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Troubled Raven Morris Practices

November 26, 1997

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) _ Baltimore Ravens running back Bam Morris rejoined the team on the practice field Wednesday, a day after pleading innocent in a Texas court to charges he violated his 1996 probation on a marijuana conviction.

Although Morris won’t be tried until January, ensuring that the Ravens’ leading rusher will finish the season with the team, head coach Ted Marchibroda doesn’t seem to have changed his mind about starting a rookie in Morris’ place.

Marchibroda gave strong indications that Jay Graham will start provided that an injury to his left ankle heals in time. That would give the rookie out of Tennessee his third straight start ahead of Morris, though the four-year veteran is expected to see significant playing time.

Graham ran full speed in practice and said the ankle felt significantly better.

Morris wouldn’t talk about Tuesday’s hearing in Rockwall County, Texas.

State District Judge Sue Pirtle scheduled a Jan. 12 trial to consider whether the 25-year-old running back’s probation should be revoked because of allegations he assaulted a woman in Maryland, drank alcohol and failed to report to his probation officer seven times.

Pirtle could sentence Morris to up to 10 years’ imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine for the drug conviction. The judge also could choose to place Morris back on probation.

With the Ravens already struggling on offense, players said losing Morris would have been a devastating blow.

``It’s a relief,″ wide receiver Michael Jackson said. ``It’s unfortunate that we’re kind of out of contention for playoffs, but just to have him back there takes added pressure off of a lot of other positions.″

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