Ex-Bills fullback Gardner is signed Veteran of 4 Super Bowls will help special teams, too


July 21, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens signed free-agent fullback Carwell Gardner to a one-year contract yesterday, said Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel.

Gardner, 6 feet 2 and 240 pounds, previously played for Buffalo and was a member of the Bills' four Super Bowl teams. Gardner is basically a blocking back, and also a solid special teams performer.

Gardner fills a special void for the Ravens.

"We needed a lead back," said Newsome. "Gardner will present teams with a different look because he gives us a lot of options. We can go with a two-back look or a three-back set.

"And then, with the big offensive line that we have, we may decide to just go after people," he said. "But sooner or later in a game, you're going to have to go toe to toe, whether in short yardage or goal-line situations. We now have that big fullback."

Gardner, a seven-year veteran, has 612 career yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on 179 carries.

The Ravens also will look to him for leadership.

"Basically, we're running the same offense that we ran in Buffalo," said Gardner, who was with Buffalo when Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda was the offensive coordinator. "The holes are still numbered the same and the patterns are familiar. The only changes are in the terminology.

"If I had to stress one thing to my teammates, it would be unity," said Gardner, a Baltimore native whose family moved from the area when he was 10. "After that, a lot of things fall into place."

The addition of Gardner would have given the Ravens 80 players in camp, but linebacker Rich Ruhl, a rookie free agent out of Oregon, quit the team yesterday.

Newsome said he would work out several players this week before adding another to the roster, preferably a cornerback.

Afternoon highlights

Between 2,500 and 3,000 fans showed up for the afternoon contact practice at Western Maryland College, and they were treated to two long touchdown passes, one each to receivers Michael Jackson and Calvin Williams.

The first fight in camp was between running back Earnest Hunter and defensive back Vashone Adams. The scuffle lasted for only a few seconds before teammates broke it up.

There was the usual first day trash-talking, and, of course, the veterans targeted the team's two top rookies, offensive guard Jonathan Ogden of UCLA and middle linebacker Ray Lewis of Miami.

"Me, go after Ray Lewis? What number was he?" said center Steve Everitt. "I'm pretty sure the defense went after our rookie, and we went after theirs. There are going to be some sore rookies."

Said All-Pro safety Eric Turner: "You got to smack people hard the first day, set the tempo and let people know if you're not going to hit, go home."

Jenkins practices

Second-round draft pick DeRon Jenkins, a cornerback out of Tennessee, practiced for the first time after a three-day holdout.

Jenkins will challenge Issac Booth for a starting position. Jenkins didn't show much rust.


Free-agent defensive tackle Tim Goad, an eight-year veteran, was re-signed. . . . The Ravens will hold practice at the Western Maryland football stadium today at 2: 40 p.m. . . . Reserve defensive lineman Mike Frederick did not practice because of pulled left hamstring. . . . Starting quarterback Vinny Testaverde is expected to return to camp by at least tomorrow night. Testaverde is in Lutz, Fla., with his wife, Mitzi, who is expecting their second child.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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