Signing Taylor will `get done'

Ravens sure of deal, despite agent's doubt

July 11, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Ravens president David Modell waded through the rhetoric of contract negotiations yesterday and expressed optimism the team will sign wide receiver Travis Taylor in time for training camp, the concerns of his agent notwithstanding.

"We'll get it done," Modell said. "We've gotten the 10th pick done before on time."

Taylor was the 10th pick in April's NFL draft, and the second of the Ravens' two top-10 choices, behind running back Jamal Lewis. It marked the third straight year the Ravens owned the 10th pick.

A year ago, they used it to select cornerback Chris McAlister, who signed five days before camp started.

Two years ago, they used the 10th pick to take cornerback Duane Starks, who signed two weeks after camp opened.

This summer, with two weeks left before camp starts, neither Lewis nor Taylor is signed. Taylor's agent, Steve Weinberg, voiced his frustration last weekend over the lack of an offer from the Ravens.

"We will not have any more talks with the Baltimore Ravens until we get an offer from them," he said.

"Travis was drafted in April. How could they not make me an offer in all this time?"

Weinberg said he submitted a proposal to the Ravens on July 4, but had yet to hear from them. He did not return phone calls to his office in Dallas yesterday.

Negotiations are being handled by Pat Moriarty, Ravens vice president for administration, who has been out of the office this week. Modell said a contract, even for the first-rounders, can be hammered out in relatively quick fashion.

"I've negotiated with first-round picks," Modell said. "In the end analysis, it isn't brain surgery and it's not time-consuming. Steve Weinberg is an excellent agent and I'm sure if everyone is reasonable, it shouldn't take but a few hours to get done."

Those negotiations are complicated by the team's attempt to extend the contract of guard Jonathan Ogden and restructure the contract of linebacker Ray Lewis.

Modell declined to address any of the negotiations specifically.

"I'm not sure we feel it's appropriate or productive to negotiate in a newspaper," he said. "I don't know where Travis is currently, but if he is reading The Sun, he should feel very comfortable and confident that we'll get this done on time."

The number of first-round signings increased to six yesterday when the New York Jets signed defensive end Shaun Ellis and linebacker John Abraham to five-year contracts.

The Ravens have signed two of their six picks, sixth-rounders Adalius Thomas and Cedric Woodard, both defensive linemen.

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