Ravens news and notes II

The Ravens have expressed little concern over Dan Cody, a one-time first-round prospect who slipped to them in the second round because of his history of clinical depression.

The rookie linebacker sat out the 2001 college season with the illness but went on to lead the Sooners with 20 sacks over his final two seasons as Oklahoma went to back-to-back Bowl Championship Series title games.

"I think it's something that happened to him and he's moved on," Ravens linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald said. "Could anything happen in the future? Who knows? Because we feel good enough about it to take a shot, that's why we have a first-round talent in the second round. I think it's a good bet."

What triggered his illness, Cody believes, was the death of his grandmother a few months earlier. Cody said he gradually came to terms with his situation through a combination of counseling and medication, which he stopped taking in 2003 with his doctor's permission.

"I feel like that's something that may not be behind me forever but something I have a grasp on," said Cody.

High-profile cases, such as Barrett Robbins, Dimitrius Underwood and Alonzo Spellman, have NFL teams wary of any possible emotional problems, even if they are in the past.

"There is a stigma," said Cody, who plans to continue psychiatric counseling through the organization. "People don't know what to do to deal with it. I think society in general might be behind the times. People can do this."

Cody has never avoided talking about the illness. In fact, he was the one who brought up the issue in his first interview with the Ravens in February.

"I didn't know much about him at all, and he really enlightened me," FitzGerald said. "I knew I was talking to a guy that was honest."

Others felt differently. One scouting service said Cody came across as an introvert at the NFL combine interviews, like he was in awe of the situation.

Expecting to slip after once being a potential top-10 pick, Cody canceled his draft day party. What he didn't expect was tumbling to the bottom third of the second round and six picks after a kicker, at No. 53 overall.

"It's a humbling experience," Cody said.

The Ravens already have Cody penciled in as a rush end in passing situations opposite Terrell Suggs, a role that had been reserved for Peter Boulware. General manager Ozzie Newsome said Cody could develop into an eight- to 10-sack performer.

The long-term goal is to convert him into their starting strong-side linebacker, a position he has never played. Although coaches won't put a time frame on the transition, there is no doubt about his resolve.

"I know my pre-draft workouts weren't that impressive," Cody said. "I just tell everybody to go turn on the film and you'll see me really working out. That's when it counts the most anyway."



NOTES

--Linebacker Terrell Suggs no longer faces a mandatory prison sentence after Judge Michael O. Wilkinson threw out the more serious of two felony counts. The judge ruled that the prosecutor had not provided substantial evidence for the jury to make a decision.

Suggs still faces one felony count of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor. The charge stems from a 2003 altercation at a three-on-three basketball tournament at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

--Cornerback Deion Sanders said he is leaning toward keeping No. 37, which he wore for the first time last season to match his age. "Some people were saying you should do 38 but I'm thinking I'm going to stay with 37," he said.



STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--K Wade Richey probably won't be coming back after inconsistency on kickoffs led him to being inactive for parts of the season.

--LB T.J. Slaughter would seem to fit into the Ravens' plans as a starter at inside linebacker next season.

--QB Kordell Stewart could come back as the No. 3 quarterback if he doesn't receive offers to be the top backup elsewhere.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--FS Will Demps: RFA; $1.43M/1 yr.

--TE Darnell Dinkins: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.

--WR Randy Hymes: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.

--TE Terry Jones: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.

--NT Ma'ake Kemoeatu: RFA; $1.43M/1 yr.

--LS Joe Maese: UFA; $1.185M/2 yrs, $100,000 SB.

--OG Brian Rimpf: ERFA; $230,000/1 yr.

--RB Chester Taylor: RFA/matched Browns offer; $3/1 yr, $1M SB.

--TE Daniel Wilcox: ERFA; $380,000/1 yr.

--RB/KR B.J. Sams: ERFA; $305,000/1 yr.

--CB Deion Sanders: UFA; $1.5M/1 yr.

--S Chad Williams: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.

--P Dave Zastudil: RFA; $656,000/1 yr.

--DT Matt Zielinski: ERFA; $305,000/1 yr.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--WR Pat Johnson: FA; terms unknown.

--WR Derrick Mason: FA Titans; $20M/5 yrs, $7M SB.

--LB Jim Nelson: UFA Colts; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--LB Tommy Polley: UFA Rams; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--CB Samari Rolle: FA Titans; $30.5M/6 yrs, $11M SB.

--OG Keydrick Vincent: UFA Steelers; $4.64M/3 yrs, $1.25M SB.

PLAYERS LOST

--OG Bennie Anderson: UFA Vikings; $5.1M/3 yrs $1.5M SB.

--CB Gary Baxter: UFA Browns; $30.5M/6 yrs, $10.5M SB.

--LB Peter Boulware (released).

--OT Ethan Brooks: UFA Jets; terms unknown.

--LB Cornell Brown (failed physical).

--DE Marques Douglas: UFA 49ers; $4.5M/3 yrs, SB unknown.

--DB Corey Fuller (released).

--LB Ed Hartwell: UFA Falcons; $26.25M/6 yrs, $8M bonuses.

--WR Kevin Johnson (released).

--FB Harold Morrow (released).

--C Casey Rabach: UFA Redskins; $13.75/5 yrs, $2.5M SB.

--WR Travis Taylor: UFA Vikings; $2M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

--CB Ray Walls: UFA Cardinals; terms unknown.

--RB Jamel White: UFA Lions; terms unknown.
 


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