Ravens point to July 26 deadline

Team officials want deals for R. Lewis, Boulware done by training camp

Pro Football

July 02, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

With little progress in the negotiations of the contracts for linebackers Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware, Ravens officials are pointing to the first day of training camp - July 26- as an unofficial deadline for the deals to get restructured.

The Ravens have been talking with agents Eugene Parker and Roosevelt Barnes, who represent Lewis and Boulware, this off-season in hopes of signing both players to long-term deals. That move would also provide millions of dollars of salary cap relief that would allow the team to sign at least one major free agent.

"The outlook is different with each passing day, although it really hasn't changed much from what we will be able to do," said Ravens coach Brian Billick, who is on vacation but made a brief appearance at the team's training facility yesterday. "I don't know that it will [change] drastically from now until the beginning of training camp. So there's no real time crunch that way.

"Certainly, we'd like to get it done. All parties would like to not go into training camp with this hanging there. In fact, in all likelihood, if we don't have this done by training camp, we very likely may all mutually decide to table this until the end of the year. None of us want that. But I don't think any of us want to deal with this during the season, either."

Lewis is under contract for the next two years, Boulware just next season. Billick also said the focus will soon shift to signing the team's 10 draft picks. The Ravens are one of 16 teams in the league who have not signed any of their draft choices.

"That will take up to the 11th hour," Billick said. "That's how it always goes. Why it can't be done now, who knows?"

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