Ex-Brown J. Miller takes look at Ravens

'01 Pro Bowl linebacker out last year with injury

Ravens

April 03, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Former Pro Bowl outside linebacker Jamir Miller visited the Ravens yesterday, the third ex-Cleveland Browns starter to do so this offseason.

The Ravens had success in persuading cornerback/safety Corey Fuller and offensive tackle Orlando Brown to sign last month and are optimistic the same result will play out with Miller.

Miller, who said he was impressed with the Ravens' staff and the team's plan on how he will be used, wants to make a decision as soon as possible. The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also thought to be in the running for Miller, who passed a physical yesterday with the Ravens. He said he has no more visits planned with any other team.

"It's a well-run organization with good leadership," Miller said of the Ravens. "That is what I saw.

"I want to find a home, a place where I can play and a place where I can excel and have fun playing the game. I definitely have that feeling from here."

Miller, 29, missed all of last season after tearing an Achilles' tendon in the first preseason game and was released by the Browns on Feb. 27, the day he was due a $14 million roster bonus.

He joined a free-agent pool that featured linebacker as possibly the strongest position, with Mike Peterson, Rosevelt Colvin, Shawn Barber, Takeo Spikes and Kevin Hardy all signing lucrative contracts.

With those players signed, Miller is probably the best available linebacker, one who would likely challenge Cornell Brown for his outside starting position.

More important, his signing would give the Ravens a second legitimate pass rusher along with Peter Boulware. On passing downs, the Ravens would likely move Miller to the defensive end position opposite Boulware, which was previously occupied by Michael McCrary. Although Miller, at 6 feet 5, 255 pounds, said he was open to being an every-down lineman, the Ravens would likely keep him primarily at linebacker.

"The fact that he can play standing up or down, that is really what a 3-4 [defensive formation] linebacker is," defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. "Jamir has not played in this scheme thus far in his career; nonetheless, it is probably one that fits him as good as any.

"With Michael McCrary not being in the picture at this point, we certainly need to complement Peter on the other side."

Miller tore an Achilles' tendon in the Browns' preseason opener at Minnesota, but he said he has recovered from the injury. Miller was coming off a 13-sack season and the only Pro Bowl appearance of his nine-year career.

Although contract negotiations with Miller's agent, Leigh Steinberg, are continuing, the Ravens are projected to be offering a three- to five-year deal, and Miller will likely command a $2 million-to-$4 million signing bonus.

"Like Corey Fuller, he brings a very specific asset for us; where he would fit in, what his experiences are," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "So we are very excited about having him here. Hopefully we can move along very quickly. There are other teams interested, but we hope to have something done by mid-week next week, but that is up to them and how they want to proceed."

Miller's first option would have been to re-sign with the Browns, where he has spent the past four years after playing the first five at Arizona. But that is a long shot now, and both he and Cleveland seem resigned to parting ways. Miller has 36 career sacks and six 100-plus tackle seasons.

The Ravens are thought to be the front-runners in landing Miller after expressing initial interest in him during the league owners' meetings last week.

"He's very strong at the point of attack in the running game and he's a good pass rusher on the outside," Nolan said. "He makes a lot of plays, not just on first effort but on second effort, which is really big. ... He's big, strong, stout, serious about football and a veteran, which is critical to our young defense."

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