Dowers is 1st on developmental squad Settlement with DeVries frees cash for cornerback

Ravens notebook

September 12, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens signed rookie cornerback Dante Dowers to the developmental squad yesterday, the first player named to the team this season.

Because of salary-cap concerns, the Ravens did not have a practice squad, but the money for Dowers' $49,500 contract became available Sept. 4 when the team waived and reached an injury settlement contract with reserve offensive tackle Jed DeVries for $61,000.

DeVries was scheduled to make $172,000 this season, but the salary was lowered to $92,000 when he was put on injured reserve with shoulder and neck injuries.

"Dante worked hard and he gained a good understanding of our system," said Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of personnel.

Dowers, from Alcorn State, was released on the final cutdown Aug. 25. He played in all four preseason games and recorded six tackles, plus two more on special teams.

Newsome said the team had no immediate plans to add other players to the developmental squad. The Ravens are about $7,000 under the salary cap.

"If we recapture some money, one of our priorities is a fullback," said Newsome, whose team has only one fullback, Carwell Gardner, on the roster.

Hartley's return delayed

Tight end Frank Hartley's return to the team has been pushed back another week from two to three because of surgery complications.

Hartley, the team's best blocker at the position, had knee surgery several weeks ago.

"I think we're looking at the New Orleans game," said coach Ted Marchibroda of the game on Sept. 29 at Memorial Stadium.

Starting guard Wally Williams (ankle), defensive end Anthony Pleasant (ankle) and reserve safety Bennie Thompson (groin) did not practice yesterday. Pleasant and Williams are expected to play Sunday against the Houston Oilers. Thompson's status is questionable.

Marchibroda the motivator

Within the last seven days, Marchibroda has scolded his team for its work ethic and lack of veteran leadership.

Marchibroda may have seen the results of his talks yesterday with a crisp, smooth practice that had little chatter among the players.

"It was an excellent practice today, we were focused and off to a good start this week," said Marchibroda.

Quarterback Vinny Testaverde agreed with Marchibroda.

"Today's practice was as good as I've been around because of the concentration and effort," said Testaverde. "The players took it upon themselves to be professional football players today rather than go through the motions."

Testaverde agreed that the team lacked veteran leadership and said he would be one of the players to accept the challenge.

"We're not a team that can take a few plays off in practice, then pick it up again," said Testaverde. "I have to go the extra distance and make sure we get our work done every day."

Pub Date: 9/12/96

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