Ravens show interest in Vardell as replacement for FB Gardner

April 15, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens have had preliminary talks with San Francisco 49ers free-agent fullback Tommy Vardell, according to team officials.

The Ravens do not have a fullback on their roster after Carwell Gardner signed a two-year deal with the San Diego Chargers on Friday.

The Ravens apparently had made plans for Gardner's possible departure. According to Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel, there were talks between the club and Vardell last week.

"We think he's a good football player who can help our team," Newsome said in a brief statement.

Vardell, a fifth-year veteran, rushed for 192 yards on 58 carries last season, and had 28 receptions for 179 yards. At 6 feet 2 and 230 pounds, he is considered a multipurpose fullback because of his blocking and pass-catching abilities.

In 1994 and 1995 with the Cleveland Browns, Vardell played in only 10 games because of surgery to repair ligament and knee damage. He missed five games last season because of an ankle injury.

Vardell's agent, Jack Mills, did not return phone calls. Newsome said Vardell was not expected to visit the Ravens this week, but may do so after the draft this weekend. Newsome also said the Ravens have no plans to sign any free agents before the draft.

Pub Date: 4/15/97

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