Ravens' weekly wrap-up

The Ravens would be halfway through their spring workouts if Steve McNair's grievance with the Tennessee Titans gets resolved as late as June 1. But offensive coordinator Jim Fassel said any veteran quarterback would have a viable shot at becoming the team's starter this season even if he is not added until after the spring camps.

If (Ravens officials) signed somebody (at that point), they certainly would feel like he could do that," Fassel said. "It's going to be overload working. If it happens after the (spring) camps, then part of my vacation time is cut short."

McNair already has a contract in place with the Ravens, but the teams have yet to agree on a trade.

The hearing, which was held at the Titans' team headquarters, lasted seven hours. McNair and his agent, Bus Cook, declined to comment after the proceedings.

Richard Berthelsen, the NFL Players Association general counsel, said the union's stance is McNair has the right to work out at Tennessee's training facility.

"Steve said what he has always said, 'He would love to be a Tennessee Titan and wants his jersey to be retired here,'" Berthelsen told Tennessee reporters. "It seems like the team is not allowing him to perform. That's why we're all here.

"The club is saying they can keep him away, and that's what the arbitrator has to decide, hopefully by June 1."
Ravens officials privately remain confident that McNair will join the team over the next two months either by trade or release.

However long the delay becomes, Fassel said he believes personal tutoring could quickly bring a veteran up to speed, but he admits there's no substitution for these next five weeks of workouts.

The problem is the Titans likely won't be forced to release McNair even if he wins his grievance.

The Titans could allow McNair back into their complex and hold onto him until late July, when they would need to dump his $23.46 million salary cap in order to sign draft picks. At that point, McNair would have missed all of the Ravens' minicamps.

Whereas training camp is more physical, these spring workouts are where the Ravens do most of their heavy mental lifting.

The Ravens basically install their entire offense over the next month, from formations to terminology to route combinations. This is also the time when quarterbacks get their timing down with the receivers.

"A veteran quarterback can adapt, but (missing this time) still hurts," Fassel said. "It's got to flow quick. This is a game of reaction. The only way to get it is if it's embedded in you."

This is a delicate time for the Ravens. They already have a contract in place for McNair, but they still want to show support for Kyle Boller at these workouts.

Fassel explained to Boller that he should look at this situation as a "rite of passage."

"It'll either build your toughness and character or it will make you fold your tent," Fassel said. "There are certain struggles that every quarterback is going to have to go through."

NOTES, QUOTES
--The Ravens have exchanged proposals with safety Ed Reed, but the sides aren't close to reaching a contract extension. Reed will earn $1.9 million this season, which is the final year of his contract.

--The Ravens signed veteran linebacker Tim Johnson for the second time in five years. Johnson was a special teams performer for the Oakland Raiders' January 2003 Super Bowl team.

He was a Raven for the first week of the 2001 regular season before getting cut. He is best remembered for his Shannon Sharpe impersonation during the rookie talent show on the Hard Knocks television show.

--The Ravens signed Canadian rookie linebacker Rickey Foley after his tryout at last weekend's rookie minicamp. He was the fourth overall pick in the CFL's college draft. Foley, who played for Canada's York College, led all colleges in Canada last season with nine sacks.

The Ravens also signed long snapper Landon Schrage, an undrafted rookie from Iowa State.

--Offensive lineman Chris Chester, a second-round pick who missed the first day of rookie minicamp because of his graduation from the University of Oklahoma, participated in the final practice.

--Receiver Randy Hymes agreed on a two-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars after four sporadic seasons with the Ravens. In 37 games, Hymes had 43 receptions for 578 yards and four touchdowns. He showed promise as an undrafted rookie in 2003 but failed to become a prominent figure in the team's offensive game plan.

The Ravens never expressed interest in retaining Hymes during free agency because they are set at the receiver position. In addition to bringing back both starters (Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton), they drafted Demetrius Williams in the fourth round and still have inconsistent wide-outs Clarence Moore and Devard Darling under contract.

