Ravens reach agreement with Marcus Robinson

OWINGS MILLS – Concluding a short courtship, the Baltimore Ravens reached an agreement in principle with former Chicago Bears wide receiver Marcus Robinson. In terms of competition for the one-time Pro Bowl alternate, the Ravens won out over seven franchises by reaching a one-year accord potentially worth as much as $800,000, according to agent Ken Sarnoff. Robinson, 28, caught 84 passes for 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns in 1999 for the Bears, but injuries ultimately led to his release.

He tore his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in 2001, but returned last year. He passed the Ravens' physical.

"Marcus will provide more veteran experience to our receiving corps," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Our experiences with players coming off surgery, the second year they seem to be able to get back to the level of performance they were playing at before the surgery.

"If that is the case with Marcus, this will be a really nice addition to us."

Robinson visited the Ravens' training complex Wednesday and made his decision one day later after embarking on an exhaustive tour of the league that included trips to Arizona, Oakland, San Francisco and Detroit.

The contract includes $600,000 in base salary, a $100,000 signing bonus and an additional $100,000 in incentives, Sarnoff said, noting that Robinson could earn $50,000 if he catches 40 passes and another $50,000 with 50 receptions this fall.

Robinson was actually in Green Bay after a workout for the Packers when the deal was struck, canceling the need for him to keep an appointment with the Miami Dolphins next week.

"He was getting tired and the situation just felt right with Baltimore, a win-win situation," Sarnoff said. "I think he sees an opportunity to come and start right away since they don't have that big-play guy who stretches the field. "He's got all the incentive in the world, and he's in his best shape since 1999."

After his 1999 campaign, Robinson was placed on injured reserve in 2000 with a bad lower back after 55 catches for 738 yards. Playing behind Marty Booker, David Terrell and Dez White last season, he was held to 21 receptions.

The Ravens were seeking a larger downfield target with speed. And Robinson represents that at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds with 187 career receptions for 2,695 yards and 20 touchdowns. Robinson's wife has family in the Baltimore region, and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh worked with Robinson in Chicago.

The Ravens' passing game averaged only 177.9 yards last season, 27th in the league. Now, they've added Robinson and Frank Sanders to go with Travis Taylor and Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap.

"Big receiver, good vertical, great hands, has had a lot of bad luck," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Maybe we can be the right place for him to kind of get on track."

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