Alexander drops in on Ravens

Alabama running back getting rave reviews

`can put team on his back'

Pro Football

April 01, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Running back Shaun Alexander, a tackle-breaker who played his best in Alabama's biggest games, was among three college players who visited the Ravens' Owings Mills training facility yesterday.

Generally seen as the second-best running back in this year's draft behind Virginia's Thomas Jones, Alexander was a Heisman Trophy candidate until an ankle injury knocked him out of two games last season.

His highlight reel included a four-touchdown, 106-yard rushing effort in an upset of Florida. He also gained 214 yards against Ole Miss, 182 against Auburn and 161 against Michigan in the Orange Bowl.

That performance elevated Alexander from a late first-rounder into a more prominent position in the draft, according to Phil Savage, the Ravens director of college scouting.

"His vision and ability to get through cracks and set up blockers are his positives," Savage said.

Said Richard Katz, Alexander's agent: "Shaun has the ability to put a team on his back. One scout told me he had given Shaun the highest grade in the draft."

Also visiting yesterday were Georgia Tech wide receiver Dez White and LSU cornerback Mark Roman. Nebraska safety Mike Brown, who led the Cornhuskers in tackles three years, will visit today.

Last week, Tennessee running back Jamal Lewis and Florida wide receiver Travis Taylor were among those who visited the Ravens, who would like to get a back and receiver with the fifth and 15th picks on April 15.

Ozzie Newsome, vice president for player personnel for the Ravens, said the team will have 11 more draft-eligible players in next week.

NOTES: The Ravens have told defensive tackle Tony Siragusa they will address his request for a contract extension after the draft. Siragusa has one year left on a four-year, $5 million deal he signed as a free agent in 1997. Because the Ravens have yet to make a contract offer to veteran Bennie Thompson, the special teams leader is open to joining another team, his agent, Terry Lavenstein, says. "He has given me the authority to get a deal done if I can get it done," Lavenstein said. "But he wants to stay in Baltimore." The Ravens are expected to address Thompson's status after the draft, as well.

Newsome says reports the Ravens have offered the 15th pick in the draft to the Cincinnati Bengals for restricted free agent Corey Dillon "are not true."

Safety Anthony Poindexter, who missed all of his 1999 rookie season with a serious knee injury, is expected to participate in the team's minicamp this summer. "He's done all we've asked and maybe more to get to this point," said trainer Bill Tessendorf. The Ravens announced the hiring of three marketing executives -- Mark Burdett, senior director of broadcast and corporate partnerships; Pam Malone, senior director of communications and development; and Larry Rosen, director of broadcast and video production.

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