Ravens sign Wright, Green, form practice squad

Having already lost starters Jermaine Lewis and Jamie Sharper to the Houston Texans in the expansion draft, the Baltimore Ravens claimed one of the Texans' castoffs Tuesday. In addition to signing defensive tackle Howard Green, the Texans' sixth-round pick from LSU, the Ravens released rookie defensive tackle Nathan Bolling while adding former Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Anthony Wright to the practice squad.

Continuing the roster shuffle, Baltimore assigned wide receiver Randy Hymes and offensive tackle Lawrence Smith, two camp players let go during the final cutdown, to its practice squad.

 Quarterback Wes Pate, the only draft pick who failed to make the roster, is reportedly another practice squad member. That's according to two published reports, assuming that the seventh-round choice clears waivers.

Punter Dave Zastudil remains in his role as the Ravens' emergency quarterback.

Billed as a powerful player at 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds, Green collected 77 tackles and two sacks in two seasons in Baton Rouge, La.

A fourth-year professional, Wright started three times last season in place of Quincy Carter, going 48 of 98 for 529 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. A mobile passer from South Carolina, he was released on Sunday. Wright tore his anterior cruciate ligament last October and was placed on injured reserve.

He has career marks of 766 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Bolling had nine tackles and two sacks in preseason play. League rules allow the Ravens to carry a maximum of five players on the practice squad.

Ravens coach Brian Billick indicated an interest in former Detroit Lions starting cornerback and return specialist Terry Fair, a 1998 first-round pick from Tennessee. Fair broke his foot and fell out of favor with Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg.

The Ravens would face competition for his services from Miami and Carolina. 

The Ravens introduced former Dallas Cowboy defensive back and USC assistant Dennis Thurman as a new memmber of the staff, assisting secondary coach Donnie Henderson.

Although injured defensive back James Trapp's spirit is willing, Billick said the veteran is likely out for the team's season opener against Carolina. His torn pectoral muscle is better, but not enough to take a risk, Billick said.

Rookie safety Will Demps, a starter until he hurt his elbow, is still out. Billick said the Ravens would like to utilize rookie defensive end Anthony Weaver for the first time this weekend.

The club also wants cornerback Gary Baxter to extend his workload after he saw limited action last week without aggravating a strained hamstring.

"I just want to get myself back in the groove," Baxter said. "I would say I'm about 90 to 95 percent. I just don't want to have an injury setback."

In a confounding move from Carolina first-year coach John Fox, venerable quarterback Rodney Peete will start his first game in this century.

Instead of Chris Weinke, the Panthers opted for Peete, 36, who hasn't been a regular starter since 1995; the same year Carolina joined the NFL.

Peete, who hasn't thrown a pass since 1999, joined the NFL in 1989. Ravens rookie safety Ed Reed estimates that he was a prep freshman the last time he saw Peete play.

"It's really something to grow up watching someone, because you never think you would play against them," Reed said. "I thought Chris Weinke was going to start."

Reed said he intercepted Weinke twice when he was at Florida State.

Peete missed time this preseason because of a strained knee and personal issues, going 9 for 19 for 68 yards. Weinke went 1-15 last year, threw for 2,931 yards, 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He had the second-lowest quarterback rating in the league at 62.0.

"I've been in the league long enough to remember Rodney," Billick said. "Rodney's a hell of a quarterback. Very smart, athletic, very strong arm, very savvy quarterback.

"They want to get someone in there that has that experience to minimize mistakes in that first game."

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