McNair's case to be heard today in Tenn.

Ravens wait as QB seeks release from Titans

Pro football

May 16, 2006|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

As the Ravens begin their first veteran camp of the offseason today, their potential starting quarterback will be inside the Tennessee Titans' training complex.

Steve McNair's grievance against the Titans will be held this morning in Nashville, Tenn., where an arbitrator will decide whether the team breached its contract by barring him from working out at its facility.

The players' union, which filed the grievance on McNair's behalf, contends that the Titans must allow the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback into the complex or release him.

The arbitrator is not expected to make a ruling today.

"It is usually a few days after," said Richard Berthelsen, the NFL Players Association general counsel. "We don't know what this arbitrator will do, [but] the requirement is that they decide it within seven days."

The Ravens are not involved in the hearing, but they are an interested party.

They reportedly have reached an agreement in principle with McNair on a deal that will pay him an $11 million signing bonus. The terms were reached soon after the Ravens received permission from Tennessee to talk to McNair on draft day.

The Ravens, though, have been unable to complete a trade for McNair. It is believed the Ravens and the Titans have not spoken since the trade talks ended abruptly two weeks ago. The Ravens offered a fifth-round pick, and the Titans wanted nothing lower than a fourth.

If McNair wins his grievance, the arbitrator could order the Titans to allow him back into the facility or let him become a free agent.

Tennessee is expected to trade or release McNair eventually because he counts $23.46 million against its salary cap. The Titans, who are only $112,000 under the cap, need to reduce his cap number so they can sign draft picks and other free agents.

Asked whether the Titans have a plan in place for any result, general manager Floyd Reese told Tennessee reporters: "Always."

The arbitrator for the hearing is John Feerick, a former dean at Fordham's law school. Nine years ago, Feerick was the arbitrator who reduced Latrell Sprewell's original suspension after the NBA player's attack on coach P.J. Carlesimo.

Note -- The Ravens' spring football festival will be held Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children (under 12). Parking is free.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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