OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jared Gaither declared that he will definitely play against the Denver Broncos following the team’s bye.
Gaither has been sidelined for the past two weeks after injuring his neck and being carted off the field against the New England Patriots.
"I’m not lying," Gaither said. "I’m definitely 100 percent. There’s no doubt about it this time. I’ll be ready."
Gaither even demonstrated that his neck flexibility has returned, rolling his head in different directions.
"The flexibility, the strength has been improving," Gaither said. "I’ve been getting better every day."
As much as any other player on the team, Gaither could use this week off to get healthy heading into a game against the undefeated Broncos.
"I think it was a good time for the whole team to refocus and regenerate our energy and get back to it and get back to work with a win," Gaither said.
Rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher started in Gaither’s place at left tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots.
"I think he did a tremendous job," Gaither said. "Mike is a great player and he did a great job of paying attention during the week and taking pointers."
STANDING PAT: After exploring several trade scenarios involving wide receivers and defensive backs, the Ravens stood pat as the NFL trade deadline passed without striking a deal.
The Ravens were rumored to be interested in potential trades for Dwayne Bowe and Terrell Owens. The New England Patriots wound up cutting Joey Galloway, another receiver linked to the Ravens.
If the Ravens want Galloway, he’s a vested veteran who can immediately sign with any team without needing to pass through the waiver system.
The Ravens could use more help on defense, though.
DONE TALKING TRASH: Oher’s feud with Minnesota Vikings star defensive end Jared Allen has come to an abrupt halt.
Days after saying, "There’s really nothing special about him," after allowing a sack and seven tackles against Allen, Oher decided to defuse the situation after Allen issued an over-the-top rebuttal.
"It’s just a big misunderstanding," said Oher, who was flagged for two false starts. "That guy’s a great player. I have nothing but respect for that guy.
“He’s doing a great job. He was definitely a challenge and I’ve got nothing but respect. We got into it during the game and it got kind of emotional, but it’s over now."
During a radio interview Monday with FOXSports.com, Allen reacted strongly to Oher’s comments after the game.
“Well, that’s just some idiot trying to talk himself up," Allen said "I beat that dude like a red-headed step child, let’s be honest. If he was so good why did they have to chip me all day? Ask him that."
MOVING ON: Steve Hauschka isn’t dwelling on his pivotal missed field goal that cost the Ravens a chance to upset the Vikings.
"A lot of guys have been very supportive," said Hauschka, referring to middle linebacker Ray Lewis and wide receiver Derrick Mason. "They let me know the team has got my back. It’s part of the learning process.
"It hurts a lot, but this is part of the process that a lot of guys go through. Even some of the best guys out there have all been through it. It’s something you’ve got to learn from."
Hauschka said that he’s eager to get back on the field for another pressure situation.
"No question," he said. "That’s what I’m going to be thinking about from here on out. I put that last one behind me. I can’t wait for that next one. I wish had that one back, but you’ve got to move on from it."
Mechanically, Hauschka said that he erred by not following through and looking up too quickly.
"I didn’t really finish the kick," he said. "Obviously, there’s something going on there. You have to keep your head down. You hate to miss one so meaningful."
OPTIMISTIC: One game behind the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North, the Ravens have yet to play the Steelers.
They have one division game apiece remaining against the Cleveland Browns and the Bengals.
“We could be a little better, but the bottom line is I think we still control our own destiny within the division,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “As long as we go out there and play the way we can, play the way we know we’re going to, then I think we should be fine the rest of the season.”
QUICK HITS: Scratched against the Vikings, outside linebacker Antwan Barnes wasn’t sure why he was deactivated. The Ravens had offensive tackle Tony Moll activated for a change. Barnes also had a heavy brace on his elbow to protect an old injury. Barnes was mentioned in some reports as supposedly being on the trading block. "I never heard that," he said. "I’m not really surprised. It’s the NFL. Stuff happens. If it happens, it happens." … Wide receiver Kelley Washington said that he has recovered after absorbing a big hit from Vikings safety Madieu Williams initially thought to be a mild concussion. He left the game for a few plays before returning. "I don’t know what the doctors classified it as, but it was a hard hit and I was able to go back in the game," Washington said. "I just needed to get the cobweb out. I didn’t feel like me being out there a little woozy was going to help the team. I’m glad I was able to get back in the game." … Running back Ray Rice plans to return to his hometown of New Rochelle, N.Y. and visit family and watch his high school team play. “I’m definitely going to visit some schools to give back to the community and where I’m from,” he said. “Just really getting away from football for a little bit, enjoying yourself and getting the body right. Never forget where you came from. I’m going to do little things, a little cardio over the break, but nothing too stressful. Some vets have told me what they’ve done, I’ve taken ideas from different guys on the team.”