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Ivy returns to Ravens to help bolster injury-stricken secondary

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Corey Ivy has a unique perspective on the rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After spending the previous three seasons in Baltimore and one game this season in Pittsburgh, Ivy returned to the Ravens' roster just in time for Sunday's pivotal AFC North showdown.

"In this game, you never know what's going to happen," Ivy said Wednesday, one day after being re-signed following a tryout that also included former St. Louis Rams cornerback Travis Fisher. "You have to be ready whenever your number is called. Hopefully, you can come in and contribute. It's been a whirlwind, but that's part of the NFL, and you just have to take it in stride."

Ivy, 32, is regarded as a physical special-teams contributor and a savvy backup defensive back. Undersized at 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, Ivy has 209 career tackles, 9.5 sacks, three interceptions, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery to go with his 97 special-teams tackles.

"He understands how to play in the slot as a nickel in our defense, knows the calls, knows the structure, knows how we pattern reads," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about Ivy. "Plus he's in great shape."

The Ravens (8-6) have intercepted eight passes in their past three games. However, the improving secondary's depth will face a severe test trying to shut down Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a receiving corps that features Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace and tight end Heath Miller.

Roethlisberger piled up a franchise-record 503 passing yards during last weekend's dramatic victory over the Green Bay Packers, throwing his third touchdown pass to Wallace for the game-winner.

Harbaugh confirmed that Chris Carr will start at cornerback in the wake of rookie starter Lardarius Webb being placed on injured reserve this week with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Frank Walker is slated to fill in behind Carr in nickel duty, as is Ivy.

"It's just exciting to be out there," Carr said. "I've been out there a lot all season, playing corner and nickel, but I'll just be out there the whole time. I feel like the more time I'm out there, the more plays I'm going to make. I'm very confident in my capabilities."

Carr emphasized that the Ravens aren't intimidated by Roethlisberger, who didn't play in the Steelers' loss earlier this season in Baltimore because of a concussion.

"I played against Ben Roethlisberger before when I was with Oakland," Carr said. "We know he's good and we know he's capable. I think Ben played a great game, but the Packers didn't play so well. We're very confident if we play well, we think we can do a lot of things against him."

The Ravens might have to accomplish that goal without the services of free safety Ed Reed, who has missed the past three games with a hip injury. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year went to see a hip specialist in Coral Gables, Fla., on Wednesday for a second opinion.

Reed also has a foot injury and a chronic nerve impingement of his neck and shoulder.

"We just want to exhaust every precaution to make sure that our guys are healthy and they're ready to go," Harbaugh said. "Ed has confidence in Dr. (John) Uribe down there in Miami, and we just want to take a look at it and see where it is. We feel like he's making progress and know there's a chance he'll play. We'll know more, though, when he gets back."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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