Receiver Johnson, 4th-round choice, agrees to contract

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

He's first of 10 picks in fold as camp starts next week

Pro Football

July 19, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

The Ravens took their first step in locking up their draft picks yesterday, agreeing in principle with fourth-round receiver Ron Johnson.

The first of the Ravens' 10 draft picks to reach terms, Johnson agreed to a three-year deal worth $1.18 million, which includes a $277,000 signing bonus. With players reporting to training camp Thursday night, the Ravens have seven days to reach deals with nine draft picks.

A four-year starter at the University of Minnesota, Johnson finished with a school-record 198 receptions for 3,039 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Slotted as the Ravens' third receiver, he is looking to compete with Brandon Stokley for a starting job.

"He showed what he can do in minicamp," said Doug Hendrickson, Johnson's agent. "With Travis Taylor as the No. 1 guy, I think Ron has a great shot to be the No. 2 guy. He's excited."

Freeman eyes return home

Another receiver looking to land with the Ravens is free agent Antonio Freeman. The former Green Bay Packers wide-out and Poly graduate is waiting for his hometown Ravens to clear some salary cap room to sign him.

"Baltimore is just the ideal place for me," Freeman said to the Wisconsin State Journal. "My whole thing is, I want to be the guy that catches 70, 80 balls. Where can I go and have that type of an impact? I think Baltimore is a place [where] I could be that guy."

Freeman understands that the Ravens have no cap space until they restructure the contracts of linebackers Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware, and he even has had conversations with Lewis about the situation. Freeman indicated that he is willing to wait to make a decision after camp starts.

When asked about Freeman's comments, Ravens senior vice president of football operations Ozzie Newsome said, "There's a number of players who have been interested in coming to Baltimore, but we've been unable to get anything done because of our cap situation."

End zone

Anthony Poindexter, a special teams performer on the Ravens' Super Bowl champion team two years ago, will be a graduate assistant for the University of Virginia football team. Poindexter, 25, was out of football last season. ... If defensive tackle Sam Adams signs with the Cincinnati Bengals, he would become the 18th player from last year's Ravens team to go elsewhere.

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