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Ravens moving main practice to grass

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Unhappy with the hard artificial turf at Tulane University's baseball field, the Baltimore Ravens will hold their main practice Thursday at the Saints' facility instead.

The San Francisco 49ers, their opponent in Sunday's Super Bowl, already are training at the Saints' complex in nearby Metairie.

Because Tulane has broken ground on a new football stadium, the AFC champions were forced to practice in the outfield of the baseball facility Wednesday. Coach John Harbaugh, star linebacker Ray Lewis and several other players said it was ``hard on the legs.''

After the Ravens approached the league about practicing on grass, the NFL arranged for them to follow the 49ers at the Saints training fields. But Baltimore will hold a walkthrough at Tulane first.

``It's a baseball field, it's really tight, and when you stop and start, you feel it,'' Lewis said. ``It's especially tough for the older guys. I know the other players, on that hard surface, they feel it.

``I don't think (the NFL) thought it would be a problem. The last thing you want is anything that makes your players ache. You want to do the opposite.''

As part of the preparation at Tulane, the baseball field was tested to measure the hardness of the surface. The readings were within the acceptable range for NFL fields, but the Ravens weren't comfortable.

They also were working on a makeshift 80-yard field, although another area was available for the kickers.

And they had no indoor field to work on as the 49ers did. The Ravens practiced in wind gusts up to 24 mph on Wednesday.

Tulane has begun tearing down the regular practice field, where the new stadium will go. While Super Bowl planning has been under way for three years, Tulane's construction timeline was uncertain as the school cleared bureaucratic hurdles until recently.

Both Super Bowl teams have worked out at the same venue before.

In 2004 in Houston, the Panthers and Patriots both used the Texans' training facility.


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