There may be room for Coates at tight end


Meeting scheduled today

G. Brown also may visit

July 20, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Attracted by the idea of putting a pair of former Pro Bowl tight ends on the field together, the Ravens invited free agent Ben Coates in for an exploratory meeting today, coach Brian Billlek said.

The team also was attempting yesterday to line up a visit by free-agent defensive tackle Gilbert Brown.

Coates, who played nine seasons with the New England Patriots before being released in a salary cap move this off-season, had rejected an offer from the Tennessee Titans in late April and visited a number of teams, including the Washington Redskins.

"Ben's case is not an unfamiliar one right now," Bfilick said. "He's a competent veteran that, due to the system, is sitting out there, available.

"He presents the Potential for a unique package, for us to have the ability in a given personnel grouping to have Shannon Sharpe and Ben Coates on either side of the ball. That would present a diffi-culty to any defense."

The Ravens signed Sharpe, another salary cap casualty, last February.

Billick described his interest level in Coates as "very high."

His interest in Brown, who played with the Green Bay Packers, would be to provide depth at defensive tackle behind Tony Siragusa. Both players are essentially run stuffers who come out on passing downs.

Tagliabue on R. Lewis

Ray Lewis has suffered enough, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in explaining why he did not suspend the All-Pro linebacker who pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in a murder case.

"It's the courts who have the primary responsibility in this case," Tagliabue said. "We're not a substitute for the courts."

Lewis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice in a deal with Atlanta prosecutors, who dropped murder charges against the Ravens star.

Richardson, Billick meet

Billick met yesterday with punter Kyle Richardson, an un-signed, exclusive rights player, to explain the team's side of his ongoing contract negotiation.

Richardson's agent, Steve Weinberg, wants a multi-year contract for Richardson, but the Ravens are adamant on giving him a minimum, one-year deal for $358,000.

"It's hard for these guys to understand sometimes, particularly when they're not getting information from their agents that is accurate,'' Billick said. "My job is to create as conducive an environment to winning as I can. One of the most difficult aspects of that is the money, obviously."

Billick expressed a desire to retain Richardson, who set an NFL record with 39 punts inside the 20 last season, but said he was not handling negotiations.

Negotiation update Pat Moriarty, the Ravens' chief negotiator, was attempting yesterday to arrange another face-to-face meeting with Miteh Frankel, the agent for unsigned first-round pick Jamal Lewis. That meeting could happen as early as today.

There was no negotiation, however, with the team's other first-round pick, Travis Taylor.

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