Carlisle reneges on deal with Ravens

OWINGS MILLS -- Free agent offensive lineman Cooper Carlisle has reneged on a verbal agreement to join the Baltimore Ravens and will remain with the Denver Broncos.

Carlisle is scheduled to sign with Denver on Thursday, receiving essentially the same deal he agreed to with Baltimore: two years, $2 million, including a $500,000 signing bonus. Only in Denver, Carlisle is projected as the starting right guard rather than the Ravens' primary backup at tackle and guard.

"Cooper had a change in heart at the last minute," said Frank Murtha, Carlisle's agent. "He talked with Mike Shanahan and has decided to return to Denver. This is the first time it's happened to me in 30 years as an agent. Cooper really wrestled with this, about the fact that he had given his word and said he was going to sign.

"The Ravens organization did everything they were supposed to do. The player prior to executing his contract had a change of heart in what he felt was best for him and his family."

Murtha said he called the Ravens on Wednesday morning to inform director of football administration Pat Moriarty that Carlisle wouldn't be signing with Baltimore.

"There's no legal obligation, but this is a case where the issue is someone has given his word that he's going to sign," Murtha said. "I told Pat, 'I've never had a situation like this. This is unique for me."

Unfortunately, it's not for the Ravens.

Cornerback Gary Baxter recently abruptly backed out of a verbal agreement with the Ravens to sign a six-year, $30 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.

And in 2002, Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Marcus Spears reneged on a verbal agreement in principle to rejoin the Chiefs.

Afterward, Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson gloated. He talked Spears out of going to Baltimore and noted that Ravens coach Brian Billick would have to learn a tough lesson that a deal isn't final until the player actually lends his signature to the contract.

Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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