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Boller Gets Starting Call for Ravens

August 31, 2003|From Associated Press

Kyle Boller will start at quarterback when the Baltimore Ravens open the regular season at Pittsburgh next Sunday, winning the job from incumbent Chris Redman.

Rarely are NFL rookie quarterbacks thrown in at the start of their careers, especially on teams seeking to make the playoffs.

John Elway, and more recently Peyton Manning, struggled when they were made immediate starters, and both played on teams without high expectations.

And seldom do rookies earn a starting job after holding out. Boller missed a week of training camp.

But Raven Coach Brian Billick said the 19th overall pick in last April's draft, who went to California and Newhall Hart High, isn't an ordinary rookie.

"The physical skills are obvious; anyone that's seen the kid -- even in a practice -- can recognize that," Billick said "But his ability to absorb the offense has been shocking to me, and I've been doing this for a while."

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Teams continued to cut down their rosters in preparation for the 1 p.m. deadline today, when they must be at 53.

Washington made an unlikely move -- releasing quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Gibran Hamdan. That leaves the Redskins with only starter Patrick Ramsey and backup Rob Johnson as quarterbacks.

The Redskins also released running back Kenny Watson, who averaged 4.6 yards per carry last year and was their second-leading rusher

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Atlanta cut fourth-string quarterback David Rivers, leaving the Falcons with Doug Johnson as the starter in the season opener and Kurt Kittner as the backup while Michael Vick recovers from a broken leg that is expected to keep him out at least four games. Also cut was wide receiver and kick returner MarTay Jenkins, signed as a free agent from Arizona.

Meanwhile, backup linebacker Keith Newman of Atlanta was suspended for four games by the league for violating the NFL's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

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The Philadelphia Eagles announced that defensive end Jerome McDougle, their first-round draft pick, will miss at least the first two games of the season. McDougle injured his ankle, knee and hip in Thursday night's exhibition loss to the Jets.

The Eagles also traded wide receiver Freddie Milons to Pittsburgh for an undisclosed future draft choice.

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The New York Giants were forced to put two key off-season acquisitions on injured reserve -- long-snapper Ryan Kuehl, because of tendinitis in his right elbow, and kicker Mike Hollis, because of back problems. Running back Ron Dayne said he had been told he had made the team after some speculation he might be cut. ... Jacksonville released defensive end Marco Coleman and wide receiver Donald Hayes. Coleman was entering his 12th season. Last year with the Jaguars, he had five sacks.... The New York Jets waived quarterbacks Marquel Blackwell and Todd Husak.... Pittsburgh cut eight players, including veteran offensive lineman Calvin Collins.

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