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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens’ offensive line was dealt a significant blow as veteran offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo is out for the remainder of the season with an arm injury that will require surgery.
The eight-year starter tore his right triceps Sunday during the third quarter of the Ravens’ 16-13 win over the San Diego Chargers. With his arm in a sling afterward, Mulitalo indicated that it was “pretty bad.”
Mulitalo will be replaced at left guard by second-year pro Jason Brown, who has played in nine career games with just one start.
Mulitalo overcame multiple injuries and strife during a disappointing 2005 season, including gout, knee problems and his father’s death. He lost a lot of weight to prepare for this year. This marks the first major injury to a starter this year for Baltimore (4-0), which is coming off its second consecutive comeback win engineered by quarterback Steve McNair.
“Edwin deserved better,” said Billick, adding that the Ravens will sign someone for depth since they’re down to seven linemen on the active roster. “But we have pointed out that the depth of this team should be one of its strengths. This happens to be the first real test of that.
“I don’t know that anybody spent more time here in the offseason than Edwin. We hate to lose Edwin. We have a lot of faith in Jason.”
Brown started once last season against the Denver Broncos, and will make his starting debut this year Monday night at Invesco Field. At 6-foot-3, 320 pounds, Brown is a stocky blocker with the quickness to track down linebackers downfield.
“I’ve yet to be proven in the NFL,” Brown said. “It’s going to be a test. I feel very prepared. Lord willing, I’ll give my teammates a winning performance.”
Drafted in the fourth round out of North Carolina last year, Brown doesn’t have a great memory of his last trip to Denver. “It was a lot of adversity, it was a blur honestly,” Brown said. “It goes by so fast with the blink of an eye. I remember a lot of orange and a lot of blue.”
TOUGH PUNTER: Rookie punter Sam Koch unloaded on Chargers punt returner Eric Parker, sending him flying into the bench area with a sideline hit that launched Parker into the air.
A sixth-round draft pick out of Nebraska, the Westminster resident played fullback, linebacker and tight end in high school.
“He’s a good pick-up,” Billick said. “He’s punting the ball extremely well. He’s corn-fed, Nebraska bred, he’s not going to shy back from it. I don’t know how he’s feeling today.”
INSTANT REPLAY: Billick defended his decision to challenge tight end Daniel Wilcox’s fumble after catching a shovel pass at the Chargers’ 1-yard line. The ruling on the field was upheld, costing Baltimore its final timeout.
“It didn’t look like he had full possession of the ball,” Billick said. “Given the nature of where we were, it was worth the challenge. If it had come back in our favor, it would have been a huge play. It was worth the timeout.”
QUICK HITS: … The Ravens have only allowed three points in the second half this year, outscoring opponents 43-3. After halftime, the Chargers never advanced beyond the Ravens’ 22-yard line. … Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, who drew heavy criticism for his conservative approach with a 13-7 lead, praised the Ravens: “I’ve been doing this for a long time and that’s one of the best football teams that I’ve seen.” … Linebacker Bart Scott’s first-half interception of San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers marked the first time in team history that the Ravens have had an interception in each of their first four games. … The Chargers’ special teams had lots of issues, but Nate Kaeding’s 54-yard field goal and Mike Scifres’ 71-yard punt represent the longest ever against Baltimore. … With a minus-2 turnover ratio, the Ravens are still at plus-8 for the season.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.