Ex-Stallion Brigance returns to Baltimore


LB, special teams player signs one-year contract

Pro Football

June 15, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

O. J. Brigance, a driving force on the Stallions' Grey Cup championship team five years ago, is coming back to Baltimore to join the Ravens' playoff push this year.

Brigance, who spent the last four years as a special teams player and reserve outside linebacker with the Miami Dolphins, has agreed to a one-year contract for the NFL's $440,000 veterans' minimum yesterday.

"The organization that kicked [the Stallions] out is bringing me back," Brigance said, enjoying the delicious irony.

When the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, it ended the two-year run of Baltimore's Canadian Football League Stallions, for whom Brigance was a key defensive contributor.

An unrestricted free agent, Brigance, 30, had a tryout with the Ravens last week. He passed a physical yesterday and will sign the contract this morning.

"They're looking for a linebacker to come in and contribute on special teams, which I have done," he said. "And they're looking for another good backup linebacker, which I'm capable of doing. The situation seems good; it's a great organization and Baltimore's a great football city."

James Harris, the Ravens' director of pro personnel, said Brigance "has all the intangibles in terms of fitting in with the team and character. And he was captain of Miami's special teams."

Walking wounded

The Ravens received a scare when defensive tackle Sam Adams stepped on another player's ankle and injured his right knee a few plays into 11-on-11 drills. X-rays were negative and the injury is not believed to be serious.

Trainer Bill Tessendorf said that while Adams may have suffered a mild capsular sprain and there was swelling, he did not damage any of the four major ligaments in the knee. "The preliminary diagnosis is it's a bruise or contusion," Tessendorf said.

Adams' availability for today's final practice of minicamp depends on how the knee responds to treatment, Tessendorf said.

What had been essentially an injury-free camp also featured a collision between wide receiver Marcus Nash and safety Rod Woodson during team drills. Woodson, who suffered a jammed left wrist, was unable to avoid Nash after a reception and both fell awkwardly. Nash took a blow to the helmet and felt "a little bit of a ring" in his head. Both players later returned to practice.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Patrick Johnson, who strained his left calf on Tuesday, was held out of certain passing drills because of tightness in the muscle.

Pricing out Ogden

Coach Brian Billick has little doubt the Ravens will re-sign Pro Bowl tackle Jonathan Ogden, who can opt to become a free agent after this season, the fifth in a seven-year contract he signed in 1996.

"I'm confident we can do it," Billick said. "You're not going to let a player like Jonathan Ogden get out of the organization."

Ogden, 25, is seeking to become the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. That distinction belongs to Jon Runyan, who averages just over $5 million a year on a six-year contract he recently signed with Philadelphia.

Odgen reportedly is seeking $7 million a season. The Ravens have offered him a seven-year deal worth $37 million, with a $12.5 signing bonus.

Boulware's progress

As a concession to Peter Boulware's surgically repaired right shoulder, the Ravens intend to keep the Pro Bowl linebacker out of most of this summer's preseason games. But he is expected to participate in all training camp drills, Billick said.

"I don't know if he'll be full strength [at the start of camp], but by mid-camp he should be able to go full-blow," Billick said. "That doesn't necessarily mean we'll play him in preseason games - again, to protect the shoulder. But he'll get a lot more work this year than he did last year in training camp."

Boulware said he has gotten as much mobility back as he's going to get in the shoulder, but needs more strength. Asked this week if he'd be ready for training camp, he said: "There's a chance I may not, but most likely I'll be ready. It's all a matter of [whether] they want to take extra precautions."

End zone

Wide receiver Qadry Ismail, targeted for backup punt return duty to Jermaine Lewis, has this perspective on the job: "I have a great desire for Jermaine to get back to the level of dominance he had. Every punt that comes his way, I'm thinking, `Go to the house, Jermaine.'" ... Rookie quarterback Chris Redman made the play of the day when he dropped in a perfect sideline throw to Ismail, just beyond the reach of cornerback Jermaine Smith and safety Anthony Poindexter. ... The Ravens went on their annual fishing expedition to the Chesapeake Bay yesterday.

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