Ravens cut Richardson sooner than later

Acquisition of Case seals backup QB's fate

August 24, 1999|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The Ravens reduced their roster to 72 yesterday by waiving eight players, including Wally Richardson, the No. 3 quarterback who had become one of the team's most popular players. The Ravens must cut seven more players by Aug. 31.

Richardson's fate with the club was virtually sealed last Tuesday, when the Ravens agreed to a one-year contract with former Arizona Cardinal Stoney Case and cut rookie free-agent quarterback Jason Maas. Richardson played little during his first two seasons with Baltimore and drew loud applause last December when he entered his first NFL game against Detroit in the season finale.

Even Ravens coach Brian Billick said it was tough cutting Richardson.

"Clearly, a decision was made in his best interest," Billick said. "It would clearly have been in our best interest to have him hang around a little bit. But Wally has worked hard, and both parties thought it would be his best opportunity to let him go now and hook on with somebody else. There is a chance we could bring him back."

Richardson's development was slowed by the former coaching staff, which didn't play him until late in the preseason last year.

Richardson, 6 feet 4 and 225 pounds, wasn't overly impressive in training camp practices, but played well in a scrimmage and against the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason opener, leading the Ravens on the game-winning, 50-yard drive. Richardson completed seven of 11 passes for 60 yards in the game.

He was expected to play against the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday night, but Billick elected to stay with backup Tony Banks in the second half because the Ravens scored so quickly on two possessions and Banks wouldn't have gotten the required snaps.

Billick said the decision came after watching Case practice last week. Richardson declined to comment yesterday, but Case had been no more impressive in practice than Richardson. Case, though, does have a playing history with Ravens running backs coach Matt Simon, who was his offensive coordinator at New Mexico, and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, who coached Case in Arizona.

"We need to focus on Stoney Case," Billick said. "We've got a good feel for what Wally does, and if would haven't been fair to ask him to stick around."

Said offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden: "Wally never got much of a shot here in his first two years. I think he can make it in this league given the right opportunity. He needs another chance."

Other players waived yesterday were offensive lineman Brandon Dyson, defensive tackle Cory Francis, punter Paul McCord, offensive tackle Cleve Roberts, wide receiver Phil Savoy, fullback Thomas Sieh and linebacker Antron Wright.

Pub Date: 8/24/99

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