--The arbitrator for Steve McNair's hearing is John Feerick, a former dean at Fordham's law school. Nine years ago, Feerick was the arbitrator who reduced Latrell Sprewell's original suspension after the NBA player's attack on coach P.J. Carlesimo.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think he'll progress to be an outstanding quarterback one of these days. But it's got to happen and he's got to show that progress." -- Offensive coordinator Jim Fassel on the development of quarterback Kyle Boller.


STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--CB Dale Carter might return in a specialized role to cover tight ends in dime packages.
--WR Patrick Johnson was a little-used reserve who could come back for depth in training camp.
--LB Tommy Polley was solid and could return as a starter for a bargain price.
--RB Jamel White is unlikely to return.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--LS Drew Caylor (not tendered as ERFA).
--DT Gary Gibson (not tendered as ERFA).
--CB Cash Mouton (not tendered as ERFA).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
--DT Cedric Hilliard (tendered at $350,000).
--LB Zac Woodfin (tendered at $350,000).
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--CB Robb Butler: ERFA; $425,000/1 yr).
--PK Aaron Elling: RFA; $721,600/1 yr.
--NT Aubrayo Franklin: RFA; terms unknown, had been tendered at $721,600.
--LB Dennis Haley: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr.
--DE Jarret Johnson: RFA; $1.573M/1 yr.
--LS Matt Katula: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr.
--RB Jamal Lewis: UFA; $26M/3 yrs, $5M SB; 2006 cap: $2.67M.
--FB Ovie Mughelli: RFA; terms unknown, had been tendered at $721,600.
--CB Zach Norton: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr).
--CB Evan Oglesby: ERFA; $350,000/ 1 yr).
--OT Tony Pashos: RFA; had been tendered at $1.573M.
--OG Brian Rimpf: ERFA; terms unknown.
--QB Brian St. Pierre; ERFA; terms unknown.
--RB B.J. Sams: ERFA; $425,000/1 yr.
--LB Bart Scott: UFA; $13.5M/3 yrs, $6.5M SB; 2006 cap: $3.17M.
--LB Mike Smith: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr).
--RB Musa Smith: RFA; $721,600/1 yr.
--C Thatcher Szalay: ERFA; $425,000/1 yr.
--DE Benard Thomas: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr).
--CB B.J. Ward: ERFA; $350,000/1 yr).
--TE Daniel Wilcox: Potential RFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--RB Mike Anderson: FA Broncos; $8M/4 yrs, $2M SB.
--P Leo Araguz: FA; terms unknown.
--DT Justin Bannan: UFA Bills; $8M/4 yrs, $3M SB.
--CB Corey Ivy: UFA Rams; $2.16M/3 yrs, $250,000 SB; 2006 cap: $668,333.
--LB Tim Johnson: UFA Raiders; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DE Trevor Pryce: FA Broncos; $25M/5 yrs, $10M guaranteed.
--LB Gary Stills: FA Chiefs; $2.6M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
PLAYERS LOST
--LB Peter Boulware (released).
--OT Orlando Brown (released; post-June 1 designation).
--S Will Demps: UFA Giants; 5 yrs, terms unknown.
--TE Darnell Dinkins: UFA Browns; $2.1M/3 yrs, $200,000 SB.
--WR Randy Hymes: UFA Jaguars; terms unknown.
--DT Maake Kemoeatu: UFA Panthers; $27.5M/5 yrs, $6M SB/$2M OB '07.
--CB Deion Sanders: UFA; retired).
--RB Chester Taylor: UFA Vikings; $14.1M/4 yrs, $5.6M guaranteed.
--DE Tony Weaver: UFA Texans; $26.5M/5 yrs, $12M SB.
--S Chad Williams: UFA 49ers; terms unknown.
--QB Anthony Wright: UFA Bengals; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--P Dave Zastudil: UFA Browns; $8M/5 yrs, $1.66M SB.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

 


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