Foxworth tore his ACL just before training camp last year, and the veteran admitted several times this season that he didn't yet feel completely comfortable with the surgically-repaired knee and his play had suffered as a result. After struggling in the Ravens' Week Two loss to the Tennessee Titans, Foxworth was inactive last Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
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"That was a conversation we've been having for about a week now," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. "It really heated up on Monday. There's a chance he could be able to play at some point in time and help us. We were holding out hope that was the case, but it was moving in the other direction for whatever reason. So we just didn't feel like we could afford to do that right now, especially needing a linebacker."
It's been a tough recovery for the former University of Maryland standout, whose return was influenced by the lockout. Not only was the 28-year-old not allowed to work with the team's training staff, but he wasn't able to devote his full attention to the rehab process because he was so active in the negotiations as a member of the NFLPA executive committee.
The latest development now casts some doubt on his future with the Ravens. Foxworth, who signed a four-year, $27.2 million contract with his hometown team in 2009, would be in the final year of the deal next season. He is due to make $5.6 million, a hefty price for a player that will have missed nearly two full seasons.
Asked about Foxworth's future with the team, Harbaugh said, "I'd say it's all up in the air for everybody. I hope he'll be here next year, too."
With Foxworth and rookie Jimmy Smith (high ankle sprain) out, the Ravens have been starting Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams at cornerback. Chris Carr, Danny Gorrer and rookie Chykie Brown are the other healthy cornerbacks on the roster.
"We'd probably like to have at least one more corner that is healthy, but we don't have that luxury right now," Harbaugh said. "It's definitely [something] we could address, just depending on what's available out there. But I'm comfortable with the guys we have."
Burgess is back
To take Foxworth's spot on the 53-man roster, the Ravens re-signed linebacker Prescott Burgess, who they drafted out of Michigan in the sixth round in 2007. Burgess gives the Ravens some depth at the linebacker position with Dannell Ellerbe nursing a strained hamstring. It's Burgess' third stint with the Ravens.
He's seen action in 37 games, and he led the Ravens in special teams tackles in both 2009 and 2010.
"I'm always happy getting back to work," Burgess said. "It's never fun staying home. I'm glad I'm back with the Ravens. I get to put that decal back on the side of my helmet and go out there and do my business."
More injury updates
Ellerbe, cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle), wide receivers Lee Evans (ankle) and David Reed (shoulder), safety Haruki Nakamura (knee), center Matt Birk (knee), guard Ben Grubbs (toe), and defensive end Cory Redding all were held out of practice today.
Evans, who didn't play against the Rams, said that he is improving but it's still too early to know if he'll play Sunday.
Ellerbe did some light jogging today and said that he expects to be a game-time decision Sunday. Smith, who got hurt in the season opener, is no longer wearing a boot on his left foot and he walked through the team's locker room today without a limp. He said that he's hoping to return for the Oct. 16 game against the Houston Texas, which is also the target date Nakamura gave for his return.
Nakamura hurt the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while playing special teams Sunday.
"It was something that didn't even need to happen. It was kind of a cheap shot," Nakamura said. "It had nothing to do with the play. We were 40 yards down the field and the guy pushed me in my back and my knee slammed on the turf. I can deal with injuries, but I can't deal with ignorance … I've already made a lot of progress. You don't want to push the PCL because there is the potential of tearing your ACL. It's not really worth pushing it."