Jackson to visit Chiefs today Ravens free agent also to see Oilers

LB Thomas shops here

February 20, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Free-agent wide receiver Michael Jackson, whom the Ravens are hoping to re-sign to a long-term contract, will begin shopping his services around the NFL today, when he plans to visit the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jackson also expects to visit the Houston Oilers next week, and could talk with several other teams before deciding whether to remain in Baltimore. Jackson listed Carolina, New England and San Diego as other possibilities.

"I've gotten calls from about six different teams, and I know I'll be somewhere [under contract] come the next few weeks," Jackson said. "It's just a matter of them feeling that I'm worth what I've asked for."

David Modell, the Ravens' executive vice president, was in Los Angeles yesterday, when he talked with Jackson's agent, Gary Uberstein. Modell also had planned to talk with agent Marvin Demoff, who is working on Jackson's deal, but the meeting was scrapped when Demoff had to leave town to take care of a family matter, Modell said.

"Gary and I just want to get some good dialogue going," said Modell, who has said he would like to sign Jackson for three or four years. The Ravens decided not to pick up the option on the final year of Jackson's contract, which would have awarded the six-year veteran a guaranteed salary of $2.5 million.

Jackson had a breakthrough season last year, when he was a focal point of the AFC's third-most prolific offense. Jackson produced career-high numbers in catches (76) and yardage (1,201). His 14 touchdown receptions, also a career high, tied for the league lead among receivers.

The Ravens are about $2.6 million under the salary cap. Jackson figures to command a salary of between $2 million and $2.5 million a year.

"We're going to be competitive with the offers that Michael gets," said Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel. "I think Michael is going to be a Raven."

"I like playing across from [receiver teammate] Derrick [Alexander], and Vinny [Testaverde] has become the quarterback I knew he could be," Jackson said. "But that was on the field. Now we're off the field, and the ball is in their court. It's out of my hands."

The agent for center Steve Everitt, whom the Ravens also are trying to re-sign, said he plans to schedule a visit with the New York Jets next week. The Oakland Raiders also have inquired about Everitt.

Everitt listened to a six-year, $11.5 million offer from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week.

"I expected a bigger offer, but I don't expect teams to make their best offer out of the chute," said John Macik, Everitt's agent. The Ravens initially offered Everitt $9 million over five years.

"Steve is in real good spirits. [Eagles coach] Ray Rhodes and those guys are a good group," Macik added. "They need a team leader and an anchor for their line. And playing for Philly would give Steve an opportunity to get to the Pro Bowl sooner. In the AFC, he's stuck behind [Pittsburgh's Dermontti] Dawson and [Houston's Mark] Stepnoski."

The Ravens did some free-agent shopping of their own yesterday, when Dallas linebacker Broderick Thomas paid them a visit. By tomorrow, New England defensive end Michael Jones, Pittsburgh defensive end Ray Seals and Dallas free safety Brock Marion are expected to stop by the Owings Mills complex.

Marion, a seventh-round draft choice in 1993, started 10 games for the Cowboys last year, before a fractured shoulder blade sidelined him for the rest of the season. He was fifth on the team with 77 tackles. Marion started every game during the Cowboys' 1995 Super Bowl championship season.

NOTES: Seeking a replacement for Scott Pioli, their pro personnel coordinator who took a similar job with the New York Jets recently, the Ravens have interviewed Jets assistant general manager James Harris. Washington Mayor Marion Barry will designate tomorrow as Jonathan Ogden Day, in honor of the Ravens' soon-to-be left tackle who attended St. Albans. Ogden, the first draft pick in Ravens history, received Pro Bowl votes as a rookie at left guard. He has returned to UCLA to work toward completing his undergraduate degree.

Pub Date: 2/20/97

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