Rutledge To Join Ravens

<p>Linebacker Johnny Rutledge joined the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday night and was expected to sign a one-year contract for the veteran minimum.<br> Adding the former Arizona Cardinals' second-round draft pick addresses the void of an experienced reserve in the wake of Bernardo Harris' broken leg. At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, Rutledge can play both inside and outside linebacker.</p>

"What I like the most was he kept himself in shape," Ravens director of pro  personnel George Kokinis said. "This was a job interview for him and he worked  out extremely well. He was fluid in his drops. He caught the ball well. "His approach was very professional. He runs well. He bolsters our depth and  we're looking forward to seeing what he can do."  

Rutledge played primarily on special teams last season with six tackles in 14  games. Since being drafted 51st overall in 1999, Rutledge has four career  starts with 38 tackles, two for losses, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. During the 2000 season, Rutledge stripped the football from Ravens running  back Jamal Lewis on a swing pass and recovered the ball. 

At Florida, Rutledge was an All-Southeastern Conference selection and a  semifinalist for the Butkus Award. "At Arizona, I felt like I didn't really have a chance to play and the  coaches already had in mind what players were going to play," Rutledge said. "I'm  just happy to get a second chance.  "To be coached by Mike Singletary and play behind Ray Lewis, I think this is  a wonderful learning tool for me." 

MEDICAL UPDATE: Inside linebacker Ed Hartwell returned to practice after  missing the previous day with tightness in his lower back. Meanwhile, rookie safety Antwoine Sanders left the afternoon workout with a  leg injury and had ice taped to the back of his leg.  Rookie receiver Todd Devoe was carted off at the morning practice, said he  injured his leg and didn't return for the afternoon session. Also missing or not taking part fully in workouts were: offensive tackle  Orlando Brown (thigh), tight end Todd Heap (back), return specialist Lamont  Brightful (hyperextended knee), running back Musa Smith (knee), safety Ray Perryman  (dislocated shoulder) and defensive lineman Joe Salave'a (knee).  Center Mike Flynn is out for a few weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee  surgery. Receiver Javin Hunter is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon. 

LOOKING AHEAD: Ravens coach Brian Billick offered a few clues on what to  expect in Saturday's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills. He indicated that running back Jamal Lewis would play roughly six plays and  receive three or four carries. He was far less forthcoming about the quarterback rotation. In reference to the starting quarterback, whom he didn't name even though  it's likely to be incumbent Chris Redman, Billick said: "He will take some snaps,  throw the ball and come out when the next guy comes in.  "The starting quarterback will go the first quarter, the second guy will go  the second quarter and the third guy will go the second half, probably in that  order." 

QUICK HITS: Cornerback Chris McAlister intercepted a Redman pass and then  spiked it emphatically after his unencumbered return upfield. … Redman found  Travis Taylor on a fly pattern behind cornerback Alvin Porter for one of the best  throws and catches of the day. … The Ravens practiced the shotgun offense in  the afternoon. … Friday morning's practice has been moved from McDaniel College  to M&T Bank Stadium and will not be open to the public. … The Ravens have  approximately 600 tickets remaining for Saturday's preseason opener against the  Buffalo Bills. All prices are available. For more information, call  410-481-SEAT or go to Baltimoreravens.com.  

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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