Ravens sign defensive back, kicker.

<p>OWINGS MILLS - In a maneuver designed to address two areas of need, the Baltimore Ravens signed cornerback Raymond Walls and kickoff specialist Wade Richey. The players joined the Ravens on Wednesday for practice as the team shifted workouts back to its training complex. Walls is a candidate for nickel and dime duty in a secondary whose depth has been wracked by injuries. </p>

Richey, who was with the San Diego Chargers until being released last December, will compete with J.R. Jenkins for kickoff duties. 

Walls was recommended by former Southern Mississippi teammate Chad Williams, the Ravens' reserve safety. He played with veteran cornerback Corey Fuller last year with the Cleveland Browns. A fifth-round pick in 2001 by the Indianapolis Colts, Walls left the Browns' camp a few weeks ago for personal reasons after shuffling between Cleveland's active roster and practice squad last season. "He's got a lot of speed," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Hopefully, he can come in and help us at the corner position, nickel and dime."

 Fuller is recovering from a strained groin and fellow cornerback Alvin Porter is still limited from a similar injury. Walls said he chose the Ravens over a couple of other teams, but wouldn't specify which ones. "For me, leaving camp wasn't nothing, just personal," Walls said. "I'm blessed to get a second chance. A lot of people don't get a second chance. "I just like the way they play defense. They fly around and I wanted to have a chance to play on their defense." As for Richey, the former LSU kicker has prior stints with the Chargers and San Francisco 49ers after originally signing with the Seattle Seahawks as a rookie in 1998. Richey has career totals of 75 field goals and 153 extra points for 373 points. However, his scoring prowess isn't why special teams coach Gary Zauner requested Richey's presence in Baltimore. Richey's here for one purpose: to kick the football deep into opponents' territory. "I've always had a pretty strong leg, but I had a nagging knee injury and had it cleared up after the season," Richey said. "I talked with coach Zauner for a long time this off-season, and it finally worked out." 

MEDICAL UPDATE: Center Mike Flynn has made a rapid recovery since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery during the first week of training camp. Still, the veteran said he feels rusty and isn't at full strength yet. "The strength is coming back, and I don't have the pain I had before the surgery," Flynn said. "I'm kind of dragging. It feels a little weak from not being out there with the guys along with the surgery." Wide receiver Frank Sanders, who dislocated two toes against the Buffalo Bills, is making progress and said he can now support his weight on his toes. Asked when he would return to practice, Sanders said, "Soon, because I'm expecting it to be any day. The healing process is going well." Cornerback Tom Knight (strained hamstring) remains out and said he hopes to return by next week. He said he won't require surgery to repair his thumb, which is wrapped up in a splint. Punter Dave Zastudil estimates his leg flexibility is at about 40 percent and is kicking 20 to 25 footballs per day. "Each day, it improves," he said. "I'm taking it slow. I'd like to play next week against the Giants, but I guarantee I'll be 100 percent ready for the start of the season." The remainder of the injured list includes: safety Ray Perryman (shoulder), linebacker Bernardo Harris (broken leg), return specialist Hugh Smith (shoulder), return specialist Lamont Brightful (knee), tight end John Jones (concussion, neck) practiced today and might be full-go tomorrow. Tight end Trent Smith (broken leg) and receiver Javin Hunter (ruptured Achilles' tendon) are out for the season. Offensive tackle Orlando Brown (knee) and Fuller practiced. 

RETIRING: Former Ravens defensive end Michael McCrary will officially retire from football this afternoon. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, McCrary ranks second on the team's all-time sack list with 51 behind outside linebacker Peter Boulware. He will eventually be inducted into the club's Ring of Honor. "Great warrior, his love of the game was a huge part of our championship year," Billick said. "In a very selfless way, he basically gave up a Pro Bowl to do his job so we could go to the Super Bowl. You can't say enough about a guy like that."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times

Ravens Insider Top Stories