For the first time since returning from a broken foot seven weeks ago, wide receiver Donte' Stallworth was among the Ravens' gameday inactives for yesterday's game against the Saints.
Some in the press box questioned whether Stallworth's deactivation was due to him possibly re-aggravating his foot injury. One reporter said that he might have seen the veteran receiver limping in the Ravens' locker room late in the week.
But, after the game, Stallworth said that wasn't the case. He said he felt perfectly fine, and insisted he was a healthy scratch.
"I'm healthier now than I've been since 2007," Stallworth said. "It was a coach's decision. It was a coach's decision."
The deactivation came at a frustrating time for Stallworth, who was geared up to play against the team that drafted him back in 2002.
Stallworth played four seasons with the Saints after being selected by New Orleans in the first round of the '02 draft, and the normally calm, composed wideout was clearly displeased that he wasn't able to suit up yesterday.
"Well, I'm not going to lie and say I was happy about it," Stallworth said. "Definitely not happy. You always want to play. A game like this, against my former team, the team that I got drafted by, this is the only game I was looking forward to throughout the whole season.
"To not get to play, it's definitely disappointing, but we won the game. That's the most important thing. That was the goal, not whether I was playing."
Stallworth has seen limited playing time since returning from his foot injury mid-way through the season. The speedy eight-year vet has been on the field mostly as the Ravens' fourth wide receiver, and has posted two catches for 82 yards and added four carries for 30 yards this season.
The decision to deactivate him could have been based on special teams ability, as David Reed and Marcus Smith - guys lower than Stallworth on the wide receiver depth chart - can do more on the kick and coverage units.
Stallworth might also have been a part of the Ravens' eight inactives because the coaches knew they would feature more of a run-heavy attack against New Orleans, and wouldn't need to fourth receiver on the field as often.
For his part, Stallworth declined to comment on why he was given the day off.
"I won't get into all that," Stallworth said. "You can talk to the coaches about that."