Ravens' Gregg rewarded with four-year extension

Team shows its appreciation of `best technician'

April 26, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

In the midst of trying to extend linebacker Terrell Suggs' contract, the Ravens secured the long-term services of another valuable member of the defense yesterday.

Nose tackle Kelly Gregg agreed on a four-year extension with the Ravens that will run through the 2011 season, a team official confirmed to The Sun last night. The unexpected agreement could allow Gregg to finish his career with the Ravens.

One of the most underrated players on last season's top-ranked defense, Gregg was the team's fourth-leading tackler and anchored the middle of the line. He has led all NFL interior linemen in tackles the past five seasons, averaging 97 during that span.

"He's the best technician of any defensive lineman in the league," said defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who has coached Gregg since both were at the University of Oklahoma. "All of his teammates know how good he is."

The Ravens showed how much they value Gregg by rewarding him with an extension they did not have to give.

Gregg, 30, was signed for the next two seasons and was scheduled to earn $1.4 million this season and $1.7 million next year.

A one-time practice-squad player, Gregg broke into the starting lineup in 2002 when Tony Siragusa retired and Sam Adams was released.

Often overlooked because of his relatively small frame (6 feet, 310 pounds), Gregg offsets his lack of bulk with great strength and leverage.

Gregg has been one of the most consistent players on the Ravens, recording 100 tackles in three of the past four seasons. The only other Raven to have as many 100-tackle seasons since 2003 is linebacker Ray Lewis, who also has done it three times.

Still, Gregg has never been voted to a Pro Bowl.

"Based on the people you talk to after we play them, it should be a guarantee," coach Brian Billick said in December.

The agreement with Gregg comes during a busy month.

A few weeks ago, the Ravens signed Ryan to a two-year contract that made him one of the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the NFL. The team also has begun talks with Suggs on an extension that would keep him from becoming a free agent at the end of the season.


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