By ERNEST HOOPER and JOHN ROMANO
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 19, 2001
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The league fined defensive tackle Tony Siragusa $10,000 for unnecessarily slamming Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon to the ground and landing on top of him Sunday.
Siragusa's second-quarter hit in the Ravens' 16-3 AFC title game win aggravated a shoulder injury Gannon suffered on a sack by Michael McCrary on the Raiders' first possession. Gannon left the game after Siragusa's hit, then briefly returned in the second half but was ineffective.
The league fined linebacker Ray Lewis $7,500 last week for a hit to the chest on Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair in Baltimore's 24-10 divisional-round playoff win Jan. 7.
No flags were thrown on either play.
HERE'S THE PLAN: Coach Brian Billick said he is implementing the game plan this week so the team will be "mentally prepared" to play Sunday, a week before Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.
After three days off, the team will go without pads and focus on mental preparation instead of hard practices. Billick said the team is not likely to have a physical practice until Wednesday in Tampa.
"We've got a good plan. We've had this plan in since the middle of November, and they've seen it, they know what it is," Billick said. "They know what the routine is going to be.
"The key for us, still, this week is to get our legs back, to rest and yet still get some practice done. We laid it out for them. Right now they've got to come out of these three days as though mentally we're going to play the game this Sunday."
Tight end Shannon Sharpe, who played in Super Bowls for Denver in 1997 and '98, said the early game-plan approach is what the Broncos used in their back-to-back championship seasons.
"I think that gives you the best opportunity because here is the least amount of distractions," Sharpe said. "Once you get the ticket requests and the hotel requests out of the way, all the distractions are over with. You're in your natural environment, you come to practice, you come to work like you normally do during the course of the year. Once you get down there, the schedule is all off."
REQUEST LINE: Receiver Jermaine Lewis had a difficult time handling media interviews. Not only was his cell phone ringing about every two minutes, he also had to keep an eye on son J.J., who was in the locker room.
"My phone has really been ringing back to back, all day, people congratulating me and people wanting tickets stuff," Lewis said.
Lewis is happy that his wife, Imara, can deal with the requests.
"She's helping prepare people going down there and tickets and all of that. That's why J.J. is here, because she's taking care of business up there," Lewis said.