Ravens host Raylee Johnson

OWINGS MILLS – Under specific circumstances, the Baltimore Ravens could envision veteran defensive end Raylee Johnson chasing quarterbacks for them next season.<br><br> That would entail the former San Diego Chargers starter acting as a situational pass rusher, and agreeing to a contract with Baltimore ahead of other suitors.<br>

Johnson, 34, visited the Ravens' training complex Monday and will meet with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday. Johnson also expressed an interest in the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders.

"He's a guy that can rush the passer," Ravens defensive line coach Rex Ryan said of Johnson, who has 46 sacks during his decade in the league. "He's proved that throughout his years. He would probably be a situational pass rusher for us if he came on board.

"He could help us with our depth because he has pass-rush ability and can work as an outside rusher or as an inside rusher."

Johnson ended last season on injured reserve with a sprained foot, collecting four sacks and 13 tackles primarily as a reserve. In 1999 and 2001, he had 10 ½ and 9 ½ sacks, respectively.

He rated the health of his foot as 90 percent, saying he is now able to run after being placed on injured reserve in November. 

Johnson declined the Chargers' offer to cut his $3.5 million base salary roughly in half for next season, prompting the team to release him before the veteran signing period began. The Broncos have reportedly made Johnson a contract offer. Baltimore hasn't yet.

"It went pretty well," Johnson said Monday afternoon before flying to Denver. "I'm pretty excited about it. I saw the defense and where I could fit in and I think I could help the team a whole lot. 

"It looked like a fun position. I would actually be moving around a lot and would be having fun like the rest of the guys."

A fourth-round pick by San Diego in 1993 out of Arkansas, Johnson said he would like to strike a deal as soon as possible and wouldn't mind working behind starting ends Tony Weaver and Marques Douglas in the Ravens' 3-4 defensive alignment.

"If it's third downs, that's just fine," Johnson said. "I'm comfortable starting as well."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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