Free Agent No More

The draft over, there were still Huskers waiting to see if they would get their turn, getting picked up in free agency. Well, one did, as you would expect, Cory Ross deciding where he'd go. The former Husker back is heading east.

Before the 2006 NFL Draft was even over, Cory Ross' phone was ringing off the hook, a variety of teams calling him with interest in signing him to their teams. Amongst the group were the Colts, one of the teams seemingly the most interested in Ross, dating back to the combine and pro day at Nebraska.

The team that ultimately got him, however, was Baltimore. Ross said that his reasons for heading there was simply a matter of numbers. "I just looked at their running back situation and they didn't take a back in the draft," Ross said. "Plus, they have guys like Jamal Lewis and Mike Anderson, who are both older players."

"I just looked at everything and it felt like the place I needed to be."

Ross will join fellow Husker, punter Sam Koch as Nebraska's former punter was picked up by the Ravens in the sixth round of the draft.

Ross said of former teammates, offensive linemen Seppo Evwaraye, that he also got picked up and he'll be trying to make the Carolina Panthers in the future.

Ross said that he's scheduled to report to Baltimore May 13.

When he arrives, he'll be greeted by that depth chart, which is one of the main reasons he decided on joining the Ravens. You have the Ravens main back, Jamal Lewis going into his eighth year as a pro, but it's been the recent years, which haven't been kind.

Injuries have sidelined Lewis some, but have limited him almost completely, the one-time 2,000+ yard-in-a-season-running back, coming off a 2005 season that saw him run for under 1,000 yards.

The other main contender for the spot is recent acquisition Mike Anderson from the Denver Broncos. Anderson's addition helps the Ravens, but at 34 years old, the seven year veteran is probably not a realistic player for extended duty for the Ravens, though, he does give them an every down back.

Third year veterans Musa Smith out of Georgia and B.J. Sams out of McNeese State, make up the rest of the running back position on the team.

As to the return spot, where Ross is probably most likely to get the best look, that's actually not a horrible spot for the Ravens, Sams ranking as one of the best punt return men in the conference and he led the team in kickoff return average last year.

Ross will get his shot, though, and with his elusiveness, ability to play in space and make just about anyone miss in one-on-one situations, he might once again prove his detractors wrong. "I've been dealing with that my whole career," Ross said of the stereotypes concerning his size. "In high school I was too short to do something and in college, it was the same thing. But I proved everyone I could do the job and I plan on doing it again."

"Just give me my shot and you'll see that you got a good player, who's going to give everything he has. That's what I plan to do in Baltimore."


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