Josh Wilson optimistic of returning

WOODLAWN -- Josh Wilson emerged as a starter last season on the Baltimore Ravens' defense because of his capability to shadow receivers' patterns. Now, the Baltimore Ravens cornerback is in a holding pattern as he awaits resolution from the NFL and the NFL Players Association as they continue to haggle over a new collective bargaining agreement.

Wilson's agent has conducted preliminary discussions with the team regarding a new contract. However, teams aren't allowed to sign players until the labor dispute is resolved.

"Everything I've got from the Ravens has been positive," Wilson said at the Ed Block Courage Awards banquet. "They want to work this thing out. Because of the rules, nothing can really happen. You've got the 30-percent rule and the unknown of what the salary cap is going to be. It's just a waiting game right now."

Wilson was assigned a restricted free agent tender, but that's likely to be rendered meaningless as he's expected to become an unrestricted free agent once the labor deal is reached. Wilson isn't the only free agent in the Ravens' secondary. Starting cornerback Chris Carr is also an unrestricted free agent, and the Ravens have had similar preliminary discussions with his agent.

Wilson envisions both players returning to work in tandem with Domonique Foxworth, who missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"Yeah, I could definitely see both me and Chris coming back," Wilson said. "It definitely worked out this year. We get Domonique back and we could be a force back there."

Acquired via a trade before last season from the Seattle Seahawks for a conditional fifth-round draft pick, Wilson started nine of the14 games he played in.

He replaced Fabian Washington in the starting lineup after Washington was benched permanently after struggling against the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins.

Wilson finished last season with three interceptions, 40 tackles and a career-high 15 pass deflections.

"Once I picked up the system, it was a transition for me for how the players liked to play, how Ed Reed likes to play," Wilson said. "Once I got rolling, I was feeling better and better. I want to take what I did at the end of last season and roll with that."

The former University of Maryland and DeMatha Catholic standout also intercepted a pas in the playoffs. The Ravens' season ended in the AFC divisional round with a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

"There's a couple things we could tighten up," Wilson said. "We need to finish. A lot of games we let get away, and that could have given us home-field advantage. It's going to be a test for us next year, if I'm here, to finish out those games."

Wilson has been paying close attention to the ongoing negotiations between the union and the league, talks that greatly affect his future.

There have already been two extensions to the talks in an attempt to stave off a potential lockout or union decertification.

"It's like a marriage," Wilson said. "As long as you're talking, it can still turn into a positive. When you stop talking, that's when people separate. My hope is we continue to talk to each other in a sensible way. If you put your ego aside, a lot of good things can happen."

Wilson emphasized that the players remain unified in solidarity behind NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.

"He's made us comfortable that we chose the right guy in trying to get this thing worked out," Wilson said. "He has our best interest in mind."

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