Shorter contract is a downer for Sharper


Linebacker gets 1 year, $1M, but preferred longer deal

June 16, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Weak-side linebacker Jamie Sharper became the Ravens' newest millionaire yesterday, yet he wasn't exactly pleased.

The Ravens' second-leading tackler last year signed a one-year tendered contract worth $1 million, the highest amount available to restricted free agents. It's classified as a first-round tender, meaning a team that wants to sign Sharper next season would have to give the Ravens a first-round draft pick.

Sharper, though, wanted a lengthier commitment from the Ravens.

"I have my mind set on playing for the Ravens for a couple of years, and that's what I'm looking forward to," Sharper said. "I'm not real happy playing under this tender. I'd rather have a long-term contract before the season coming up.

"When you start four years and they haven't had anybody try to replace me, I think they think I'm going to be around here. But I don't know why they haven't come with a new contract yet. That's what I'm a little upset about."

The Ravens, however, are handcuffed fiscally. They have five draft choices left to sign, including first-rounders Jamal Lewis and Travis Taylor, and have declared extending the contract of tackle Jonathan Ogden a priority.

So, Sharper will have to wait in line just like the other seven restricted free agents retained by the team. Coach Brian Billick called Sharper into his office after practice to clear up any problems with the situation.

"It's hard sometimes for them to appreciate that," Billick said. "Like everything that I do, I try to give them a comfort zone that we're trying to do the right thing. It's not out of disrespect. If you are under contract, clearly, you have to take a second priority to those that are not under contract."

Sharper has made up his mind that he will not negotiate during the season because it would become a distraction and wants a long-term contract in hand before the season.

"They had the whole six months this off-season to get things done," Sharper said. "They've signed all the free agents. Now, they're supposedly talking to Ogden and Goose [Tony Siragusa], and those guys who already have a year on their contract still. So, I'm up. I don't have a contract really, just this tender to play under. So I figure they would come to talk to me."

On the mend

Sam Adams, who injured his right knee Wednesday, sat out team drills yesterday and was examined by team physician Dr. Claude Moorman. The defensive tackle was found to have a contusion and mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament and will continue treating it for several days.

"If it happened on Friday, he'd play on Sunday," trainer Bill Tessendorf said.

Early exit

The Ravens ended their last practice before next month's training camp 25 minutes early, but it wasn't a reward. Billick's team had one of its sloppiest workouts of the 17 practices this off-season.

"We got a few guys on that were on the first tee a little early, let's put it that way," Billick said.

'Are you ready?'

Billick and his coaching staff have had their entire training camp regimen scheduled down to the minute since last week. Players report to Western Maryland College on July 23 and begin practicing the next day.

"The challenge I put to almost every player over the last four days: Are you ready to go to camp?" Billick said. "And they know that's what they've got to be when camp starts on the 23rd. The first practice on the 24th is not going to be for the meek of heart because we're going to start on a dead sprint."

End zone

The Ravens agreed in principle with defensive tackle Cedric Woodard on a three-year contract believed to be worth $830,000. The sixth-round pick out of Texas is the first of the Ravens' six draft choices to agree to terms. ... Thirty-five players went on the Ravens' annual fishing trip Wednesday. Tight end Greg DeLong caught the biggest fish, at 14 pounds and 33 inches. ... During 11-on-11 noncontact drills, quarterback Tony Banks was intercepted by Ray Lewis, who was tackled by Banks at the end of the play even though neither player was wearing pads. ... O. J. Brigance, a former Stallions linebacker in the Canadian Football League in the mid-1990s, signed with the Ravens and had his first workout with the team yesterday. ... Receiver Patrick Johnson, who missed Wednesday's drills with a strained left calf, had a full practice yesterday.

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