Billick's deal: 4 years

Length of new contract emerges month after extension announced

February 22, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun Reporter

Just over a month after announcing a contract extension for Brian Billick, the Ravens confirmed yesterday that they have given their head coach a new four-year contract.

A week from his 53rd birthday, Billick is now signed through the 2010 season.

The new deal was first reported by WBAL Radio, which cited unnamed sources. The team's flagship radio station indicated that the Ravens will pay Billick "the going rate" for an NFL head coach (which is believed to be about $5 million per season).

The news of a multi-year contract comes 35 days after the Ravens had announced an extension for Billick.

In a two-sentence e-mail to reporters Jan. 17, the team said it had "extended" Billick's contract and "no details will be publicly announced or discussed."

A team spokesman said that the e-mail "wording" was from the public relations department and not the front office.

The Sun reported Feb. 1 that according to two league sources Billick had received a one-year extension worth $5.4 million, which secured him through 2008.

Billick disputed the report on WBAL a day later but wouldn't specifically reveal the length or financial terms of the contract. He would say only that it was a "substantial commitment."

According to the Ravens' Web site, team president Dick Cass sent out an e-mail to team employees Feb. 12 that disputed reports about Billick's extension and added that the Ravens had given him a four-year contract.

Before reaching a new deal, Billick had one year left on his existing contract.

Ravens officials - Billick, Cass and owner Steve Bisciotti - would not comment on the new contract, a team spokesman said.

Billick has repeatedly said there is a reason for not revealing details of his contract.

"We don't ever want my contract to be an issue for the organization or the players," Billick said. "It's best for the team for it not to be an issue."

Billick is going into his ninth Ravens season, which is tied for the third-longest tenure in the NFL.

There were doubts about Billick's long-term future with the team when he entered last season. But he turned a 6-10 team in 2005 to a 13-3 one this season, earning the highest playoff seed (No. 2) in team history.

The Ravens flopped in the postseason, losing to the Indianapolis Colts, 15-6, at M&T Bank Stadium. It was the third straight postseason loss for Billick, who has one playoff victory since winning the Super Bowl in January 2001.

Before Billick arrived in January 1999, the Ravens were 16-31-1 in the club's first three seasons under coach Ted Marchibroda and hadn't finished higher than fourth in the AFC Central.

In eight seasons under Billick, the Ravens have reached the playoffs four times, capturing their first Super Bowl title in the 2000 season and winning the AFC North in 2003 and 2006.

"We are comfortable going forward," Bisciotti said at the team's season-ending news conference Jan. 30, which occurred two weeks after the Ravens announced that they had extended Billick's contract. "I told you guys a few years ago I wanted Brian to be my coach for the next 15 years. We put a good chunk of that on the table, and I think he's capable of being that coach."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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