LB Goganious close to signing Ravens hope deal is done in time for free agent to play against Saints

Ravens notebook

September 26, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens and free-agent linebacker Keith Goganious were close to completing a one-year contract last night for a salary near the minimum of $191,000.

The Ravens are expected to make an announcement on the signing of Goganious today, three days before the team plays the New Orleans Saints. The fourth-year linebacker will be used mostly as a special teams player against the Saints.

Later, the Ravens expect Goganious will be used as a reserve inside and outside linebacker.

"I would say his role would be limited at first, but he would be an insurance policy for us because we only have five healthy linebackers," said Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda.

The Ravens had interest in at least four linebackers -- Goganious, Aubrey Beavers, Mark Williams and Dion Foxx -- but Goganious was the most impressive in recent workouts.

Goganious and his agent, Tony Agnone, were on the Ravens' practice field yesterday bargaining with team vice president Ozzie Newsome.

According to one Ravens official and a source close to Goganious, the two parties are trying to work out minor differences on an incentive package.

Ticket update

About 650 tickets remain for Sunday's game, primarily obstructed-view seats.

But Kevin Byrne, vice president of public relations, said some better seats are likely to become available tomorrow when the Saints are expected to return some of their allotment.

Byrne also said the game will be televised here on Channel 45 even if all the tickets aren't sold by the 1 p.m. Thursday deadline because so many of the unsold tickets are obstructed view.

Remembering Hoard

Each day a player is summoned to the front to lead the team in a final exercise. Yesterday it was center Steve Everitt's turn, and he led the team in a final salute to running back Leroy Hoard.

Everitt asked his teammates to bow their head in a moment of silence for Hoard, the seven-year veteran who was released Tuesday in a deal that helped the Ravens sign former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Bam Morris and tight end Eric Green.

"Leroy was my brother," said Everitt.

"You have to go out and honor the dead. I played with him for two years at Michigan, and then came out to watch him when he was a young player in Cleveland.

"Leroy was one of my closest friends," he said.

"I saw this coming a couple of weeks ago. They didn't get the production they wanted out of him at times, but sometimes it was his fault and other times our fault. It was a collective thing."

George awaits news

Leigh Steinberg, the agent for Jeff George, said he doesn't expect teams to start lobbying for the Atlanta Falcons quarterback until after Oct. 8, the trade deadline date.

George was suspended by Falcons coach June Jones on Sunday after they got into a screaming match during the third quarter of a 33-18 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Falcons coach Jeff George said yesterday that the team will try to trade George. The Associated Press and SportsTicker reported that the Seahawks, Raiders, Cardinals, Rams and Buccaneers are among teams interested in George.

"I figure that since the Falcons gave up two No. 1s and a No. 3 to get Jeff from the Indianapolis Colts, they're not going to give him up for nothing," Steinberg said.

"But if he gets waived, then it's time to restructure the deal," said Steinberg. "We haven't heard from Baltimore, but if that scenario happens, I suspect there would be some interest since Jeff thinks very highly of Ted Marchibroda."

George played for Marchibroda in 1992 and 1993 in Indianapolis. Yesterday, Marchibroda said the Ravens had no immediate plans to pursue George, one day after he stated he was "watching that situation."

One person also watching the situation was Ravens starting quarterback Vinny Testaverde.

"I don't think anything about them at all," said Testaverde of Marchibroda's previous statements. "This is my football team. I'm in charge and until I'm told otherwise, I'm going to go out and help this football team get better."

Miscellaneous

Right guard Wally Williams started every preseason and the first two regular-season games for the Ravens before missing the last game against Houston with a foot injury. Now, he is battling to regain his starting position from Jeff Blackshear. "Blackshear started the last ballgame, and we're just going back and forth a little bit with those two guys," said Marchibroda. "We haven't decided yet which one will start. We'll see how the week goes." With only three running backs on the roster, the Ravens have been using more of the one-back formation in practice this week, with Earnest Byner as the feature back and fullback Carwell Gardner No. 2.

Pub Date: 9/26/96

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