Ravens' plans changed, and Weaver signs

Because of a torrential downpour, the Baltimore Ravens made their first wise decision of this football season. The Ravens escaped the thunder, lightning and soaked practice fields in Westminster by moving their first training camp session into the gymnasium at McDaniel College.

Inside the Gill Center, the Ravens, except for unsigned draft picks Ed Reed and Anthony Weaver, adjusted to the lights and unfamiliar surroundings to go through drills, including some of the audible package for the offense.

 Later in the afternoon, Weaver agreed in principle to a four-year contract. The defensive lineman from Notre Dame was driving down from training camp with his father from New York with an anticipated evening arrival.

The Denver Broncos signed running back Clinton Portis, the 51st overall pick of the second round, to a four-year contract worth $2.65 million that includes a $1.29 million signing bonus. Because of Weaver's slot as the 52nd pick, he likely received similar terms with a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $1.25 million.

Ravens coach Brian Billick joked about the basketball atmosphere, saying the team worked on its inbounds pass, fast break and zone defense. He termed it an exaggerated walkthrough.

"We did a lot of the mental aspects. I thought it was pretty good," said new starting quarterback Chris Redman. "I've been waiting for today for a long time.

"We were able to work a lot on the terminology and snap count. I thought it was good for us. There are so many new guys and new faces. I think we'll come together really quick."

Because Reed and Weaver, the club's first and second-round picks, weren't present, their starting spots at free safety and defensive end were occupied by fellow rookies Chad Williams and Omari Jordan.

Billick made no threats about reprisals against the players for holding out, but he did point out that every practice missed is a prime opportunity for other players to show what they can do.

"It's unfortunate for them. It's unfortunate for us," Billick said. "It's part of the business. We'll get it done. They'll be in here. The silly part is what we'll agree to today is what we'll agree to tomorrow and the next day.

"For those guys that are in there, it's a great opportunity to say, ‘Hey, I'm here and someone is going to have to push me out.' It's the kind of mentality that says, ‘I'm not going to give this up easily.' Every snap they get with the first group is a huge advantage for them."

As for whether Reed would regain his starting role immediately, Billick said that every practice missed by All-American safety from Miami (Fla.), lessens the advantage of his lofty draft status and minicamp experience. "That is not a veiled threat," Billick said.

NOTES: Billick said he's accustomed to not having outside linebacker Peter Boulware available for an entire camp, because it's been the player's track record in the NFL. Boulware had a minor procedure performed on his ankle this summer. Defensive end Michael McCrary (knee) is also on the physically unable to perform list. … After a successful morning tryout, the Ravens announced the signing of rookie wide receiver Kendrick Gibson, a 6-foot, 203-pounder from Midwestern State (Tx.) who caught 88 career passes in two years. As a senior, he hauled in 55 receptions for 929 yards and 10 touchdowns. Gibson was cut by the Canadian Football League's Sasketchewan Roughriders earlier this summer. "I'm very excited to be here," Gibson said. "I was just looking for a job, somewhere to play. When I got the call from Baltimore to come work out, I just wanted to make the most of the opportunity." The Ravens also auditioned Jeremy Unertl, a 6-2, 210-pound safety from Wisconsin-Lacrosse, special teams coach Gary Zauner's alma mater. Unertl was released by the Green Bay Packers just before camp, but wasn't signed by Baltimore through mid-afternoon. "There was a lot of pressure on me up there in Wisconsin because I'm from there, a lot of people asking how I'm doing," Unertl said. "I hope this is the right team for me." … Ray Lewis hosted Tevin Davis, a 10-year-old boy from Baltimore who was shot in the neck in front of his home last week, introducing him around and posing for pictures. A bullet went through his neck and out of his mouth. Lewis said he and his teammates can learn from Davis' example of toughness despite adversity. … Former Dallas Cowboys defensive back Dennis Thurman, a USC assistant coach, is in camp as a coaching intern. … Tight end Todd Heap and his wife, Ashley, are the proud parents of a baby girl named Brooklyn, just like the famous borough of New York.

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