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Ravens face their old friend

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 30, 2002

BALTIMORE -- He has accounted for 83 yards on eight receptions, has yet to score a touchdown and last week went without a catch.

At 34, tight end Shannon Sharpe is no longer Denver's go-to guy. Yet no Bronco will receive more attention, or trash talk, from the Ravens tonight.

Sharpe expects a friendly reception from former teammates and the fans who cheered wildly for him the past two seasons, which included a Super Bowl win in January, 2001.

"If they introduce the offense and I go out there, they would probably cheer," he said. "But I don't really foresee them cheering and carrying on if I were to do something good."

The Broncos seek their first 4-0 start since 1998. The rebuilding Ravens are looking for their first win of the season at the expense of an old friend.

"I'm sure we'll be messing with each other," Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis said with a wry grin.

Sharpe put up Hall of Fame numbers and won two Super Bowl rings with the Broncos from 1990-98 before signing as a free agent with Baltimore before the 2000 season.

Last season Sharpe ranked second on the Ravens in receptions and Baltimore again reached the playoffs.

But after losing to Pittsburgh in the second round, the Ravens began a salary-cap driven purge that forced them to sever ties with Sharpe and several other outstanding veterans.

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