Billick gets one-year extension

announcement to come next week

April 20, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

The Ravens have finalized a one-year contract extension with coach Brian Billick.

Billick, with the second-highest winning percentage among active coaches in the NFL, has three years remaining on his original three years. In effect, the extension gives him a new four-year deal that would expire after the 2005 season.

The club is expected to make an announcement next week once the deal is officially signed.

"It's gone very quickly and very smoothly," Billick said yesterday. "It was very generous on their part."

In his first head coaching job, Billick, 47, compiled a 35-19 record (.648) and captured a Super Bowl title in January 2001. Only the St. Louis Rams' Mike Martz (25-9, .735) has a better record over the past three seasons.

The extension shows a strong vote of confidence in Billick as the team enters its rebuilding phase. The Ravens have lost 13 starters from last season and have 35 players on their 53-man roster.

Before Billick arrived in January 1999, the Ravens were 16-31-1 in the franchise's first three seasons under coach Ted Marchibroda. The team didn't finish higher than fourth in the AFC Central.

In three seasons under Billick, the Ravens have not had a losing season and became the first NFL franchise to win its first five postseason games. This past season, the Ravens managed to advance to the AFC divisional playoffs despite starters missing a league-high 54 games in the regular season.

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