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Jets’ Testaverde To Face Ravens

August 14, 1998

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ Vinny Testaverde couldn’t have timed it any better. His first start for the New York Jets will come against the team that dropped him earlier this year, the Baltimore Ravens, in an NFL exhibition game Saturday.

Testaverde was released by Baltimore and signed as a free agent with the Jets, ostensibly as a backup for Glenn Foley. He’s looked sharp in practice, so sharp that coach Bill Parcells is eager to see the 12-year veteran work with the first team.

``I just want to see how Vinny manages the team and the game,″ Parcells said. ``It’s no big deal. Teams do this around the league all the time.

``I’d like to see him against better guys than I saw him against last week. That’s the main reason.″

The main reason the Ravens cut Testaverde was his penchant for making bad decisions, something that has plagued him throughout his checkered NFL career. Parcells likes experienced quarterbacks, but won’t tolerate the kind of mistakes Testaverde too often commits.

He’s looking for a new Testaverde. So the coach wants to find out just what he has in Testaverde, and the timing is just coincidental.

``This is not out of curiosity,″ Parcells said of the move to showcase Testaverde, 34. ``This is to get him reps with the first group. I think I’ve got to give this guy a chance to play with the better guys _ what we think are the better guys.″

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda downplays the presence of Testaverde as the opposing quarterback.

``We’re just playing the Jets,″ he said. ``We’re not there to play Vinny.″

The Ravens come off an impressive offensive performance in a 19-14 win against Chicago. They gained 197 yards rushing, led by Errict Rhett with 63. Jim Harbaugh, taking over for Testaverde, completed 10 of 13 passes for 60 yards and rushed twice for 28 yards while playing the first three offensive series.

``For the first time since I’ve been here, we dominated a team both offensively and defensively,″ Marchibroda said.

For New York, Foley missed six of his first eight passes in a 29-15 victory over Philadelphia before going 4-for-5 in a touchdown drive. Testaverde was 7-for-11 for 94 yards with a 12-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Blake Spence.

``I want to play and appreciate every chance to get in there,″ Testaverde said. ``I came here to contribute to the Jets in any way I can.″

Parcells also will get his first look at high-priced free agent Curtis Martin at running back. Martin is recovered from a slight hamstring pull.

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