Newsome says talks held with Cardinals RB Hearst Fumbling tendencies among team's concerns

August 20, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens have had preliminary talks with Arizona Cardinals running back Garrison Hearst, according to Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of personnel.

Newsome said Hearst's agent, Pat Dye, called him yesterday morning to let the Ravens know that the Cardinals have given Hearst permission to speak with other teams.

Dye expected Hearst to be released by the Cardinals last night from a contract that would have paid him $2.1 million this season.

On Friday, Cardinals coach Vince Tobin sent Hearst back to Arizona from San Diego, where the team was preparing to play the Chargers, and told Hearst he probably would be waived so that top draft pick Simeon Rice could be signed. Rice signed yesterday, but Tobin said that Hearst was not waived.

Newsome said there would be no immediate decision on Hearst.

"We have interest, but we also have to do some more homework," said Newsome. "We have to interview some of his former coaches and find out what work has to be done. We need to know how come he put the ball on the ground so much and why."

Hearst rushed for 1,070 yards and one touchdown last season, but also fumbled 12 times, the most of any non-quarterback in the NFL.

The Ravens could have trouble signing Hearst because the team is only $62,000 under the salary cap.

But the Ravens are attractive to Hearst because their offensive line is potentially one of the best in the league.

Hearst, a fourth-year player, would challenge Leroy Hoard, Earnest Byner and Earnest Hunter for the starting running-back position.

"I think a lot of Ozzie and Ted Marchibroda, and what Ted did in Indianapolis," said Dye. "I think the Ravens will evaluate this situation thoroughly."

The Ravens also have an interest in former Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Green, but those negotiations may not get serious for another month because Green is sidelined with a knee injury.

Pub Date: 8/20/96

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