With Pro Bowl past, trimmer Brown may be in Ravens' future at RB

June 14, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Free-agent running back Gary Brown could be in the Ravens' plans, especially after team officials got a look at the former Pro Bowl player.

Brown, 26, who was hampered by weight and knee problems during his first five years with the Houston Oilers -- including a 1,000-yard season in 1993 -- made a good impression, first by passing his physical on Wednesday.

"He seems very eager to prove that he belongs in this league, that going to the Pro Bowl three years ago was not an aberration," said Ravens director of football operations Ozzie Newsome. "He's got his weight down. He's very close to his playing weight. He wants the ball 15 to 20 times a game. It was a very good visit."

Brown, 5 feet 11, 235 pounds, was released by Houston after rushing for 293 yards and no touchdowns in 10 games last year. He missed six games with a left knee injury brought on by excessive weight. He played most of last season at around 240 pounds.

Drafted out of Penn State by the Oilers in 1991, Brown made the Pro Bowl in 1993, when he started only eight games, yet rushed for 1,002 yards, including a 194-yard effort against the Cleveland Browns. He played that year at 222 pounds.

Over the next two years, Brown's productivity dropped while his weight rose. Brown's agent, Howard Shatsky, said "three or four" other teams are looking at his client, and that Brown likes the idea of challenging veteran Leroy Hoard for the featured back role in coach Ted Marchibroda's one-back offense.

Shatsky said Brown made "well over a million dollars" in 1995, but is willing to take a "drastic reduction" to play for the Ravens.

As of now, the Ravens cannot afford to sign Brown, since they are only about $15,000 under the salary cap. The minimum salary for a five-year veteran is $275,000.

Pub Date: 6/14/96

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