Ravens likely to cut Ricard

Fullback doesn't fit in new scheme

July 18, 2006|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

Once a major player in a dominant rushing attack, fullback Alan Ricard is no longer in the Ravens' plans.

Ricard is expected to be released before the Ravens report to training camp July 28 because of his declining health and the team's new direction on offense, a league source said yesterday.

The Ravens had planned on a different look for the offense, one that will rely more on H-back Daniel Wilcox and the versatility of fullback Justin Green, who impressed team officials during his rookie season.

Ricard, 29, will be remembered as the lead blocker for Jamal Lewis in 2003, paving the way for Lewis' 2,066-yard season (which is second best in NFL history). Last season, Ricard played only two games before being placed on injured reserve Oct. 28 because of injuries to both calves.

General manager Ozzie Newsome could not be reached for comment.

There were some trade talks involving Ricard, but no team wanted to give up a draft pick for a player who would eventually be released.

The Ravens waited to cut Ricard because he complained about a "pop" in his calf at the end of one of the minicamps. Ricard received a second opinion, which said he would need a couple of weeks to recover.

Ricard is expected to take a physical this week, perhaps as early as today. Once he passes, the Ravens will officially release him. The Ravens would have been required to pay an injury settlement to Ricard if he failed his physical.

A former practice squad player, Ricard developed into one of the top blockers in the NFL, becoming a Pro Bowl alternate in 2003. He signed a contract extension in 2004 that included a $1 million signing bonus, but he played only 18 games after signing the new deal.

There had been some controversy surrounding the Ravens not playing Ricard last season when their rushing attack struggled for most of the season. Team officials said he had not recovered from a preseason calf injury, but Ricard insisted he was medically fine to play.

Ricard was limited in this year's offseason workouts, never participating in team drills. jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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