A cap adjustment helps Turner fill wide receiver bill Veteran, Roe, P. Johnson to have spirited battle


July 22, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF Ryan Basen contributed to this article.

The Ravens reached a one-year agreement with wide receiver Floyd Turner yesterday that will pay him the NFL veteran minimum of $325,000 for the 1998 season.

Turner was in Houston last night and did not return phone calls. He is expected to be in camp with the other veterans who are required to report by 11 a.m. Friday. Turner did not play last season but was fourth on the team in an injury-marred 1996 with 55 receptions for 581 yards and two touchdowns.

Turner, 5 feet 11, 190 pounds, is expected to challenge second-year player James Roe and rookie Patrick Johnson for the third wide-receiver position as well as a spot on special teams. Turner played for Indianapolis three seasons ago when Ted Marchibroda was coach and Jim Harbaugh was quarterback for the Colts.

"They would have liked to have had him last year, but they didn't have the cap room," said Ted Marchibroda Jr., Turner's agent. "But Floyd knows Ted's system and has worked with Jim Harbaugh. It's a good fit for both parties."

Ray Crittenden had been another option at wide receiver. He was impressive during a workout, but Turner's familiarity with the Ravens' offense was a major factor in their decision. Turner has played in the league for eight seasons.

Injured veterans report

Several veteran players who were injured at the end of last season are required to participate in practices with the rookies and free agents. The veterans who attended practice yesterday were safeties Stevon Moore (knees) and Rondell Jones (knee, groin), left guard Sale Isaia (knee) and defensive end Michael McCrary (knee).

Jones said his knee felt good and would continue with the rehabilitation. Moore indicated that he was a little sluggish, while McCrary was cynical but humorous about reporting early.

"Ted called me up and said he wanted me up here early, so I did it," Moore said. "I need the work. I need to be up in pads. I'm a little sluggish. It helped me physically and mentally to get a practice in. I got a little tired in there, especially in this heat. I'm going to play it smart. I won't strain. It's not September, it's July. If I get sore, I'm going to back off a bit. My knees should hold up throughout the rest of the season."

McCrary said: "I love it. I couldn't think of a better place to be than out on the field in the summer sweating in 100-degree temperature, working with the younger guys who keep making mistakes so we can repeat the plays over and over again. It's the coach's call, so I have to go along with it."

Fanzone a quick hit

Yesterday was the first chance for fans to test the new Pepsi Fanzone at training camp and the reviews so far are outstanding.

"I think it's great. It's excellent for kids and adults. It gets kids interested in the Ravens and they get to have some fun when they come up here," said Tom DiVencenzo of Catonsville.

"[The Fanzone] gives us more to do here, especially for the kids," said Amy Parks, a mother of three from Westminster.

"It gets them more involved in camp then just sitting in the bleachers and watching practices."

Most fans were pleased with the novelty, as well as with other improvements at this year's training camp.

"It's cool. The parking was much improved," said Rick Arnold of Towson. "They directed us right up to the field. Everyone here has been real friendly. My son loves [the Fanzone]."

The Fanzone was most popular among younger children, ages 4-14.

Coping with the conditions

Players practiced under extreme conditions, with the temperature around 90 degrees with high humidity. Today's forecast calls for a temperature in the high 90s. How some of the rookies can handle the heat and play through it may go a long way toward determining their status. "I've just got to deal with the heat, not complain," wide receiver Patrick Johnson said. "You just have to concentrate more and not let the heat become a factor."

Some players, like tight end Cam Quayle, who is from Utah, may have a tougher time adjusting to the weather than others. "This humidity was a shock for me," he said. "I can't even explain it. There was no escaping it."

Others, like defensive tackle Martin Chase, a fifth-round pick in April, are leaving the results to a higher authority. "The offensive line and defensive line have to take all the reps, you know, so it's real tough out there," Chase said. "But God will get me through this heat."

Harbaugh on target

Harbaugh's first pass of training camp went for a touchdown, and the team hopes it was an omen of things to come. Marchibroda certainly was chirping about it, especially after Harbaugh's unimpressive showing in minicamp. Harbaugh threw well in the first practice yesterday, but tapered off in the second.

"We've added some hard-core veterans like [Roosevelt Potts, Errict Rhett, Rod Woodson and Jim Harbaugh]," Marchibroda said. "It took Jim awhile, but he is finding his rhythm. This is our best ball club and it's good to have Jim because we know what he can do and provide for this ballclub."

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