© St. Petersburg Times, published July 7, 2002
Chris Redman knows the most talked about number for him will be three. As in, he has thrown three passes in the NFL, a fact he's going to have to overcome if he is to convince Ravens fans he truly deserves to be the starting quarterback.
With Elvis Grbac gone, Redman virtually has been handed the starting job, much to the dismay of many in Baltimore who wonder if this kid really has the goods to make it in the league.
Sure, he was awesome in college, throwing for 12,541 yards, the third-most in NCAA history. And yes, he has had two years of learning as a backup on the Ravens. But there must be a reason why he wasn't drafted until the third round, right?
Despite the skepticism that surrounds him, Redman maintains he is more than up to the challenge.
"I'm ready for it. I really am," he said. "After two years waiting and learning, I'm ready for this. At first, I was a little overwhelmed. It's a lot different when you are the guy. But as things went on, I got a lot more comfortable in that role. I understand that things are a lot different now."
Coach Brian Billick said the key for Redman is to not overdo it.
"The thing we have to instill in him is that this is a young team and he doesn't have to do it all. That's the natural thing for a young quarterback," he said. "He has to know that he doesn't have to make the big play every play. He doesn't need to put more on his shoulders than he has to."
STARTING OVER: Word out of Washington is that ex-Bucs receiver Jacquez Green has looked good in minicamps and is a strong bet to win a starting job alongside Rod Gardner.
Green's situation was helped by Michael Westbrook's recent departure to Cincinnati. Reidel Anthony, another former Buc, apparently is fighting for one of the final receiver spots.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Among the many intriguing games scheduled, the Packers-Patriots game on Oct. 13 ought to be a doozy.
That will be ex-Patriots receiver Terry Glenn's first trip back to New England, where he left a troubled past (drugs, contract disputes, etc.) before signing this offseason with Green Bay. Even Glenn is looking forward to the game.
"It's going to be a game like none other," he said. "The Patriot fans (will) try to hurt my feeling by calling me Druggie. They'll have their signs. They're going to give it to me. And I've got to make sure to give it back to them."
DID YOU KNOW?: The FBI put stadium officials with the Rams and Colts on alert last week because of a possible July 4 terrorist threat.
Federal authorities said they learned people with ties to terrorist groups downloaded images of the Rams' and Colts' domed stadiums, leaving FBI officials to believe those facilities might be targets.
FBI officials, however, said "there was no specific threat" to either stadium.
DID YOU KNOW, II?: The Raiders, Rams, Bucs, Steelers, Eagles and Patriots, among others, are expected to be the top contenders for the Super Bowl. But the Steelers might have the inside track.
With the exception of the Texans, who have no shot at the title, the Steelers have the easiest schedule. Their opponents were a combined 110-130 and just five had winning records last season.
Another good bet would be the Packers, who did some slight retooling this offseason and have the league's fifth-easiest schedule.
Of course, teams typically don't perform the same from year to year (Okay, I'll give you the Panthers). For instance, the Patriots were 5-11 in 2000 but won the Super Bowl last season.
WHO WOULD LIKE A PAY CUT?: The Ravens, wracked by salary-cap problems, are trying to persuade some of their stars to restructure their contracts to free up some money. Tops on their list are linebackers Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware.
Not surprisingly, neither has been eager to give up any money.
-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.