Ravens, Siragusa `Close' To Deal

Club Hopes To Secure 4-year Contract Today With Defensive Tackle

April 24, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens and free-agent defensive tackle Tony Siragusa have nearly reached agreement on a four-year contract, according to a source close to the negotiations.

Gus Sunseri, Siragusa's agent, and the Ravens spent part of yesterday pursuing a deal believed to be worth about $6 million. It also reportedly includes a $1.7 million signing bonus.

"It is by no means a done deal yet, but we're close," team owner Art Modell said. "We should have some definitive conclusion by tomorrow [today]."

Sunseri did not return phone calls yesterday.

Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, said he expects an agreement to be reached "unless we have a 180-degree turn in negotiations."

The Ravens want Siragusa, 6 feet 3, 320 pounds, because of his proven run-stopping capability at right tackle. Although Siragusa, 29, missed six games late last season after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, the Ravens are convinced he is healthy enough to plug a hole in their defense, one of the league's worst in 1996.

A seven-year veteran who originally signed with Indianapolis in 1990, Siragusa has played with the Colts his entire career, starting 78 of 97 games. He recorded 57 tackles and two sacks in 10 games last year.

By signing Siragusa, the Ravens would continue to change the face of their defense, a unit that soon will receive an infusion from eight draft picks, led by outside linebackers Peter Boulware and Jamie Sharper.

Siragusa would line up next to veteran right end Michael McCrary, whom the Ravens signed two weeks ago, a year after McCrary became one of the NFL's top pass rushers by recording 13 1/2 sacks with the Seattle Seahawks.

"I think it's getting warmer. Progress has been made, and it looks like we're getting closer and closer," said Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda, for whom Siragusa played from 1992-95 in Indianapolis.

Marchibroda, who dined with Siragusa on Friday -- the same day he passed a physical in Baltimore-- said the Sportgrass surface at Memorial Stadium is one of the factors that weighs in the Ravens' favor.

"[Siragusa] knows the type of attitude we're looking for," Marchibroda said. "He knows how we practice. He'll be closer to his home in New Jersey. And he knows there was a tremendous need for him here."

Pub Date: 4/24/97

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