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Ex-Colts will take bows in pre-game ceremonies Unitas, Moore, Donovan among links with past
Fans may not yet know all the Ravens, but there will be no lack of faces familiar to Baltimore football fans when the NFL officially returns here Sunday.
Ceremonies before the opener against the Oakland Raiders will feature about 50 former Colts players and the Baltimore Colts' Band. After the ex-Colts are introduced, Ravens players will run between lines formed by the Colts and the marching band.
In addition, a "mystery guest" will present the game ball to referee Dale Hamer.
Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, Art Donovan, John Mackey and Bert Jones are among former Colts expected to attend. Ted Hendricks, who played for the Raiders after starting his career as a Colt, also will participate.
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue is not expected to attend.
Ceremonies are scheduled to start at 12: 40 p.m.
Opening weekend festivities will begin Saturday night at Harborplace with "Celebrate the Return," a concert and fireworks show starting at 7 p.m. Ravens owner Art Modell, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Gov. Parris N. Glendening and some players will attend.
The biggest question mark for the Ravens entering the season is at tight end, where Frank Hartley's knee injury may force him to miss the opener.
The team has been in contact with free agents Eric Green and Johnny Mitchell, but if no move is made, the team may start the season with only two tight ends.
Starter Brian Kinchen and backup Harold Bishop are healthy but, despite Kinchen's solid preseason, coach Ted Marchibroda apparently isn't convinced either one is the permanent answer.
Green's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said yesterday that he expected negotiations to begin with the Ravens and Miami Dolphins. Both clubs would like to sign Green for a minimum contract.
The Ravens also had been interested in tight end Tyji Armstrong, who was cut Sunday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported today that he has agreed to terms with the Dallas Cowboys.
Accolades for linebackers
A big concern for Marchibroda going into training camp was at linebacker, but that situation has played out to the coach's liking.
"[Mike] Croel has played fine football," he said. "Jerrol Williams has come along. Craig Powell and Mike Caldwell have played well. Ray Lewis has progressed even faster than what we had thought. I guess I've mentioned them all. They've all played well."
Two top picks to start
Lewis and left guard Jonathan Ogden, first-round draft picks just four months ago, will both start Sunday.
Neither is fazed at the prospect of playing in his first NFL game.
"I don't look at it like that," Lewis said. "A game is a game to me. I'm just going to go out there and do my job."
Ogden, the team's first pick and fourth overall, said: "I've improved every game in the preseason. . . . I think we both have the same confidence that we both feel we deserve to be out there."
The Raiders will have a different look Sunday.
Starting quarterback Jeff Hostetler will not play because of a knee injury, and wide receiver Rocket Ismail was traded to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Two weeks ago, defensive coordinator John Fox resigned.
Billy Joe Hobert will start in place of Hostetler.