportunity," said Willy, who has been working out with former NFL quarterbacks coach Jerry Rhome. "I need to put everything into it. I just want to show the coaches what I can do and prove to them that I can play at this level."
For at least a temporary basis, the Ravens plan to evaluate Willy, who helped revitalize the football program at the University of Buffalo.
"Drew’s been here before, so that gives us another quarterback to get through practice and to give Drew the chance to show what he can do a little bit," Harbaugh said. "We happen to have a little room on the roster right now."
INJURY UPDATE: Wide receiver Marcus Smith’s season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament affects the Ravens’ depth on offense.
However, it also impacts the special teams where last year’s fourth-round draft pick excelled as a gunner on punt coverage.
"It’s a huge loss for the special teams," Harbaugh said. "Marcus was playing as well as any rookie in the league at the end of the year on special teams. You saw it in the game. That’s a big, strong gunner running down the field."
Smith is scheduled to undergo surgery in the next week or two after the swelling in his right knee goes down. Dr. James Andrews is likely to perform the procedure.
Smith attended practice Saturday, getting around on crutches.
"Upset more than anything, frustrated," Smith said. "You work so hard to get to this point to play this season and show yourself and prove that you’ve worked hard and all of those good things. Now, you can’t do it.
"You’ve got to wait another year before you come out here and prove yourself. So, it’s definitely a bummer, but I’ll come back bigger and stronger and faster."
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Lamar Divens (hip flexor) was placed on injured reserve.
Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (left trapezius), linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (sprained toe) and wide receiver Biren Ealy (groin) returned to practice after being held out of the preseason game.
Not practicing: linebacker Terrell Suggs (heel, Achilles’ tendon), wide receiver Mark Clayton (strained left hamstring), cornerback Samari Rolle (neck), offensive tackle Stefan Rodgers (calf, foot) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (undisclosed).
Offensive tackle Michael Oher, who received three stitches in his forehead after suffering a cut against the Redskins, said he’s feeling fine.
Kick returner and cornerback Chris Carr didn’t practice in the afternoon due to a leg injury that forced him out of the morning practice.
NEW WIDE RECEIVER: The Ravens signed former University of Utah wide receiver Bradon Godfrey, who was cut by the Atlanta Falcons this week after a previous stint with the Buffalo Bills.
"This is definitely a great opportunity," Godfrey said. "This whole process has definitely been a roller-coaster ride. Hopefully, this will be my home and I can stick with this team.
"Coming from Utah, I have a grinder attitude and I think I can bring a lot of toughness and a never-quit attitude. I feel like I catch the ball well and run crisp routes."
Godfrey caught 128 career passes for 1,440 yards, including 56 catches last season for 556 yards and four touchdowns.
BLUE-COLLAR: Harbaugh donned a blue-collared work shirt with the name, "John," stenciled on the front pocket. It was intended as a motivational message about maintaining a strong work ethic.
"All of us in the organization have had people go to work every day, and they do jobs that are tough jobs," Harbaugh said. "We have an opportunity to practice football. Who’s got it better than us? I think our guys understand that.
"We should be excited to come out here and work and practice because we saw our fathers, our mothers and our grandparents, our uncles and aunts, whoever raised us, put on one of those shirts on and go to work to make sure all of us could get to where we ought to be. That’s what America is all about. It’s just a very visual reminder."
QUICK HITS: Quarterback Joe Flacco had a nifty scramble for a touchdown in a red-zone drill. … Oher played about 35 snaps and graded out well, especially for his aggressiveness. "He’s physical, he’s got good feet, he can bend, he’s smart," Harbaugh said. "All the technique stuff, he’s going to be a work in progress for really years to come. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and September." … Rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb has been identified as a candidate for special-teams duty as a punt returner and on kick coverage. … Harbaugh predicted that the kicking battle between Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano will go down to the wire. "No separation yet," he said. "They both did fine."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.