Ravens may redo Marion's contract Modell: Injury doesn't have to break deal

March 22, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens are developing a strategy to restructure the contract of injured safety Brock Marion. If it works, it still would allow him to earn his original sum of $8.4 million over four years.

According to a league source, the team had agreed to pay Marion a $2 million signing bonus and an average of $1.6 million per season. But once the team discovered Thursday that the fractured left shoulder blade Marion suffered last season had not fully healed, the team began to make alternate plans.

Marion, 26, and Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf spent yesterday afternoon in Cleveland waiting for Marion's left shoulder to be examined by Dr. John Bergfeld. Ravens owner Art Modell was expected to get the results this morning to see if Bergfeld's diagnosis concurred with that of Ravens team doctor Claude Moorman, who said the shoulder was not fully healed.

If the results are similar, then the Ravens would give Marion three options, including seeing a third, independent physician. Marion also could rehabilitate through a plan prescribed by the Ravens, or the team could simply void the agreement because no contract has been signed.

"We're willing to work with him because we feel he is a quality player and person," Modell said. "We can't, though, give a player a signing bonus when he may never take the field for us. We're waiting for the results to see what our doctors recommend, whether it just be rest or surgery. Once we know the course of action he wants to take, then we can sign him to a restructured contract that will pay him the sum of his original deal.

"Once we know how long it will take for him to go through rehabilitation, then we can base his contract by per game, maybe by month or whatever," Modell said. "I've spoken with the doctors here and we're confident Brock Marion is going to play the entire season."

Marion said Thursday that he had passed physicals with at least five other teams, but it is not known whether those teams took X-rays or CT scans. Marion flunked the physical examination of one team two weeks ago, and that team recommended that he have a pin inserted in his shoulder. It would take six to eight weeks to rehabilitate the shoulder, the source said.

Marion had passed a physical for the Ravens when he visited the team complex several weeks ago, but he was ordered to have a CT scan Thursday morning.

Marion suffered the injury, a fractured left shoulder blade, on the final play of the first half Nov. 10 in the Dallas Cowboys' 20-17 overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers.

He initially was expected to miss two to three weeks, but ended up missing the final six weeks of the regular season after it was learned that the shoulder blade had been fractured in two places. Marion elected to rest and let the injury heal instead of having surgery.

NOTES: Two linebackers, Pittsburgh's Eric Ravotti and Atlanta's Darion Conner, toured the Ravens' Owings Mills complex yesterday. Both played sparingly last season. San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Lewis Bush, who started all 16 games at the strong-side position last season, is expected to visit next week. Guard Leo Goeas' three-year deal is worth $2.85 million, including a $600,000 signing bonus.

Pub Date: 3/22/97

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