Linemen Oben, Spears will pay Ravens a visit

Free agents considered for spot at right tackle

Pro Football

May 01, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The Ravens will bring in unrestricted free-agent offensive tackles Roman Oben and Marcus Spears for a look by the end of this week, team officials confirmed.

Oben, the starting left tackle for the Cleveland Browns last season, was released in a salary-cap move in February. Spears became a starter for the first time in his eight-year career last season with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Both would come to the Ravens at right tackle and compete for the starting job with Jason Thomas, a second-year player out of Hampton who has not started in the NFL.

Oben, 29, signed a three-year, $10.8 million contract in 2000, but was benched in Week 14 last year. Before then, he had started every game for four years (two with the Browns, two with the New York Giants). Oben was a third-round pick of the Giants in 1996.

The Washington Redskins have also shown an interest in Oben.

"He's been around the league for a while," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Having played against him, you obviously get a good feel for what he can do."

Spears, 30, was a career backup before last season - starting just twice in 48 games with the Chicago Bears and Chiefs. He was drafted in the second round in 1994, and has played some guard.

Spears has not ruled out re-signing with the Chiefs.

"He's a good athlete," Billick said. "He seems like a good fit."

Meanwhile, the Ravens lost safety Rod Woodson to the Oakland Raiders yesterday. Woodson reportedly signed a six-year deal that will pay him $1.75 million next season.

"It's a little bit of a surprise," Billick said. "I had anticipated Pittsburgh, and [Washington Redskins defensive coordinator] Marvin [Lewis] would have liked to have had Rod back."

So far, the Ravens are 1-for-1 in free-agent signings this off-season, having signed quarterback Jeff Blake to a one-year deal last week. Blake is the only major free agent to have visited.

NOTES: Ravens running back Derek Homer was named Offensive Player of the Week in NFL Europe. Homer rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown in the F.C. Barcelona Dragons' 30-27 win over Amsterdam.

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