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WESTMINSTER, Md. — Clarence Moore extended his arms, stretching his abdomen forward as he leapt into the air to try to catch a lob pass from quarterback Brian St. Pierre.
Although the Baltimore Ravens’ wide receiver was unable to secure the football because he was heavily covered by cornerback Chris McAlister, it was an encouraging moment.
Moore quickly got up without incident, emerging unscathed from an awkward landing.
Now that he has returned to practice after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia in May, Moore has designs on trying to catch up in the race to be the third or fourth wide receiver on the depth chart.
“It definitely feels good to be back and feel like a part of the team again,” Moore said. “The biggest thing is I feel like I’m 100 percent. I obviously have to get some conditioning in and get back into football shape.”
Moore was activated from the physically unable to perform list Monday afternoon after passing his physical. The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder missed the first 17 days of training camp. The complications from a previous college surgery on his abdomen have been addressed, according to team officials.
“I’m pretty confident we found out what was going on the last time and that the doctor cleaned it up real well,” Moore said. “The mesh and lining and scar tissue around it got loose. I’m past it. Mentally and physically, there’s nothing going on with the injury anymore.”
Ravens coach Brian Billick declared that Moore is unlikely to play Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles at M&T Bank Stadium, but expressed confidence that he could be available the following week against the Minnesota Vikings.
While Moore has undergone an extended convalescence that forced him out of all the team’s minicamps and the majority of training camp, he has lost ground to impressive rookie wide receiver Demetrius Williams and fellow third-year veteran Devard Darling. Moore lost his starting job last season and finished with only three catches for 59 yards after struggling markedly with his hands.
However, he could still emerge again as a red-zone threat after leading the Ravens with four touchdown receptions as a rookie in 2004.
“Obviously it hurts to not be out here,” Moore said. “I have to win back the quarterbacks’ confidence and win a spot back, period.”
DEFENSE AT FULL STRENGTH: Middle linebacker Ray Lewis and rookie defensive tackle Haloti Ngata are both slated to start against the Eagles, according to Billick.
Lewis was a healthy scratch against the Giants, and Ngata was held out after suffering a Grade 1, medial collateral ligament sprain in a scrimmage against the Washington Redskins. Ngata said he won’t require a brace to play.
TRAINING ROOM: Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden didn’t practice, continuing his conditioning after missing the first few weeks of camp following his father’s death. Offensive guard Brian Rimpf (hamstring) didn’t practice along with tight end Rob Abiamiri (calf), safety B.J. Ward (migraines) and safety Steve Paris (leg). Safety Shannon James left practice, but returned. Wide receiver Matt Cherry’s arm is in a sling.
“This process is taking a lot longer than I want it to,” Ward said. “It’s frustrating.”
QUICK HITS: Center Mike Flynn is entering his ninth season after entering the league as an undrafted free agent from Maine. “It’s a great story and it’s typical of a center,” Billick said. “You can last a long time if you know what you’re doing and that’s a high premium for a center. Mike has control of that offensive line. That’s a big asset for us.” … Jarret Johnson has completed a transition to outside linebacker after being drafted in the fourth round out of Alabama as a traditional defensive end. “You’ve gotta love Jarret Johnson,” Billick said. “He’s like Kelly Gregg. He does everything you ask him to do. We’ve asked a lot of him, adapting to more of an Adalius Thomas role. He can put his hand down in the dirt, he can be up, or he can drop. He’s a very valuable multi-purpose player.” … Rookie punter Sam Koch struggled again, shanking five punts out of bounds. … The Bowling Brook Prep football team attended practice.
Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.