Redman's future an uncertain one, return unlikely

OWINGS MILLS -- Chris Redman was demoted not once, but twice on the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback depth chart this year. Now, it's apparent that the former starter who was a protégé of the late Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas will be seeking employment elsewhere.

Redman is set to become an unrestricted free agent after a year he described as simultaneously disappointing and frustrating. Anointed once as the Ravens' quarterback of the future, Redman will probably become a part of the team's past and seek a fresh start with another football team. "It was a crazy year," said Redman, the Ravens' third-round draft pick from Louisville in 2000 who went 3-3 as a starter last season before giving way to Jeff Blake when a herniated disc in his back flared up. "You can always learn from tough situations. It's been tough on me, but I'm going to keep fighting. I still think I have a lot of football left." 

First, Redman rehabilitated his surgically-repaired back. Then, he lost a quarterback competition to first-round draft pick Kyle Boller, whom Baltimore has invested a five-year contract worth $8 million. By the end of the season, Redman had slipped all the way to third-string behind Boller as former scout team passer Anthony Wright leap-frogged him after Boller tore his quadriceps. 

Redman didn't fare well once Boller was drafted with the 19th overall selection of the first round acquired from the New England Patriots in exchange for first-round and second-round picks. When Boller tore his quadriceps in a loss to the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 9, Redman started the second half and was intercepted twice, completing 7-of-12 passes for 58 yards. He fumbled twice, losing one. Redman also appeared briefly against the Cleveland Browns, losing a fumble. "Obviously, it was frustrating and disappointing not getting to play as much as you want," Redman said. "But that is life in the NFL, and you just got to learn from it. I met a lot of great guys and good quarterbacks I learned from. "I love Baltimore. The community has been great, and it's been a great place to stay. But I'm going to do what's best for me." 

During the preseason, Redman steadily lost ground to Boller after entering training camp as the starter as the rookie from Cal held out for most of the first week of practice sessions in Westminster. He completed 27-of-49 passes for 271 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 54.0. Meanwhile, Boller completed 40-of-68 passes for 456 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a 92.5 rating. 

Before it was publicly announced, it was a poorly-kept secret that Boller had won the starting job. Redman didn't indicate a preference for which team he would like to play for, but it could be a vexing job search for him and agent David Dunn considering there isn't any quality film from this year to send to teams for a sales pitch. Also, the quarterback market will likely include more established former starters like Mark Brunell and Kurt Warner. Dunn didn't return a telephone call seeking comment. "I'm going to see what happens, talk to the coaches and just move on and see what's in store for me," said Redman, who leaves with a Super Bowl ring from the 2000 season. "Obviously, there will be options." 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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