With proven Harris, no push for Herring

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Last season's strong safety has visited St. Louis, Sea.

Pro Football

March 21, 2001|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

As negotiations with weak-side linebacker Jamie Sharper have taken center stage, the Ravens have received no sense of urgency from free-agent strong safety Kim Herring.

Besides Sharper and free safety Rod Woodson, Herring is the only other free-agent starter from last season's record-setting defense. A full-time starter the past two seasons, he set career highs last year with 66 tackles and three interceptions.

"We haven't had much contact with Kim's agent," said Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel. "But things could pick up next week."

If the Ravens are unable to re-sign Herring, they already have a viable replacement in Corey Harris. When Herring suffered an ankle bruise in the wild card victory over the Denver Broncos, Harris filled in the next two playoff games with little drop-off.

During the free-agency period, Herring has visited the Seattle Seahawks and the St. Louis Rams. Although Rams officials like the idea of having Herring at safety, they are unsure whether they can afford him.

"I could see myself here," Herring said to St. Louis reporters. "The Rams won in '99. We [the Ravens] won in 2000. And I could see myself coming here and winning another one.

"Who wouldn't want to keep winning one? The best thing I like about it here is the whole mind-set of winning. It's contagious."

Progress with Woodson

The Ravens remain confident that they will re-sign Woodson.

A nine-time Pro Bowl performer, he became a free agent when the team declined to pick up an option on his contract. Woodson, who turned 36 last week, had a salary cap number of $5 million and will likely return at a reduced rate.

"Eugene [Parker, Woodson's agent] and I are still negotiating," Newsome said. "It's progressing well."

End zone

The Ravens are reportedly $1.2 million under the league's $67.4 million salary cap. The league average is $3.17 million under the cap. ... It was a quiet day of negotiations involving Sharper. ... Backup outside linebacker Cornell Brown, an unrestricted free agent, visited the Rams on Monday. He replaced Peter Boulware as the strong-side linebacker on run-stopping situations throughout the season.

Reserve defensive end Keith Washington talked with the Kansas City Chiefs last week and has a meeting scheduled with the Buffalo Bills this week. Washington, who was cut by the Ravens on March 12, had 29 tackles during the regular season and blocked two field goals in the AFC divisional playoff win at Tennessee. ... Robert Bailey, a solid nickel back in his first season with the Ravens, is drawing some interest from the Miami Dolphins. He was another salary cap cut last week and played at the University of Miami.

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