OWINGS MILLS -- It should be interesting to see how former Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons inside linebacker Ed Hartwell does lining up for the Cincinnati Bengals this season, provided his iffy health holds up.
Hartwell recently signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract to wear the striped helmet with pride.
When he was in Baltimore, Hartwell never hid that he resented his lack of star status and was extremely jealous of Ray Lewis' tackle statistics. Hartwell repeatedly claimed that he was robbed of tackles by statisticians during games and coaches during film reviews.
Hartwell is a very nice guy, but he had an unhealthy chip on his shoulder about that perceived snub and really needed to get over it. Hopefully, it's all behind him now.
It's unhealthy to hold grudges, even when it feels justified.
Hartwell was usually hurt and didn't produce at all in Atlanta. Now, he gets a third chance with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, the former Finksburg resident.
Hello Finksburg! Always wanted to say that.
I've got to hand it to Big Ed, though. He had one of the best recruiting lines ever for a departing free agent when he told us that if you love the wires in your wall or the engine in your car that a football team would love Ed Hartwell, the helpful, hard-hitting hardware man.
Gotta love Hartwell's alma mater, Western Illinois, for having the best nickname in college sports outside of the Ragin' Cajuns formerly of Southwestern Louisiana. The sports teams at WIU, in Normal, Ill., where it's, um, normal I guess, are called the Leathernecks.
It seems like defensive players who leave Baltimore as free agents never seem to blossom elsewhere. Re: Duane Starks, Hartwell, Marques Douglas, Sam Adams, Kim Herring, Will Demps and Lional Dalton, among others.
Jury's still out on Maake Kemoeatu, who might pan out pretty well for the Carolina Panthers, and Tony Weaver of the Houston Texans.
Here's a safe bet: All-Pro linebacker Adalius Thomas will likely find success with Bill Belichick's New England Patriots.
Footnote: Diminutive former Hampton University cornerback Calvin Bannister is unlikely to be joining the Ravens anytime soon.
After not being offered a contract by Baltimore after participating in their rookie minicamp as a tryout player, the 5-foot-7, 179-pounder was at the New York Jets' minicamp last weekend. Again, it was on a trial basis and he hasn't been signed to a contract.
For those wondering about Kyle Tatum and Kyle Young, I've never seen the big offensive tackles in Baltimore. Tatum, from Alabama, and Young, from USC, were rumored to be joining the team as undrafted free agents, but they never wound up on the practice field.
That means they either didn't pass their physicals, didn't show up, changed their minds or the Ravens had a change of heart. Happens every year in every NFL city. A player isn't signed until he actually signs.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.
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