For openers, Ravens may not have any holdouts

Edwards, Darling, Green reach terms

only 2 to go

July 27, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

For a change, the Ravens will not have to deal with their usual opening-day nuisance.

Three days away from the first practices of training camp, the Ravens have reached agreements with five of their seven draft selections, including second-round pick Dwan Edwards and third-round choice Devard Darling.

Edwards agreed to a five-year contract projected to be around $3.5 million with a $1.5 million signing bonus, while Darling signed a three-year contract believed to be worth around $1.5 million and approximately a $600,000 signing bonus. Linebacker Roderick Green (fifth round) also agreed in principle on a three-year deal yesterday.

Sixth-round pick Clarence Moore and seventh-round pick Derek Abney are the only players who have not agreed to terms, but Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome remains "very optimistic" all of the deals will get done by the start of camp.

If that is the case, it will be just the second time in team history the Ravens will have all their picks at the start of the first practice.

Five out of the eight years, the opening practice of training camp had been overshadowed by the absence of the team's first-round pick. Without a first-round selection this year, getting the picks under contract proved to be easier.

"If we would have had a first-rounder, we probably would have been in that situation where people see what other people are going to do," Newsome said. "In that we didn't have a one, it went pretty smooth."

While the rookies will put on the pads to begin the fight for the 53 roster spots, three other Ravens will wage a different kind of battle.

Quarterback Anthony Wright, linebacker Peter Boulware and tight end Trent Smith will not be sweating themselves back in shape, but instead, rehabilitating injuries.

The likelihood of the players returning before the end of camp ranges from no chance for Wright, to a small chance for Boulware to highly probable for Smith.

All three are expected to be put on the physically unable to perform list. Unlike in the regular season - when a player is forced to miss the first six games if placed on the PUP list - players can be removed from the list at any time when healthy enough and allowed to practice during training camp.

Smith, who broke his leg in the first preseason game last year against the Buffalo Bills, will likely join the Ravens sooner than later.

"Trent Smith, we will have to see where he is when he comes in," Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf said. "Prior to him leaving, he was doing pretty good. If everything progresses, he might be out there. We may put him on PUP [in training camp] and fail him on his physical. We'll let him work around, increase some of the load and see where he goes from there."

As for Wright, who had shoulder surgery in May to repair a torn labrum, and Boulware, who had surgery on his right knee in January, this camp is about getting stronger.

"It will be conditioning, strengthening and meetings," Tessendorf said.

There is a chance the Ravens could place Boulware on the PUP list heading into the regular season if his rehabilitation takes a step backward. The team originally hoped to have Boulware in a limited capacity by the season opener, but if he is unable to go the first few weeks of the season, Ravens officials could choose to use that roster spot on another player.

"Right now, I don't know what we are going to do with Peter because we have to see where his progress is," Tessendorf said. "If Peter comes in and is progressing extremely well, then maybe it would be worth carrying him on the active roster so he can play in the second or third game."

Wright will definitely be placed on the PUP list at the end of the preseason, but Smith should be available for the regular season barring a setback.

In fact, the Ravens are hoping to get Smith ready in time to play in the first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons (Aug. 12). Smith is slated to be the third tight end, and his role takes on added importance this year with the loss of John Jones to the Miami Dolphins.

Two other players limited by injuries during the offseason workouts, Ray Lewis (thumb) and Gary Baxter (hernia), should be ready for training camp.

NOTES: Sixth-round pick Josh Harris signed his three-year, $982,000 contract. Seventh-round pick Brian Rimpf also signed a three-year, $944,070 contract.

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