Ravens reunite with Boulware

WESTMINSTER -- Showing a sharp burst through the lobby of the team hotel Thursday night, former Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware officially rejoined the Baltimore Ravens after passing his physical and signing a one-year contract.

The four-time Pro Bowl linebacker's return was delayed as doctors scrutinized the results of his physical. Boulware signed what's expected to be a one-year, $1 million contract with an additional $1 million of incentives.

Boulware, 30, appeared leaner than usual as he's reportedly down to 248 pounds. Team officials said Boulware wouldn't comment until after Friday's practice at McDaniel College.

"He's a beast coming off that edge," said new offensive guard Keydrick Vincent, the former Pittsburgh Steelers' blocker. "It's going to be exciting to have a guy like that on our team."

Boulware, who was a $6 million salary-cap casualty three months ago after declining to take a pay cut to a $2 million salary with $2 million in incentives, impressed team officials in a workout Wednesday at the team's training complex in Owings Mills.

Boulware is the Ravens' all-time leading pass rusher with 67 1/2 sacks. However, he hasn't played in a game since December 21, 2003 when he hurt his knee against the Cleveland Browns and missed all of last season with knee and toe injuries.

It's likely that Boulware won't play immediately and will be eased into contact drills as the team attempts to get him prepared for its Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium.

"You don't want to put a player at risk," Ravens coach Brian Billick said earlier Thursday regarding Boulware. "He feels good."

Boulware's health issues likely scared off several teams even after working out for four teams last month in his hometown of Tallahassee, Fla. Browns general manager Phil Savage, who attended the workout along with the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers, said that Boulware is no longer the same player as he was because of the toll of injuries sustained in 111 games.

Boulware has considerable experience at getting prepared for the season in an abbreviated time span. He has missed five of eight training camps since being drafted in the first round in 1997 out of Florida State when he held out. He was too injured to participate in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003.

When Boulware and Pro Bowl pass rusher Terrell Suggs worked as a tandem in 2003, Baltimore led the league with 47 sacks.

The Ravens have designated Boulware as their situational pass rusher in nickel packages and as Adalius Thomas' primary backup at strongside linebacker since rookie Dan Cody may be out for the season with a knee injury. Boulware recorded a career-high 15 sacks in 2001.

"We've always talked about the pressure from the outside and contrasting that with Terrell Suggs," Billick said. "If that's a nickel role, you're talking 15-25 snaps. He's capable of doing more, but we have a lot of assets here to balance that out. If we can use him more, we will."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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