McAlister signs 7-year contract


Ravens 17, Redskins 10


LANDOVER - Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister signed a new seven-year contract that will make him among the league's highest-paid cornerbacks, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said before last night's game.

"I think that if you're going to play good defense, you've got to have good corners," Newsome said. "It's just another one of our commitments to retaining as many of our players as we can as we move forward."

Said McAlister: "I'm glad everything was able to work out because there is definitely nowhere else I would like to play. It's something I don't have worry about next year when the offseason comes."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and McAlister's agent, Mitch Frankel, did not return phone calls last night.

The Broncos' Champ Bailey became the NFL's highest-paid cornerback earlier this year, when he signed a seven-year, $63 million contract that included an $18 million signing bonus.

"There's no doubt that he's going to be paid as one of the better cornerbacks in the league and one of the better defensive players in the league," Newsome said of McAlister's deal, which keeps him under contract through 2010.

McAlister, 27, missed all of training camp and the first three preseason games this summer to protest being named the team's franchise player for the second straight year, which essentially took him off the free-agent market.

The Ravens can use the franchise tag on another player again next year.

Entering last night's game, McAlister was the team's fifth-leading tackler and had intercepted one pass, returning it 51 yards for a touchdown in Week 2 against Pittsburgh.

A first-round pick in 1999, McAlister lived up to expectations of being a shut-down cornerback last season, when he was named to his first Pro Bowl. As the team's franchise player, he was scheduled to earn $7.1 million this season.

McAlister was the team's defensive captain last night, joining running back Jamal Lewis and special teams standout Harold Morrow.

After signing McAlister, Newsome said the Ravens will try to lock up their other cornerback, Gary Baxter, to an extension.

The Ravens also are in talks with offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden on a restructuring of his deal.


Making his first interception in prime time against his old team failed to move nickel back Deion Sanders.

Sanders returned to the field after missing the previous two games with a hamstring injury.

Redskins receiver Laveranues Coles was sent on a 50-yard go-route against Sanders, who was with him step-for-step and intercepted Mark Brunell's pass in the third quarter.

"It feels wonderful to get back on the field and help my teammates," Sanders said. "It didn't matter where we were. I'm too old to be moved by emotions of old teams. I've got too many old teams to be worried about."

Though Sanders signed a lucrative contract with the Redskins in 2000, Washington fans never embraced him, and they did not embrace him last night.


Brunell has had some of his most memorable moments as a Jacksonville Jaguar against the Ravens, but he was in no mood to reminisce last week.

In fact, Brunell, who has two of the top four all-time passing games against the Ravens, preferred to forget those battles.

"Regardless of anything that happened with the Jaguars, I've obviously had a lot of games against the Ravens, with some success," said Brunell, who was 13 of 29 for 83 yards last night. "At the same time, we've had our share of problems against the Ravens, too."


The fairy-tale story for unheralded Ravens tight end Daniel Wilcox was interrupted last night.

Wilcox was responsible for a Redskins field goal when the ball caromed off his hands and into the hands of Fred Smoot. The cornerback returned the interception 17 yards, and the Redskins moved 20 more to set up John Hall's 26-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Wilcox was one of the most inspiring stories of the season, winning a spot on the roster in training camp, then becoming a productive player during the season. He finished with two catches for 9 yards.


Ravens coaches seem to be growing more confident with Clarence Moore.

The Ravens' third receiver was the target of two deep passes in the first half, although neither was complete. Moore had a step on cornerback Shawn Springs on the first pass, but quarterback Kyle Boller's pass fell about 5 yards short and to the inside.

Moore beat Springs on nearly the same route later in the second quarter, but Boller overthrew him by 4 yards. Moore finished with two catches for 9 yards.


B.J. Sams did not stick around long to talk about his game-winning 78-yard punt return for a touchdown, but his teammates weren't at a loss for words.

Sams, not one for tooting his own horn, got dressed rather quickly and was one of the first on the team bus after the game.

Linebacker Ray Lewis and a host of others spoke for him.

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