Ravens will start Heisman winner Smith

Dec 20, 2007 - 8:23 PM BALTIMORE (Ticker) -- Rookie quarterback Troy Smith will make his first career start Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Seattle Seahawks.

With starter Kyle Boller still feeling the effects from a concussion suffered during Sunday's loss to Miami, Ravens coach Brian Billick has decided to go with the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner.

"He's as ready as you're going to be as a rookie," Billick told the Baltimore Sun following Thursday's practice. "One thing I don't worry about is that he has a strong personality. You worry what happens if things get ugly with him and pressures ... But he will fight through whatever happens. He's a very strong-willed young man."

Boller was knocked out of Sunday's 22-16 overtime loss after being hit by Miami defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday in the fourth quarter.

Smith replaced him and went 5-of-11 for 41 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

Along the way, the 23-year-old orchestrated a 59-yard drive to set up a game-tying field goal in the final seconds of regulation.

In overtime, Smith moved the Ravens (4-10) into position for a potential game-winning field goal, but Matt Stover's 44-yard attempt went wide left.

Miami (1-13) won its first game of the season moments later when Greg Camarillo turned a short completion into a 64-yard touchdown.

A fifth-round draft pick in April, Smith's only other action this season came a week earlier in mop-up duty during a 44-20 loss in Indianapolis. He finished 3-of-5 for 33 yards, running for a late TD.

"Hopefully, I'll be comfortable (if I start)," Smith told the Sun on Wednesday. "I can't see into the future. I'm definitely trying to prepare in an even-keel manner."

It is not yet clear if Boller will be the Ravens' backup Sunday at Seattle (9-5). If he can't play, the Ravens are expected promote undrafted rookie Cullen Finnerty from the practice squad.






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