R. Johnson takes tour of Ravens

Ex-Charger could help at defensive end position

March 16, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Looking to add depth and experience to a relatively young defensive line, the Ravens brought in former San Diego Chargers end Raylee Johnson for a visit to the team's training facility yesterday.

Johnson, 33, has spent the past 11 years as a part-time starter for the Chargers, where he recorded 46 career sacks. The Chargers cut Johnson earlier this month to avoid paying his $3.25 million salary next season after the sides failed to reach an agreement on a restructured contract.

In Johnson, the Ravens would be getting someone with four more years in the NFL than Tony Weaver, Marques Douglas and backup Jarret Johnson have combined. Raylee Johnson would be used as a situational pass rusher if he signs with the Ravens.

"I'm excited about it," said Johnson, who missed the final nine games last season because of a foot injury. "I saw the defense, saw where I could fit in."

Johnson, the second free agent to visit the Ravens (following offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam), had been a starter since 1999 but lost his job heading into last season to Adrian Dingle. He finished the year with just 13 tackles but four sacks.

"I feel like I'm 90 percent, if not higher," Johnson said. "I'm running pretty good, so I'm comfortable with that."

Johnson said he will visit the Denver Broncos today and could meet with the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders later.

He did, however, say he wants to sign with a team as soon as possible and was encouraged with his time with the Ravens. Johnson's visit did not include talks with coach Brian Billick or general manager Ozzie Newsome, both of whom were away on vacation and league meetings, respectively.

"Hopefully we'll all get together, and I'm sure we will," Johnson said.

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