Two former teammates. One was buried in Los Angeles yesterday. The other will return to an Atlanta courtroom tomorrow, accused of double murder.

Two former teammates. Two members of the NFL's elite. Two friends of former Ravens safety Stevon Moore, and many others.

Maybe Ray Lewis thought about Eric Turner while he was sitting in court last week. Maybe it hit him how quickly it all can slip away.

Turner, 31, died last Sunday, apparently from complications of abdominal cancer. Two weeks earlier, he had denied he was gravely ill, saying in a statement that he wanted to keep the issue private.

Moore, now living in Wiggins, Miss., said he failed in repeated attempts to contact Turner in Los Angeles. He and another former member of the Ravens' secondary, Antonio Langham, had decided to go find the two-time Pro Bowl safety, whom they considered a brother.

"We were scheduled to take a flight out next week," Moore said Friday. "We didn't know how serious it was. We thought we could find out where he lives, talk to him, go out and see him, pay a visit.

"The only thing he could do was turn us around. But if we had gotten that close, I don't think Eric would have turned us around. That was our plan - to go out and see him. It hurts me dearly that we weren't able to do that."

Moore, Langham and two other former members of the Modell franchise - Eric Metcalf and Terry Taylor - had to say their goodbyes as pall-bearers yesterday at Turner's funeral.

Moore, 33, said he learned of Turner's death from a friend in Baltimore who had seen a report on ESPN. Later that night, another friend confirmed the news for him by checking the Internet.

"I just lost it from there," Moore said. "I was speechless for a while. Some people called, and I just couldn't talk. I had to call them back a little later. I couldn't sit still, thinking about it."

Turner played with the Ravens in only their inaugural season - 1996, when the team ranked last in the NFL in pass defense, despite Turner making the Pro Bowl at free safety and Moore remaining a stalwart at strong safety.

Lewis was a rookie that season, and he would tell Turner and Moore: "I've watched you guys. I love watching you guys play." Moore laughed, recalling Lewis as a cocky kid from the University of Miami.

"Man, I'm a hitter," Lewis told him.

"You can't hit. You're too small. These are big boys," Moore replied, joking.

"I've got a big heart. They can't outplay me," Lewis boasted.

Lewis, Turner and Moore were the Ravens' three leading tacklers that season. Turner then departed as a free agent, signing with the Oakland Raiders. He and Moore were a tandem for five seasons in Cleveland and Baltimore.

I just thank the grace of God, that He put me with Eric," Moore said. "Eric made my career. Playing with a great player like Eric, for me to go out and try to play up to his level every week, that was very tough for me, and also a challenge.

"It hurt me when he left. I knew it wasn't going to be the same. I played with him so much, I knew where he'd be at all times. My game complemented his game. His game complemented my game. He could roam the middle. I could play the run."

But as much as Moore admired Turner as a player, he respected him even more as a person, describing him as "down-to-earth, very intelligent, very creative, a comedian, you name it."