Williams catches the interest of Ravens Ex-Dunbar star available after being cut by Eagles

July 02, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore Ravens have expressed preliminary interest in signing Calvin Williams, a former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver who starred at Dunbar High School.

Williams, 29, was cut last week after seven seasons with the Eagles. He became expendable during the off-season after the Eagles signed receivers Mark Seay of the San Diego Chargers, Mark Ingram of the Green Bay Packers and Irving Fryar of the Miami Dolphins. Williams was expected to make $1.3 million in salary this season.

The Ravens are hoping to sign either Williams or Floyd Turner, an unrestricted free agent receiver from the Indianapolis Colts, before camp opens July 15.

Turner played for Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda the past two seasons in Indianapolis.

"We like them both," said Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president who runs the team's football operations. "We've always had interest in Turner, but the development with Williams has drawn our attention also."

Williams or Turner would probably compete for the No. 3 and No. 4 receiving slots since the Ravens seem set on Michael Jackson JTC and Andre Rison as the starters.

Both Williams and Turner have similar styles. Neither possess great speed, but both have good hands and the ability to make tough catches in crucial situations.

Turner, 30, had 35 receptions for 431 yards and four touchdowns last season. He had 52 catches for 593 yards and six touchdowns in 1994.

Williams led the Eagles in receptions last season with 63 (a career high) for 768 yards and two touchdowns. Williams, a former Purdue standout, has 293 career catches compared to 211 for Turner, but the Ravens' final decision might be based on finances and familiarity.

Turner, whose is represented by Marchibroda's son, Ted Jr., made only $300,000 in base salary last season compared to $1 million for Williams. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals are also interested in Williams, who will visit the Jaguars today. During the last week, the Colts have stepped up efforts to re-sign Turner.

"Baltimore has expressed an interest but nothing beyond that," said Ed Sewell, Williams' agent. "They haven't invited him in for a visit, and we haven't discussed any money. I expect some things to happen next week, though."

Baltimore is handicapped in the free-agent race because the team is only $15,000 under the salary cap. Newsome would also like to sign free agent running back Gary Brown and linebackers Mike Croel or Gerald Williams, but the team is in the middle of restructuring three contracts, according to Newsome.

Newsome would not specify the players, but the three are wide receiver Andre Rison, safety Stevon Moore and cornerback Don Griffin.

"We're still trying to create some room," Newsome said. "We're in the 11th hour of our plan. We'll do something soon."

Pub Date: 7/02/96

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