WESTMINSTER -- The Baltimore
Ravens' inventory upon checking into the team hotel Sunday for training
camp didn't include first-round draft pick Mark Clayton.
The wide receiver is the Ravens'
lone unsigned player, extending a four-year streak of holdouts.
When asked if he was disappointed
to not to have Clayton under contract, Ravens coach Brian Billick said:
"Yeah, particularly when you know it could have been avoided. I'll be
willing to bet that the contract we agree on eventually -- whether it's
tomorrow, the next day, a week from now like every other holdout we've
had -- it's pretty much the same contract that we could agree on today.
It doesn't change much."
The framework for Clayton's
contract as the No. 22 overall pick was established when Oakland Raiders
cornerback Fabian Washington
signed a five-year deal worth $7.8 million
that includes $5.3 million in bonuses.
When asked if the parameters to
strike a deal are set, Billick replied: "You would certainly think so,
The unsigned status of
receiver Matt Jones, the pick above Clayton, could
be affecting negotiations although neither side indicated exactly what's
causing the holdup.
"There is always a sense of
urgency," said Jim Steiner, one of Clayton's representatives. "But we
know and they know a deal can be struck at anytime."
Two of Clayton's agents' other
first-round clients, Carnell Williams
and Jammal Brown
, agreed to terms
a few hours prior to their team's opening practice.
The Ravens are running an
abbreviated training camp that breaks Aug. 19. Missing time could set
Clayton back as he tries to establish himself as a starter opposite
veteran Derrick Mason
while competing with Clarence Moore
"Hopefully, he'll get in quickly,"
Billick said. "With a short, quick, aggressive camp, this is like the
summer school classes you took that condensed eight weeks into four. If
you miss one of those classes, you've missed a lot. If you miss one of
these workouts, you're going to miss a lot."
Clayton remains in the area and
ready to report once his contract is finalized.
Reached by telephone Sunday night,
Clayton said he didn't know what was delaying the deal.
Asked when he thought it might get
done, the rookie said, "Hopefully, tomorrow."
CODY, BROWN REPORT: Linebacker Dan Cody
, the Ravens' second round pick and center Jason Brown
fourth-round pick, agreed to terms and reported on time.
Cody agreed to a four-year
contract with undisclosed terms.
Brown signed a three-year deal
worth $1.234 million that included a $309,500 signing bonus and base
salaries of $230,000 in 2005, $310,000 in 2006 and $385,000 in 2007.
"I didn't want to miss anything,"
said Cody, who took an early-morning flight from Oklahoma
. "There's a
lot of new things I haven't done before, so it's important to be here
from the beginning."
MEDICAL REPORT: The Ravens plan to
take a cautious approach with several veterans.
That group includes nickel back
(toe), nickel back Dale Carter
(missed 2004 with a blood
clot in his lungs), offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo
knee surgery to remove gout), offensive tackle Orlando Brown
center Mike Flynn
A few of the players may be
limited to one practice a day.
"We have a lot of guys that we'll
just have to monitor real closely," Billick said.
R&R: Billick said he plans to
institute early-morning meetings while continuing to allow veterans to
spend the night at home beginning Wednesday night. Rookies are required
to sleep at the team hotel during camp.
"When I did that last year, I was
concerned that there's going to be the inevitable, a guy's going to get
caught in traffic, get a flat tire," Billick said. "We didn't have one
incident. They earned the right to go home this year."
BEARDED ONE: Sporting a gray beard
that has drawn joking comparisons to Zenmaster basketball coach Phil Jackson and actor Tom Hanks' scruff from the movie, ‘Castaway,' Billick
said he has no immediate plans to shave it off.
"The weather is a good indicator
as to how long this thing stays on," Billick said. "You all say no, my
wife says yes. The yeas have it."
MESSAGE: The words, "A New
Beginning," were stenciled on the playbooks.
Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the
Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
If you are reading this article via a news portal, you can find the
original on RavensInsider.Com