Stokley, C. Brown want to wear purple

Contracts expired, players hope to stay with Ravens

Pro Football

February 28, 2003|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

The contracts for receiver Brandon Stokley and linebacker Cornell Brown expired at midnight, but both unrestricted free agents said yesterday that they would like to return to the Ravens.

Stokley, a fourth-round draft pick by the Ravens in 1999, has caught 60 passes over four injury-marred seasons. He has always had the flair for producing in the clutch, beating New York Giants cornerback Jason Sehorn for the Ravens' first touchdown in Super Bowl XXXV and ending the Ravens' five-game touchdown drought in 2000 on his second career catch.

Stokley had pulled in 24 passes in the eight games last season before a foot injury sidelined him for the final seven games. The Ravens offered Stokley a one-year deal worth the league-minimum ($530,000), which led the team's fourth-leading receiver from last season to test the free-agent market.

"I'm just seeing if I'll get any better offers than I've gotten here," said Stokley, who will have the screws removed from his foot next week. "I'm not in the best position with a hurt foot. But I think I can do better than what is going on now.

"[But] I've said all along that I want to be here and that's what I hope."

Brown, who was out of football in 2001, was one of the bigger surprises for the team last season when he started 14 games. He could have more options this offseason with former Ravens coaches Marvin Lewis and Jack Del Rio in Cincinnati and Jacksonville, respectively.

"It's not like you're counting on anything," Brown said. "You just know you got people up in high positions.

"This is my home. This is where I feel the most comfortable. That's the best fit."

Unrestricted free agents

The following Ravens are no longer under contract and can sign with any team:

QB Jeff Blake WR Jeff Ogden

OT Ethan Brooks DE Riddick Parker

LB Cornell Brown WR Brandon Stokley

FB Sam Gash CB Robert Tate

LB Bernardo Harris CB James Trapp

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