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McGahee Expected to Run


The Ravens did pretty well with a ground game that featured Ray Rice and Le'Ron McClain last week, racking up 229 total yards in the regular season opener.

Now, Willis McGahee wants in on the action.

After recovering from an arthroscopic knee surgery he had in training camp, McGahee is slated to take his first game reps of the year this weekend when the Ravens take on the Houston Texans.

"It gets better every day, so I can't complain," McGahee said Wednesday before practice.

The Pro Bowl running back has been itching to get back on the field, a feeling that intensified during the Ravens' 17-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

With an offensive line manhandling the Cincinnati front, Rice and McClain sliced through the defense for a stellar performance. The Ravens' 229 yards were sixth-best in franchise history. Their 46 rush attempts were second-most in team annals.

Even though it was unexpected, McGahee fully dressed for action last Sunday, expecting to be used in an emergency role. But remaining a spectator was certainly a tough task.

"I didn't think it was going to be as frustrating as it was at first," McGahee said. "But you know, once the game started and the offense was looking good – we scored one touchdown and were moving the ball on the defense – and I was feeding off the defense alone.

"It was tough that I had to go sit down on the bench and not look at the game. You've got to keep it calm, keep it calm."

Rejoining practice nine days ago for the first time since he had the surgery Aug. 11, McGahee, who totaled 1,483 total yards (11th in the NFL) in 2007, has worked hard to make it back for Week 2.

"I think Willis was inspired by the effort of our football team, sure, and he was definitely part of it, as far as his preparation during the week," said head coach John Harbaugh.

McGahee spent most of the game close to his coaches on the sideline, hoping for the slight chance he could enter the feeding frenzy.

"I tried once, but he was like, 'We're only going to use you if something happens,'" he laughed. "I was like, 'Oh man.' So, I just had to sit back and pace."

Considering how his knee feels now, McGahee is thankful for that extra week of recovery.

"I think it was worthwhile not playing last week," McGahee said. "That was the smart thing to do, just go out there and rest, because I really wanted to get out on the field. But you know they did a smart thing as far as resting me.

"I'm pleased with the situation that they did for me."

Heading into the Texans matchup, the chance to take a backfield with the diminutive and shifty Rice, the powerful and bruising McClain, and the multi-dimensional McGahee can only help rookie quarterback Joe Flacco in Houston's hostile Reliant Stadium.

"I look at it as, we're going to be the workhorse of the offense, take some of the pressure off of Flacco," McGahee said. "He's doing a great job. He's another one that showed good character and good poise in that game."

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