Ravens cut Brookins, leaving hole in backfield

Weight, other issues cost backup spot with club

May 21, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Fed up with Jason Brookins' weight problem - plus other, unspecified issues - the Ravens withdrew their contract offer to the backup running back yesterday, putting him on waivers.

The move left the Ravens without an experienced NFL running back behind starter Jamal Lewis. The one-year offer was worth $300,000. If a team does not claim Brookins by this evening, he will become an unrestricted free agent.

"Jason just didn't figure into our plans," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It's been a process. There are a number of factors involved. I really don't want to expand on any one aspect or not. It is in our best interest and Jason's that he try and hook on someplace else.

"This was not prompted by any one specific instance. This was not he did something, I'm reacting to it, and he's being cut. This is just a combination of circumstances with regards to Jason where we just think it is better to go in another direction."

In April, Brookins was charged with second-degree assault by his former girlfriend, Claudia Garcia of Falls Church, Va. Garcia alleged in court documents that Brookins struck her on the shoulder, thigh and ankle after an argument April 14.

Brookins' attorney, Carey Deeley, said last week that Brookins denies the allegations.

Brookins, who was listed at 235 pounds last season, upset Ravens management when he showed up at minicamp last month overweight. Before being let go yesterday, Brookins said he was down to 247, but the 10-pound loss was not enough to keep his job.

After practice, Billick summoned Brookins, 26, to his office and informed him of the team's decision. Brookins could not be reached to comment.

Now the Ravens will likely have to wait to sign a veteran running back until next month, when Atlanta's Jamal Anderson and Detroit's James Stewart are expected to be released. Former Carolina back Richard Huntley also could draw interest from the Ravens.

The two marquee free agents are former Green Bay Packer Dorsey Levens and former Seattle Seahawk Ricky Watters, but both are on the down side of their careers and might demand more than what the Ravens are willing to pay.

If the Ravens were to play today, Tellis Redmon, an undrafted rookie free agent, and sixth-round pick Chester Taylor would be the top backups.

The Ravens may have felt more comfortable about letting Brookins leave after watching Lewis run virtually limp-free yesterday. Lewis looked far better than he did in April.

"I'm able to do a lot more because I've been able doing my off-season training, working pretty hard on the football drills and things that I'm really going to need," Lewis said. "I'll be 100 percent by training camp."

Sun staff writer Del Quentin Wilber contributed to this article.

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