Ravens reach No. 1 goal Signing Lewis, Ogden for camp was priority

July 15, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens' two first-round draft picks will be on hand for the team's first full day of training camp tomorrow, and one of them will make it to town a day early.

University of Miami linebacker Ray Lewis, whom the Ravens have projected as their starter in the middle, is expected to sign a five-year contract here today. Lewis, Baltimore's second pick and the 26th player drafted overall, has agreed to a five-year deal that includes a $1.3 million signing bonus and is worth nearly $5 million overall.

"I'm happy with the deal. Both sides got what they wanted," said Drew Rosenhaus, Lewis' agent. "It allows Ray to get a quality contract, and it gives the team the chance to stay under the salary cap. From Day One, the Ravens were reasonable."

The Ravens are counting on Lewis, 6 feet 1, 225 pounds, to fill the hole left by 10-year veteran Pepper Johnson, who was released last week. The Ravens have expressed an interest in re-signing Johnson, who will visit the Philadelphia Eagles today. Lewis missed the team's two-week rookie orientation in June.

"When Pepper was released, I got the impression that it became very important for them to get Ray signed and into camp on time," Rosenhaus said. "It definitely put some steam in their stride."

UCLA offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden, the Ravens' No. 1 pick, is close to signing a seven-year deal that includes a $6.5 million signing bonus and a 1996 base salary of $750,000 that will increase by nearly $187,500 in each year of his contract.

Ogden, the fourth player drafted overall who is projected as the starting left guard, will not join rookies today in reporting to Western Maryland College. He has been given permission by head coach Ted Marchibroda to report tomorrow, when practice begins.

"He's out on the West Coast, and everything [regarding contract negotiations] happened so quickly," Marchibroda said. "My standpoint is I'd rather have him come in with his head clear and ready to go, rather than rush in here."

The Ravens are still negotiating with their five other draft picks-- DeRon Jenkins, the cornerback selected in the second round out of Tennessee, University of Maryland wide receiver Jermaine Lewis (fifth round), Florida linebacker Dexter Daniels (sixth), Norfolk State wide receiver James Roe (sixth) and Trinity International quarterback Jon Stark (seventh).

The Ravens sent a counterproposal yesterday to Ray Anderson, the agent for Jermaine Lewis.

"They called last Monday and said, until they get Jon Ogden and Ray Lewis done, everything else is on hold," Anderson said. "It appears there is finally some urgency to get this done."

Scott Pioli, a pro personnel assistant with the Ravens, said: "The main thing is we have agreements with our two first-round picks, two guys who are rated No. 1 on our depth chart. We had to get those guys into camp on time. Things will start falling into place soon with the rest of our picks."

Ozzie Newsome, the director of football operations, also said the team is close to reaching one-year agreements with free-agent linebackers Mike Croel and Jerrol Williams. Newsome said they could be signed by tomorrow.

NOTES: Six thousand individual game tickets for the Ravens' two preseason games at Memorial Stadium will go on sale Saturday. Beginning at 9 a.m., fans can buy tickets at Memorial Stadium, at TicketMaster outlets or by calling (800) 551-SEAT, (410) 481-SEAT or (202) 432-SEAT. The same policy applies for regular-season tickets, which go on sale Aug. 10.

FACTS ON 1996 RAVEN'S TRAINING CAMP

Where: Western Maryland College in Westminster. The private, liberal arts college (1,250 enrollment) was the training camp home of the Baltimore Colts from 1956-1971.

Directions from Baltimore: Take I-695 to Exit 19 onto I-795 North to its end. Follow signs to Westminster via Route 140 North around Westminster and turn left, exiting onto Route 31. Follow signs to Route 97 North. Turn left on exit ramp onto Pennsylvania Avenue. Go about 1 mile and turn left at Monroe Street. Turn right at Winters Alley. Parking lot is on left.

When: Rookies and selected veterans report today at 5 p.m. Veterans report Thursday at 4 p.m.

Practices: Start tomorrow and run through Thursday, Aug. 15. All are free and open to public. Times are from 9 a.m.-11: 30 a.m. and 2: 30-5 p.m. There will be no open practices on the following dates: Aug. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11. There will be no morning session on the following dates: July 21 and 28; Aug. 5, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

Seating: Bleacher seats at practice fields. Lawn chairs and blankets suggested for weekends only.

Parking: None available on campus on weekdays. Off-campus lot on Monroe Street.

Shuttle: Available from Cranberry Mall (Rt. 140).

Seating: Bleacher seats at practice fields. Lawn chairs and blankets recommended for weekends only.

Lodging, restaurants: Information available at Carroll County tourism booth or by calling (410) 848-1388 or (800) 272-1933.

Souvenirs: Available at Western Maryland College book store "on the field" or in Decker College Center (Monday-Friday, 8: 30 a.m. to 4: 30 p.m.).

Autographs: Fans are invited to get autographs from players after each practice session.

What to bring: Pens for autographs, camera, binoculars, sun screen, hat. Shoe and shirts must be worn.

What NOT to bring: Camcorders, pets, alcohol, cans or bottles.

Hotline: Call 1-888-9RAVENS for up-to-date practice times, directions, parking details and other information.

Pub Date: 7/15/96

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