Robinson signs contract

OWINGS MILLS — Marcus Robinson made his employment with the Baltimore Ravens official on Tuesday. At the Ravens' training complex, the former Chicago Bears wide receiver signed a one-year contract with a base salary of $600,000 that includes a $100,000 signing bonus and incentive clauses worth another $100,000. Afterward, the one-time Pro Bowl alternate attempted to dispel the notion that he's injury-prone, striking a hopeful chord of resuming his 1999 form.

That was the year when he caught 84 passes for 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns.

"I've dealt with that question a lot about being injury prone," said Robinson, who tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in 2001 and was placed on injured reserve the previous year because of lower back pain. "Injury-prone is when you're running on a football field and pulling a hamstring every other week. How can a guy be injury-prone playing a contact sport? "That's part of football. I think if you go out there and stretch your body to the limit some people can take it and some people can't."

The Ravens envision the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Robinson acting as a vertical threat for an offense that ranked 27th in passing yards per contest last season with a 177.9 average.

Robinson, 28, has lofty ca-reer totals of 187 receptions, 2,695 yards and 20 touch-downs with some of those numbers being produced when Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh worked in Chicago.

"I think I can come in here and just produce," Robinson said. "I just want to be a piece of the puzzle and not worry about beating anyone out and trying to be a starter."

Robinson said his ideal scenario for this season is to play well enough for Baltimore to sign him to a long-term contract extension.

Cavanaugh's presence and his wife having relatives in the region contributed to Robinson's decision after considering eight other fran-chises: Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and New England Patriots.

"It was fun for a minute," Robinson said of his free agent tour, "but after traveling every day, staying at all these different hotels, run-ning, seeing doctors, doing the same thing over and over, it got kind of boring, kind of frustrating."

Baltimore director of pro personnel George Kokinis and quarterbacks and receiv-ers coach David Shaw vouched for Robinson's re-covery from his knee problems.

If Robinson catches 40 passes, he'll earn $50,000. With 50 receptions, he would earn an additional $50,000.

"They know the upside," Robinson said, "my speed and ability on the field."

McALISTER UPDATE: Ravens coach Brian Billick didn't rule out the possibility that cornerback Chris McAlister might participate in mini-camp despite not being obligated to contractually under the franchise tag.

Since McAlister hasn't signed his one-year tender of $5.962 million, he's not required to attend off-season camps or workouts.

Billick stressed that the Ra-vens have communicated often with McAlister and this situation won't mirror last year's controversy involving linebackers Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware's absence from minicamp.

"There's a chance Chris could attend," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "He's no different than Chris Redman in that we've tendered him a contract, he hasn't signed it, but he's par-ticipating in the off-season program under a participation agreement. "Chris could be there, but, if not, it was expected. He will be here for training camp."

LEWIS TO RETURN: Billick said Lewis has recovered well from surgery to repair a shoulder injury that placed him on injured reserve last season.

That doesn't mean he'll be completely turned loose at minicamp. Lewis will work under the supervision of trainer Bill Tessendorf.

"Ray looks great," Billick said. "We'll pick our spots with Ray. Physically, he's cleared to go."

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