Re-signing S. Adams looms large for Ravens

Commentary

May 10, 2002|By MIKE PRESTON

A DAY for rumbling and ranting:

The Ravens are involved in negotiations with linebackers Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware about restructuring deals, but probably the biggest key for the defense in the 2002 season would be re-signing former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sam Adams.

Boulware has a year remaining on his contract, and Lewis has two. They might hold out of training camp, but they'll play in the regular season despite not getting new deals. But the Ravens don't have a run-stopper on the defensive line.

Right now, the starting defensive line would be on the light side with right end Michael McCrary at 260 (that's 10 pounds too generous), nose guard Kelly Gregg at 285 and rookie Tony Weaver around 300.

There is concern that Weaver would wear down in a 16-game schedule, and McCrary has had four knee surgeries during his career. Gregg played well in limited action last season, but he lacks bulk, especially in the lower half of his body.

There is no big-body run-stopper.

Adams, who was listed at 330 last year, would start at left end if re-signed by the Ravens, but he could redefine the nose guard position with that explosive first step and penetration. But Adams is also a free-lancer, which might end up allowing too many blockers on Lewis.

"We've had conversations. Right now, we don't have enough cap room to accommodate a Sam Adams-type contract," said Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' senior vice president of football operations. "We're talking and interested in reacquiring him."

Newsome said there might be room if the team comes to terms with Boulware and Lewis, but there is no set timetable. All three players are represented by agent Eugene Parker. Newsome, though, did say the club was prepared to pay Lewis and Boulware at their current contract figures for the coming season.

Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Washington have an interest in Adams. Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis and Adams didn't get along well when they were in Baltimore, but they put their differences aside on game day.

Now, while on the subject of the Ravens, it was amusing to hear the Ravens claim how Kansas City offensive lineman Marcus Spears backed out of a recent deal when the Ravens pulled a similar stunt on quarterback Elvis Grbac. The Ravens got beat out by Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson, who has been known to sidestep league protocol when it comes to negotiations.

Johns Hopkins lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala was a sophomore on the last Blue Jays team to win a national title, in 1987. Winning a national championship in 2002 would bring much-needed relief to a school whose name is synonymous with the sport, and everyone on campus is an expert.

Hopkins has an opening-round bye this weekend before meeting the winner of Massachusetts-Fairfield game.

"You know what? For some people it would be a relief, for me it would be a storybook ending, and it would just be great for our staff and players who have had to overcome a lot of adversity," Pietramala said. "We have a lot of freshmen playing at a tough academic school, playing the toughest schedule in Division I. We have to be emotionally charged every week to play because one week it's Princeton, the next it's Syracuse, and then it's Virginia.

"I didn't recognize this as a player, but I do now as a coach how difficult it is to get ready every week," Pietramala said. "People will say we play an Ohio State or a Villanova, but we're going to get that team's best effort. We haven't won a title in a while, but how many teams have? We're not alone. But it's good we're still among the top."

If I were a betting man, I would wager that heavyweight chump Mike Tyson won't make it to his early June title bout against Lennox Lewis in Memphis . Tyson hasn't had a good fight in years, and only hangs around the game because of the Iron Man reputation.

But if he steps into the ring against Lewis, the image and the man will get chopped in half. So Tyson has to find a way out, like biting another ear or taking a chunk of meat out of someone's thigh.

He began setting the stage over the weekend at a training camp in Hawaii. That's where he said he wanted to stomp on the private parts of reporters so "they could feel my pain," and told a female television reporter he normally doesn't "do interviews with women unless I fornicate with them."

Tyson has become The Greatest Freak Show in all of sports.

Let me get this straight: One day Orioles team doctors tell David Segui he has a torn tendon in his left wrist, and the next day team officials tell the media it's just a bruise.

So now, Segui is irritated.

Why? I don't know.

Segui, 35, is playing for a team that isn't going to the playoffs, and his body is breaking down more than an old Yugo. He played in only 82 games last season, and has already missed 10 this season because of injuries.

Don't get mad, get richer. Just be happy that some team is still paying you an average of $7 million when most pros your age have already retired. As for the Orioles, stop lying.

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