Ravens host linebacker Jamir Miller

OWINGS MILLS - Isolating blocking schemes to account for Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Peter Boulware didn't always give opposing offensive coordinators the satisfaction they sought. Yet, the declining health of defensive end Michael McCrary often left Boulware in an unenviable position last season. The Pro Bowl selection became the marked man in the Ravens' pass rush. Now, the Ravens have embarked on a pursuit of former Pro Bowl outside linebacker Jamir Miller.

The Ravens hope Miller will alleviate that problem with his versatility to drop into coverage or chase the quarterback.

"Him and Peter coming off that edge," Ravens coach Brian Billick said, "that's quite a duo, in my opinion."

An unrestricted free agent who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles' tendon, Miller visited the Ravens' training complex Wednesday and left without signing a contract. Miller was released by the Cleveland Browns last month on the same day a $14 million roster bonus became due.

The Ravens' chief competition for Miller's services are the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs, both of whom the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder has already visited.

Miller, 29, said the Ravens figuratively rolled out the red carpet for him and left him with a lot to mull over while his agent, Leigh Steinberg, begins to swap contract proposals.

"I think it's a very viable option," Miller said. "The situation here is one that is conducive to winning and that's what I want to do. I want to find a place to win. "There's always a time table in any deal or situation. There might be some wild cards that pop up, but this is my last trip. I think all of the negotiations are about to begin and whoever is in is in."

In 2001, Miller made his first Pro Bowl with a career-high 13 sacks to go along with 101 tackles, four forced fumbles and an interception. During the first exhibition game last summer, Miller tore the Achilles' tendon without being touched and missed the entire season after undergoing successful surgery.

"I'm feeling great," Miller said. "The injury is not an issue at all. I can still run fast."

 Primarily, the nine-year veteran's sacks came from the line of scrimmage in 2001 with him operating out of a lineman's 3-point stance. Miller carries a reputation for excelling as an open-field tackler, too.

"The fact that he played up and down is really what a 3-4 outside linebacker is all about," Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. "Jamir has not played in this scheme thus far in his career in the true sense, but, nonetheless, he's probably one that fits in as well as any.

"He's a big man. He's strong at the point in the running game and he's a good pass rusher on the outside. He's serious about football and he's a veteran."

If they can sign Miller, the Ravens could create a situation with the flexibility of Miller playing end or outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.

Boulware led the Ravens with seven sacks last season, but the team collectively totaled only 33 compared to opponents' 41. Rookie Tony Weaver was second with 3.5 sacks followed by inside linebacker Edgerton Hartwell and end Adalius Thomas' three sacks apiece.

The Ravens obviously want to grant Boulware some breathing room as McCrary is probably headed toward retirement after June 1 because of chronically ailing knees.

"If you had someone on both sides, at least one of them is looking at a good situation," Nolan said. "With McCrary not being in the picture, we certainly need to complement Peter on the other side."

Miller is a former first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals who was a Butkus Award finalist and an All-American at UCLA. His combination of size and speed has added up to 36 career sacks.

Miller had also engineered six consecutive years of 100 or more tackles prior to missing last season, and the Ravens said they would like to complete a deal with him as soon as next week.

"We're very excited about having him here," Billick said. "We're hopeful we can move on him fairly quickly."

NOTE: The Ravens said they are close to finalizing a deal with unrestricted free agent inside linebacker Bernardo Harris with just a few more details left to iron out. ESPN.com reported Tuesday that Harris has agreed in principle to a one-year contract worth $680,000 that includes a $25,000 signing bonus.

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