Ravens re-sign Adalius Thomas

OWINGS MILLS – In a transaction that bolsters the Baltimore Ravens' defensive depth and special-teams expertise, the team re-signed outside linebacker Adalius Thomas to a three-year contract on Friday. Terms weren't immediately available for the Pro Bowl special-teams selection.

"I'm excited about having the opportunity to remain with this team," Thomas said late Friday afternoon at the Ravens' training complex after signing his contract. "Hopefully, we can make a Super Bowl run again."

Thomas, 26, had repeatedly expressed a desire to return to Baltimore and all but predicted an eventual return during an interview a week ago with local reporters. Earlier this week, Thomas' agent, Bus Cook, said the linebacker had an offer from an unspecified competing team. Cook didn't return a telephone call seeking comment.

A sixth-round draft pick from Southern Mississippi in 2000, Thomas ended last season on injured reserve after undergoing elbow surgery and was forced to miss his first appearance in the Pro Bowl. At 6-foot-2, 270 pounds, Thomas is one of the fastest players for someone of his dimensions to excel on punts and kicks.

"It's kind of like some of our other players that we drafted and developed and watched grow as a player and as a person," said Ravens director of pro personnel George Kokinis. "Certainly, he brings a dimension on third downs and because of his ability to move inside, outside, spy, chase down and come off the edge. That versatility helps our defense as well as his contribution on special teams."

He started 11 games last season, playing in 13 before breaking his elbow during a collision with linebacker Ray Lewis against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 7. Thomas had five tackles in that game, two of his four sacks from last season and forced a fumble.

The Ravens' run defense wasn't as effective without him in a 20-17 wild-card playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Thomas' signing coincides with defensive end Raylee Johnson, who visited the Ravens earlier this week, signing a three-year deal with the Denver Broncos worth $3.29 million and includes a $1 million signing bonus.

For the season, Thomas finished with 34 tackles and eight pass deflections. He led Baltimore with 23 special-teams tackles, blocking one kick and returning a kickoff 22 yards against the San Francisco 49ers.

Thomas has lined up at linebacker, defensive tackle and defensive end. He posted a career-high 68 tackles with three sacks two seasons ago when he also intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown against the Bengals.

Thomas has said he wouldn't mind being used in a situational defensive role. Because of the presence of Terrell Suggs, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year who led Baltimore with a dozen sacks last season, and Pro Bowl outside linebacker Peter Boulware, Thomas may be a reserve or an occasional starter.
"Having a caliber of player like that along with a guy who's good in the community and pretty much just a Raven," Kokinis said, "it's good to have him back with us."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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