3-year deal keeps Thomas a Raven

Pro Bowl pick `excited'

no offer made to Sapp

Pro Football

March 20, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Linebacker Adalius Thomas signed a three-year contract with the Ravens yesterday. Thomas started 11 games last season and recorded 34 tackles, four sacks and eight defended passes.

Thomas, 26, made the Pro Bowl on special teams after registering 23 tackles, the best of any Raven. He missed the game because of injury.

Heading into his fifth season out of Southern Mississippi, Thomas drew interest from at least one unidentified team but said from the outset of free agency that his first priority was to stay with the Ravens. "I'm excited about having the opportunity to remain with this team and make a Super Bowl run," he said.

Thomas likely will head into training camp as the top backup at both outside linebacker positions behind Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs. He missed the final three games of the regular season last year after sustaining an elbow injury in a collision with Ray Lewis against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 7.

Thomas had season-ending surgery but will be available by the team's first minicamp in late April.

The Ravens will continue to use Thomas in third-down situations, rushing the passer from the defensive tackle position.

"It's like some of our other players that we drafted and developed and watch grow as a player and a person," pro personnel director George Kokinis said. "He certainly brings a dimension on third downs with his ability to move inside, outside, spy, chase and come off the edge. That helps our defense as well as his contributions, as everyone knows, to special teams. Having a caliber player like that, along with a guy that is good in the community, is good to have back with us."

Meanwhile, Ravens officials confirmed that the team has yet to make an offer for Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp.

Sapp's name, though, has been linked with the Ravens and a handful of other teams through much of the offseason.

Published reports have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agent wanting to have a signed contract by the end of this week, but it is likely that Sapp will remain a free agent for at least another week. Sapp wrote on his Web site that the Ravens were one of six teams he was considering.

Sapp reportedly is mulling over a four-year, $16 million offer from the Bengals. The Ravens, meanwhile, have had only preliminary discussions with Sapp's agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

Rosenhaus could not be reached for comment.

Sapp, 31, is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection. The Buccaneers are no longer in the running to re-sign Sapp.

Also, the Ravens have expressed interest in Washington Redskins receiver Darnerien McCants, who is a restricted free agent, according to his agent, Harold Lewis.

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