Ravens to host Raylee Johnson, awaiting word on TO

OWINGS MILLS – Defensive end Raylee Johnson will visit the Baltimore Ravens' training complex Monday, his agent confirmed.<br><br> Johnson, 34, had four sacks and 13 tackles last season for the San Diego Chargers, which opted to release him rather than pay his $3.25 million base salary for next season. <br>

Johnson was placed on injured reserve last November because of a foot injury. 

The 6-foot-3, 272 pounder has 46 sacks in 10 seasons since being drafted in the fourth round in 1993 by the Chargers. He missed the final nine games of last season.

Agent Brad Blank said Johnson has scheduled a trip to the Denver Broncos for Tuesday. The Atlanta Falcons are another possibility for Johnson who had 10 ½ sacks and 9 ½ sacks in 1999 and 2001, respectively.

Johnson declined the Chargers' offer to cut his salary roughly in half for next season, prompting the team to release him before the veteran signing period began.

"The Ravens tried to sign Raylee years ago," Blank said. "He's recovering well from the foot injury. At this stage of his career, he's basically a pass rusher, a good pass rusher.

"If he was younger, his contract wouldn't have been an issue."

Meanwhile, NFL special master Stephen B. Burbank will hear the case of All-Pro receiver Terrell Owens this morning in Philadelphia following his disputed trade to the Ravens.

The University of Pennsylvania law professor, jointly selected by the NFL and its player union, is expected to announce a ruling Tuesday.

If lawyers for the NFL Players Association fail to convince Burbank that Owens should have been a free agent, then the March 4 trade between the San Francisco 49ers and Ravens for a second-round draft pick will stand.

If Burbank nullifies the trade and grants Owens free-agent status despite the NFL management council's prior determination that Owens' agent, Dave Joseph, missed a Feb. 21 deadline to file paperwork voiding the remainder of his client's contract, then the Ravens would regain their second-round pick.

Any decision by Burbank is subject to review by U.S. District Judge Dave Doty, who oversees the league's collective bargaining agreement and the special master.

Owens has threatened to possibly stage a holdout if the Ravens retain his rights in a possible gambit to get Baltimore to trade him to the Philadelphia Eagles

Joseph had reportedly negotiated a $10 million signing bonus and an annual salary in excess of $6 million with the Eagles, whose trade offer of a fifth-round draft pick and receiver James Thrash was rejected by 49ers general manager Terry Donahue.

If it's determined by Burbank that Owens is under contract to Baltimore and Owens decides to not live up to the terms of his contract, the Ravens would have the option to pursue a grievance against Owens to recover money.

Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome has said the team intends to hold on to Owens' rights and have him play for the Ravens this season.

NOTES: The Miami Dolphins are close to working out the parameters for a trade with the Chargers for wide receiver David Boston and a restructured contract, according to published reports. On Friday, Ravens coach Brian Billick acknowledged an interest in Boston. … Former Ravens offensive tackle Spencer Folau opted to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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