Ravens leave room on roster for more moves 2 below league limit, team may try to sign back or tight end

August 26, 1996|By MIKE PRESTON | MIKE PRESTON,SUN STAFF

The Ravens waived eight players from their 58-man roster last night and signed one. That left them two below the maximum and added to speculation that the team might sign a free-agent running back or tight end before the team's season and home opener against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Rookie linebacker Dexter Daniels from Florida was the only surprise casualty among the Ravens waived yesterday. The other seven were veteran linebacker P. J. Killian, offensive lineman Lonnie Palelei and defensive lineman Tau Pupua and rookies David Barnard, a defensive tackle, running back Derrick Cullors, cornerback Dante Dowers and offensive lineman Spencer Folau.

The Ravens also signed defensive lineman James Jones to a two-year contract, giving them 51 players.

The Ravens can carry 53 on the active roster, and last night Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel, confirmed that the team was interested in Brad Baxter, a fullback waived by the New York Jets yesterday, and free-agent tight ends Eric Green and Johnny Mitchell.

Green, trying to recover from knee surgery, reportedly wants a second chance with the Miami Dolphins and coach Jimmy Johnson. Johnson cut Green, a former Pro Bowl player, July 9.

"I've been in contact with both the agents for Green and Mitchell to let them know we have a sincere interest in their clients," said Newsome.

The Ravens have been looking for a tight end who can stretch de fenses all through training camp, and apparently have given up on No. 2 tight end Harold Bishop, a third-year player out of Louisiana State who has all the physical attributes to replace starter Brian Kinchen.

But with the first game a week a way, Kinchen is still No. 1 and the Ravens are now hitting the waiver wires.

Neither Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for Green, nor Anthony Hilliard, Mitchell's agent, returned phone calls yesterday. Baxter's agent, Joel Segal, was unavailable for comment, but Newsome said he spoke with Segal earlier in the day.

The interest in Baxter may indicate that Ravens head coach Ted Marchibroda is leaning toward a power running game instead of a one-back set formation, which the team originally planned to use.

The Ravens have only one bona fide fullback in camp, Carwell Gardner, who was signed as a free agent July 20.

"We're working with a number [51] that gives us the opportunity to select off the wire and for salary cap reasons," said Newsome. "We're always looking to upgrade our team, especially if it's somebody we liked in the draft that didn't make it with another team."

Daniels, the team's sixth-round pick out of Florida, was the only one of the team's seven draft picks to be waived. One other, quarterback Jon Stark of Trinity International, has been put on the physically unable to perform list because of a shoulder injury.

According to Newsome, Daniels was the last player waived by the Ravens. He played well Friday night against the Buffalo Bills and could return on the team's developmental squad, along with Cullors and Folau, if he clears waivers by 4 p.m. today.

"Dexter was the last guy, the 52nd guy," said Newsome. "It's just that Eddie Sutter [No. 2 middle linebacker] performed better on special teams, which made him more valuable in that situation."

"I'm a little concerned about Cullors clearing waivers, too," said Newsome. "He was one of those 47th, 48th and 49th guys, and we had to determine who was the guy ready to most help us this year."

Newsome said the team reached a settlement with Pupua, who has not played or practiced since breaking a bone in his foot early in training camp.

Pupua was expected to make $152,000 in base salary this season. The team did not release the terms of his settlement, but it is expected to count against the salary cap.

Newsome said the team was no longer interested in former Philadelphia Eagles running back Vaughn Hebron, a Cardinal Gibbons graduate.

Next for Ravens

Regular-season opener

Opponent: Oakland Raiders

When Sunday, 1 p.m.

Site: Memorial Stadium

TV/Radio: Ch. 11/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Pub Date: 8/26/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.