Ravens not surprised at Sharpe joining CBS

OWINGS MILLS – The mouth that roared on and off the football field is moving to the television booth.<br><br> Former Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe has retired from the game, and the perennial Pro Bowl selection will now be paid to talk about football as an analyst on CBS' studio show. <br>

Sharpe, 35, replaces Deion Sanders, who quit in a salary dispute.

The announcement that the loquacious all-time leader among NFL tight ends for career receptions (815), yards (10,060) and touchdowns (62) was joining the television ranks didn't come as a surprise to his former team.

"I think it's a natural fit," said Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap, who succeeded Sharpe in Baltimore in 2002 after a one-year apprenticeship. "He's outspoken and well-spoken. He knows what he's talking about. I'm excited for him."

During Sharpe's career, which included a Super Bowl trophy in Baltimore, two rings in Denver and seven Pro Bowl selections after being picked in the seventh round out of Savannah State (Ga.), he became known for his memorable quotations.

Now, Sharpe is heading to the national airwaves.

"I hope they've got a whole lot of microphones," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. 

Billick was reminded that he could become a potential target for Sharpe's barbs.

"You always love going back and forth with Shannon," he said. "At least it will be insightful."

WRIGHT HAS MRI: Backup quarterback Anthony Wright underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam earlier this week to examine his sore throwing arm. 

Wright has been limited in drills at passing camp as a precautionary measure because of pain in his shoulder and triceps.

"I don't know what's wrong, but when I throw I feel a little twinge," Wright said. "I don't think it's serious. Maybe I have a little tendonitis. I need to let it rest, so I don't aggravate it."

CELEBRITY ROMANCE: Starting quarterback Kyle Boller confirmed that he's dating actress Tara Reid, a 28-year-old who starred in "American Pie." 

Boller, 23, said he met Reid last month in New York after the NFL draft.

Reid has previously dated New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, New York Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey and MTV host Carson Daly.

"No, that doesn't bother me," Boller said. "She's a great girl. Timing is everything."

ON THE MEND: Cornerback Gary Baxter said he's unsure whether he'll be able to participate in a veterans minicamp next month after undergoing abdominal hernia surgery this winter.

Baxter played through the ailment last season without incident, but experienced significant discomfort, prompting the decision to have surgery.

"It's a tough call because it's a pretty major surgery, it's in an awkward position and you don't want to rush it," Baxter said. "There's a lot of scar tissue. I have good days and bad days with the soreness and the pain. It feels much better than it did, which is a plus."
NEW FACES: The Ravens have signed four undrafted rookie free agents: running back Kory Chapman (Jacksonville State), offensive tackle Brendan Darby (San Diego St.), fullback Preston Hartfield (Texas Tech) and linebacker Brandon Rager (San Diego St.).

QUICK HITS: Rookie cornerback Zach Norton remains out with a hand injury. …Linebackers Ed Hartwell and Bart Scott will attend a sports gear drive today at the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor to benefit the Baltimore Police Athletic League. … Offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo is hosting a musical instrument drive this Saturday to benefit Baltimore's Frederick Douglass High School.


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