Notes: Barnes Still Off IR

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One week after it seemed pass-rushing linebacker Antwan Barnes was slated to become the Ravens' 20th Injured Reserve casualty, he may still have a chance to play this year.

Barnes is suffering from a strained left pectoral muscle sustained two weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys.

The 2007 fourth-round draft pick has neither practiced nor played since and had his left arm in a sling for much of that time.

It was originally thought that Barnes would remain out for the season, but head coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the Ravens hold out hope the Florida International product can participate in the playoffs.

"Antwan Barnes, we're going to take a shot at trying to get him back," Harbaugh explained. "We feel like there's a chance we can get Antwan back. There were some different tests done over the last weekend, and we're hopeful that we can get Antwan back."

If Barnes would hit IR, the Ravens would tie the Jacksonville Jaguars for most players on IR in the league, after wideout Marcus Maxwell earned the designation Tuesday with a hip injury.

Additionally, the operative word was "hopeful" when Harbaugh discussed starting cornerback Fabian Washington and rookie running back Ray Rice.

Washington was a game-day inactive with a toe injury, allowing Frank Walker to notch his fifth start of the year.

Rice has been held out the past two games with a deep bruise on his left shin, although he returned to practice last week.

"We're hopeful [for Washington]," Harbaugh said. "I don't know if we can expect it, but we're hopeful that he'll be there.

"I was hoping Ray Rice would be back last week and the week before, so we'll continue to hope that he'll be back this week."

Ryan Calling

In the wake of recent coaching changes across the league, Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan's name has inevitably been placed in the rumor mill. Last season, Ryan interviewed for head coaching positions with Baltimore, the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins, and after a stellar run of defensive production for the Ravens, Ryan is thought to be a candidate to head other teams.

Harbaugh admitted that he and Ryan have spoken about the situation as the Ravens prepare for a playoff matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

"Rex Ryan is going to be a great head coach in the NFL, without a doubt," Harbaugh said. "He's got all the talent, all the ability to do it. I'm hoping Rex Ryan is here for many, many years to come, and maybe that's been part of our conversation.

"But, whatever happens, happens. I know one thing: His focus right now is squarely and securely on the Miami Dolphins."

Eagles Love

Harbaugh spent 10 years of his coaching career in Philadelphia, leading the Eagles' special teams and secondary.

That is why he isn't surprised why the Eagles rallied to go from the playoff bubble to contenders with a strong finish to the season.

"I'm not surprised after they had a down stretch, because we said that's a resilient football team," the coach stated. "No one is going to be surprised if they're in the Super Bowl. That's the kind of team that the Eagles are. I feel good about them, and I'm glad for Andy Reid and those guys. That's a great accomplishment."

Notable

Members of the Ravens groundskeeping crew visited City Hall and Federal Hill to stencil the Ravens birdhead logo on the available grass at each location Tuesday for playoff rallies. … If the 2009 NFL Draft began today, the Ravens would pick 27th, because their .521 regular season winning percentage is better than three other 11-5 teams. The final draft order is subject to the playoffs. … In addition to Ryan, Harbaugh praised his coaching staff, which is regarded as one of the league's best. I think we have the best staff in the National Football League and it's top to bottom and sideways," he said. "We take great pride in our coaches, and I know our players will tell you the same thing." … Baltimore's 2009 opponents have been released. The Ravens will play Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Chicago and Detroit at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens will travel to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland as members of the AFC North, while also going to Oakland, San Diego, New England Patriots, Green Bay and Minnesota. The full schedule is expected to be released in mid-April.

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