Turning corner, team to cut Rolle

ravens

March 14, 2009|By Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston | Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com and mike.preston@baltsun.com

Samari Rolle's courageous run with the Ravens is coming to an end.

After overcoming epileptic seizures and a midseason neck surgery during his four years as a Ravens starting cornerback, Rolle told The Baltimore Sun yesterday that he will be released by the team Monday.

Rolle, 32, envisioned a diminished role after the team signed Domonique Foxworth on the first day of free agency.

"I anticipate [the release] happening. I'm happy," Rolle said. "Everyone got what they wanted out of this. I wish the Ravens nothing but the best of luck."

Rolle has been asked to take a physical at Ravens headquarters Monday, which is usually the last step before being released. General manager Ozzie Newsome would confirm only that the team is meeting with Rolle that day.

The latest move in a busy offseason for the Ravens means the team has parted ways with Rolle and McAlister, their starting cornerbacks from last season's opener. Deciding to get younger at cornerback, the Ravens will now start Foxworth and Fabian Washington (both of whom will be 26 by the start of the regular season).

To address depth at cornerback, the Ravens are believed to be looking at free agent Chris Carr (who is also a return specialist) and restricted free agent Jarrett Bush.

Cutting Rolle also frees up an additional $4.1 million in salary cap room. The Ravens, who will have $6 million in cap space once Rolle's release becomes official, could look to sign wide receiver Torry Holt, who was recently released by the St. Louis Rams.

Rolle, who signed with the Ravens in 2005 after seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans, intercepted eight passes for the Ravens but made more of an impact by overcoming obstacles.

During the past 16 months, he was diagnosed with epilepsy after three major seizures (November 2007), mourned the death of his father (July 2008) and required surgery on his injured neck (October 2008).

As a result, he missed about half of the Ravens' games the past two seasons (18 appearances in 35 games, including playoffs).

Rolle, who said he has the epilepsy under control with medication, injured his neck in the second game of the 2008 season but missed only six games after having surgery to repair a bulging disc. He also fought through injuries to his foot, ankle, shoulder and hamstring last season. A partial tear of his hip flexor sidelined him for the AFC championship game at Pittsburgh.

The Ravens were 10-2 in games Rolle played last season.

There is a possibility Rolle could reunite with New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, the Ravens' former defensive coordinator, as a nickel back. Rolle indicated during the playoffs that he would not retire.

Rolle first asked for his release March 1, two days after the Ravens signed Foxworth to a four-year, $27.2 million deal. Rolle was scheduled to make $4.1 million in 2009 and $4.5 million in 2010, the last year of a six-year deal.

"Honestly, I don't want to play in Baltimore anymore because I feel I'm not wanted," Rolle told The Baltimore Sun this month. "During the past two years, the Ravens have wanted to replace me, and the only man in the building that supported me was Rex."

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