Rogers unlikely to fall to Ravens at No. 10

Receiver tested positive for masking agent in Feb.

Pro Football

April 15, 2003|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

The odds of Charles Rogers falling to the Ravens at the No. 10 pick remain long, but the possibility of landing the draft's top-rated receiver has become more intriguing.

The former Michigan State star tested positive for a masking agent - which is meant to dilute urine and skew drug tests - when he was tested in February, Rogers' agent, Kevin Poston, acknowledged yesterday.

Poston said Rogers, who could be put in the evaluation stage of the NFL's substance-abuse program, had excessive water in his urine when he took the test. The NFL told Rogers that excessive water is regarded as a masking agent under the league's drug policy.

In 1995, rumors of failed tests by Warren Sapp caused the defensive tackle to slide to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 12. Three years later, the legal problems of receiver Randy Moss caused him to plummet to the Minnesota Vikings - which had Ravens coach Brian Billick on their staff - at No. 21.

But a similar free fall is not expected to occur with Rogers. If the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans surprisingly pass on him at No. 2 and 3 because of this incident, the Jacksonville Jaguars probably will pounce on him with the eighth pick.

The Ravens, who are looking to upgrade their receiving corps, don't anticipate Rogers to be available when they draft but would look hard at him if he fell to them. The personnel and coaching staff will have two more meetings to shore up their draft board, and character issues will be among the topics discussed.

"We'll be prepared for all different scenarios," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Having been involved with drafts before, we have seen players start to fall for whatever reason. So, we've been down that road. We will be prepared to answer that question on draft day."

Rogers is an electric playmaker who averaged 20.4 yards a catch and scored 25 times in his two seasons with Michigan State.

"The guy has the size and long-distance speed that people are looking for," said Phil Savage, Ravens director of player personnel.

Meanwhile, the Ravens still intend to address the receiver position before the draft and have a longstanding offer on the table for free agent Frank Sanders, an eight-year veteran from the Arizona Cardinals.

Even if a deal with Sanders continues to drag, the Ravens don't expect to actively pursue underachieving San Francisco 49ers receiver J.J. Stokes, who is expected to be released June 1.

NOTE: The Ravens will conduct their third Football 101 - a series of classes designed to help teach women the intricacies of the game - tonight from 6 to 8 at Ravens Stadium.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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