Ravens keep Turner with 2-year contract

Veteran receiver's deal could be worth $1.5 million

February 26, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

After watching a handful of their players take the free-agent route out of Baltimore, the Ravens retrieved one of their own last night by agreeing to terms with wide receiver Floyd Turner.

Turner could sign a two-year contract worth about $1.3 million today, a source said. The deal includes a $250,000 signing bonus and incentives that could elevate his pay into the $1.5 million range over two seasons.

Turner, a nine-year veteran, flew into Baltimore yesterday from his Houston home, then met with coach Brian Billick and Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel.

"The coaches said they wanted me here, and I want to be here. It was just a matter of getting the deal done," said Turner, 32. "We were in the same ballpark [on money]. It just came down to agreeing on the structure.

"With the new coach being so offensive-minded, I wanted the chance to come back and finish my career here. It's going to be an interesting year."

Turner, 5 feet 11, 199 pounds, who also has played for New Orleans and Indianapolis, has had two frustrating years with the Ravens for different reasons.

In 1996, he suffered a knee injury in training camp and never was healthy enough to be consistently productive. He then sat out the 1997 season. Last year, Turner caught 32 passes for 512 yards and five touchdowns -- good for second on the team in the last two categories -- but did not get consistent playing time until late in the season.

An injury to Jermaine Lewis gave Turner the opportunity to start three straight games in December, and Turner produced back-to-back 100-yard games. He also made an impression on Billick, who, as Minnesota's offensive coordinator, watched Turner catch 10 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown in a 38-28 loss to the Vikings on Dec. 13.

"If [second-year man] Patrick Johnson can step it up, and if Floyd Turner gives us a season's worth of productivity like he gave you late last season, it's a good group [of receivers]," said Billick, who added that the Ravens probably will look to draft a big receiver.

Turner's goal yesterday was to beef up his deal with incentives, in case circumstances force him into a starting role in 1999.

"I wasn't trying to be greedy," said Turner, who will earn a base salary of $400,000 this year. "If I'm not a starter, but I end up as a starter, the incentives give me a chance to get paid like a starter."

Said Newsome: "The opportunity is there for Floyd. We targeted certain guys that we would like to have back, and he was one of those guys."

NOTES: The Ravens have started contract extension talks with right guard Jeff Blackshear, a fixture on the offensive line the past two seasons. He is scheduled to make $1.2 million this year and could become a free agent after 1999. By 3 p.m. yesterday, it appeared the team's new helmet logo would be a profile of a raven's head. As of then, 2,400 people had voted for the profile through a Sun poll. The straight-on raven's head had attracted 2,100 votes, and a shield featuring elements of the Maryland state flag with the initials "B" and "R" had picked up 1,800.

Pub Date: 2/26/99

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