But as a player on this team -- and I'll speak on our behalf -- we want a guy like that," said kicker Matt Stover, a 14-year veteran and the last player remaining from the franchise's relocation from Cleveland. "The players on this team will welcome him and will want him to get the ball because he is a game-changing athlete. When you have a player like that on the team, you only want to help him."
The oft-controversial playmaker has been a disruptive force ever since being traded to Baltimore from the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick. He has repeatedly voiced his desire to become an unrestricted free agent so he can play for the Philadelphia Eagles and has hinted at holding out if he remained with the Ravens.
Team officials have taken a tolerant approach with Owens, saying he has vented his anger at the situation and not at the Ravens. The Ravens are careful about distancing themselves from a player who they see as the final piece to a Super Bowl run. The four-time Pro Bowl selection is expected to make a major impact on the Ravens' passing game, which ranked last in the NFL last season.
Over the past four years, Owens has averaged 92.5 catches for 1,316 yards and 12.8 touchdowns.
That's one of the reasons why the Ravens have stressed Owens will have a clean slate when he reports to the team. "Until we have the opportunity for Terrell to be here, those [comments] are things that happened before," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We're still in the before stage right now. We'll let the union and the league do its business. We'll address it at that point. This is going to resolve itself. "Until he has a chance to be here and interact with this organization and go forward as a legitimate Baltimore Raven, I think anything that precedes that, precedes that."
In the end, Owens likely will end up with a long-term contract similar to the one he wanted in Philadelphia.
His deal with the Eagles reportedly included a signing bonus of $10 million and a yearly salary over $6 million. According to a league source, the Ravens' offers would be in that range.
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
--If the start of free agency proved anything, it showed the Ravens want to invest in their own. All five of their signings were players who were apart of the team's first division title from last season.
Locking up backup quarterback Anthony Wright and offensive tackle Orlando Brown ended a two-week period in which the Ravens agreed to terms with center Mike Flynn, kicker Matt Stover and kickoff specialist Wade Richey. "We had contingency plans across the board, for Matt Stover, for Mike Flynn, for Anthony Wright, for (Brown)," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We're very pleased each of those athletes is going to return to us. That's always been our No. 1 priority, to get those guys back."
--Signing Matt Stover, a 36-year-old kicker, to a five-year contract isn't such a big leap of faith. Kansas City's Morten Andersen, 43, is the oldest player in the NFL.
"My goal is to finish the five years, it is," Stover said. "It is to be here and to carry this team as much as I can. I don't see a point why I couldn't finish it out." He is the team's all-time leader in points (1,364), and ranks 17th on the league's all-time scoring list.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "So that there is no misunderstanding, regardless of what happens with the grievance, under the present circumstances I do not see myself playing for the Ravens. I can assure everyone that I will continue to keep fighting for my right to play for the team of my choice even after the grievance. At the end of this process, I simply want to be able to exercise my right to play for a team of my choosing under a deal that is fair to me and my family." -- Terrell Owens addressing his intentions if his grievance to rescind his trade to the Ravens fail.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
NEEDS/DRAFT PRIORITIES: Offensive line: The Ravens are showing some age on their physical front. It wouldn't be surprising if the team invests in a young tackle to groom. Secondary: The Ravens are set with two Pro Bowl selections in Ed Reed and Chris McAlister along with up-and-comer Gary Baxter. But this secondary could be an elite one with a solid free safety; Receiver: Even with the addition of Terrell Owens, the Ravens need another young wide-out to groom as the third receiver.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: CB Chris McAlister (tendered at $7.154M).
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (6): LB Bernardo Harris; TE John Jones; CB Tom Knight; DE Riddick Parker; QB Chris Redman; LB Adalius Thomas.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (8): OG Bennie Anderson; OT Damion Cook; DE Marques Douglas; LB Edgerton Hartwell; LS Joe Maese; C Casey Rabach; FB Alan Ricard; CB Raymond Walls.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (3): S Will Demps; WR Randy Hymes; DE Ma'ake Kemoeatu.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: OT Orlando Brown; C Mike Flynn; PK Wade Richey; LS Mike Solwold; PK Matt Stover; QB Anthony Wright.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: WR Terrell Owens.
PLAYERS LOST: None.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.