Copper practicing as if he’ll play

Published 10:35 pm Saturday, January 17, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
It’s been a strange season, to say the least, for Terrance Copper.
He was a regular contributor to the New Orleans Saints the past two seasons, coming up with 38 receptions for 411 yards and five touchdowns. Copper helped lead the Saints to the 2006 NFC Championship Game, where they fell 39-14 to the Chicago Bears.
Despite being a solid contributor at receiver and on special teams, the Saints decided to release Copper — twice.
After the second release on Oct. 27, Copper signed with the Baltimore Ravens two days later. He nearly didn’t try out for the Ravens because he was battling an illness that he caught while with the Saints in London.
While the Saints didn’t qualify for the playoffs this season, Copper’s Ravens (13-5) will play the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4) in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
The game at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field will kick off at 6:30 p.m.
The winner advances to Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1 in Tampa against either the Philadelphia Eagles or Arizona Cardinals.
Though the five-year veteran has appeared in only two games since joining the Ravens, Copper continues to practice as if he’ll be playing each Sunday. He had one special teams tackle in a 41-13 victory over the Houston Texans on Nov. 9, but Copper injured his neck and was forced to miss a handful of games while recovering.
Copper also played in a 27-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the regular-season finale.
When Copper was with the Saints, the team generally dressed six receivers. He played in 17 games in 2006 (including two playoff games) and 15 in 2007.
The Ravens usually dress just four receivers. Copper doesn’t know if he’s playing until some two hours before kickoff.
Copper is hoping he can help contribute Sunday, and hopes the Ravens can take that next step to the Super Bowl.