Turner finds way to Ravens Week of uncertainty ends for wide receiver

July 21, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

During lunchtime yesterday at Western Maryland College, Floyd Turner, the Ravens' newest wide receiver, looked lost.

"Do you know if or when the shuttle comes by here?" said Turner, as he lounged outside the school cafeteria, where many of his teammates were getting their fill before the Ravens' afternoon practice. "I don't even know my way back to the dorm."

It has been that kind of week for Turner, who spent his first day of practice with the team he signed a one-year contract with as an unrestricted free agent 11 days ago.

That simple transaction turned into an odyssey. After signing with Baltimore, Turner became caught in the middle of a procedural gaffe by the Ravens, who failed to notify the league officially of the deal by the July 15 deadline. The NFL maintained that his rights reverted to his old team, the Indianapolis Colts, who had tendered him an earlier offer.

For several days, the league's management council and the players' union fought over the issue, before the NFL finally gave Turner permission to report to the Ravens late Friday.

Turner had arrived in Baltimore on Thursday, only to be told to stay put at a Baltimore-area hotel. He could not report to the Ravens, and he was not allowed to talk to any coaches or management from Baltimore or Indianapolis.

Over the next two days, Turner watched four movies in his room, ordered some room service, ventured out occasionally to eat, worked out at the hotel, and took calls from friends and some good-natured ribbing from his former Colts teammates. At least he hoped they were former teammates.

"I'm sitting there thinking, OK, I left Indy a week ago, but today I could be headed back to Indy. I don't think going back to Indy would have been a pretty picture," said Turner, an eight-year veteran. "I couldn't believe it. I've never heard of anything like this in my life. There's a first time for everything, I guess."

Yesterday was his first in a Ravens uniform. Training camp never looked so good to Turner, who said he needs about three or four practices to shed his rust.

"I'm just glad to get it going, instead of sitting in a hotel room waiting for someone to make a decision on where I'm going to play," he said.

"I'm glad this is behind us now," team owner Art Modell said. "We were remiss in not making a timely filing, but that should not deprive him of playing where he wants to play. We were ready to go to the mat with Indianapolis on it."

Said teammate and fellow receiver Michael Jackson: "After what we've been through in Cleveland, I couldn't believe it [Turner's arrival] until it actually happened. You never know what the NFL is going to do. I'm glad to see him. After watching him over the years, I feel like he's someone who can really help this team."

At 5 feet 11, 199 pounds, Turner brings experience in the slot position, dependable hands, and adds depth to a receiver corps that includes the recently signed Calvin Williams. Originally drafted by New Orleans in 1989, Turner had his best back-to-back seasons under coach Ted Marchibroda in 1994 and 1995 with the Colts. Over those two years, Turner caught 87 passes for 1,024 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has averaged 13.4 yards per catch for his career.

"I made a lot of plays for Ted, and I love his offense. Anytime you're winning, you want to stick with a winning team or a winning person," said Turner, who looks forward to working with rookies like Jermaine Lewis and James Roe. "I bring a sense of leadership, I work hard and I make the big play.

"I see they have some good receivers here. My goal is to make a major contribution to this team, not to watch someone else play."

Ravens schedule

Preseason

Date .... .... .... Opponent .... .... Time

Aug. 3 ..... ..... Philadelphia ..... 7: 30 p.m.

Aug. 10 ..... ..... at N.Y. Giants ....1 p.m.

Aug. 17 ..... ..... Green Bay .... ... 7 p.m.

Aug. 23 ..... ..... at Buffalo ... ... 7: 30 p.m.

Regular season

Sept. 1 ..... ..... Oakland ...... ... 1 p.m.

Sept. 8 .... ...... at Pittsburgh .... 1 p.m.

Sept. 15 .... ..... at Houston ... ... 1 p.m.

Sept. 22 ..... .... Bye ..... .... ...

Sept. 29 .... ..... New Orleans .. ... 1 p.m.

Oct. 6 ...... ..... New England ... .. 1 p.m.

Oct. 13 .... ...... at Indianapolis .. 8 p.m.

Oct. 20 .... ...... at Denver ... .... 4 p.m.

Oct. 27 ..... ..... St. Louis .... ... 1 p.m.

Nov. 3 ...... ..... Cincinnati ... ... 1 p.m.

Nov. 10 .... ...... at Jacksonville .. 4 p.m.

Nov. 17 .... ...... at San Francisco .. 4 p.m.

Nov. 24 .... ...... Jacksonville ... .. 1 p.m.

Dec. 1 .... ....... Pittsburgh .... ... 1 p.m.

Dec. 8 ..... .... at Cincinnati ... .. 1 p.m.

Dec. 15 .... ..... at Carolina ... .... 1 p.m.

Dec. 22 .... ..... Houston ...... ..... 1 p.m.

Ravens camp

Where: Western Maryland College, Westminster

Practices: Run through Aug. 15. All are free and open to the public. Times are from 9 a.m. to 11: 30 a.m. and 2: 30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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