Boller grabs deal before Leftwich could

OWINGS MILLS -- Kyle Boller contemplated his options, remaining cognizant of the Baltimore Ravens' commitment to Steve McNair as their starting quarterback and the impending possibility of the team signing Byron Leftwich. Ultimately, it wasn't difficult for Boller to agree to a one-year contract extension worth slightly over $3 million to remain the Ravens' backup quarterback.

"This was an easy decision for me," Boller said Friday after signing his contract. "This is such a great organization. To be able to continue my career here, I couldn't pass on that with such great teammates, the whole nine yards. To know that I'm in Baltimore , a place I want to be in, it's an awesome feeling."

Boller acknowledged that the Ravens' dialogue with Leftwich, the former Jacksonville Jaguars starter, influenced his decision to forego becoming an unrestricted free agent in March. By signing Boller, the Ravens are no longer regarded as contenders for Leftwich.

"It definitely kind of came up a little bit because of Leftwich," said Boller, who's making $1.79 million this season. "I don't know what his situation was like, but when I really thought about it and went over everything this is where I wanted to be, hopefully forever. They offered it to me, gave me first dibs at it and I wanted to capitalize and jump on it because to be a player on this team is a special thing, I think."

Plus, the unknown factor of whether he would have received an offer to become a starting quarterback in another NFL city or remain a backup weighed heavily on Boller in consulting with his agent. Boller's stormy three-year starting tenure ended last season when the Ravens traded for McNair.

"I thought about all the different scenarios," Boller said. "You never know what's going to happen in the future."

Contractually, Baltimore is committed to McNair, 34, through 2010. It's uncertain when Boller, 26, might get another opportunity to start, but he's hoping it will be with the Ravens.

"I sure hope so," he said. "That's my ultimate goal. I would love to be able to get back under center full-time.

"I've just learned so much from Steve. I don't know how much longer he's going to play. Hopefully, I'll put myself in a position to compete and take that over one day."

Team officials were gratified that the 2003 first-round draft pick declined to test his market value.

"We appreciate Kyle's interest and energy in wanting to make that happen," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It's one less thing we have to deal with going forward, which clearly we would have had to as we approached the end of the season or going into next offseason. So, it's great to have that position solidified now going through 2008."

INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden practiced for the fourth time this week and is officially listed as questionable on the injury report with a hyperextended left big toe.

Ogden had much less tape on his left foot than Thursday, but was limited during some drills.

"He seemed to do fine," Billick said.

Billick indicated that the team will know today if Ogden is going to play Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, but won't disclose his status.

"We'll have some definition even if we don't tell you all," he said.

Defensive end Trevor Pryce (back) was added as questionable and was limited in practice. Linebacker Antwan Barnes (sprained ankle) and cornerback Samari Rolle (sprained ankle) were also questionable and limited.

Linebacker Gary Stills returned to practice after being out Thursday with a chest cold. He's listed as probable. Stills hasn't missed a game since 2001.

"I feel better," Stills said. "I couldn't breathe. I was a little under the weather. I didn't want to go out there and suffocate."

Wide receiver Mark Clayton (sprained ankle), tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained ankle) are listed as probable and were limited.

The Bengals have ruled out wide receiver Antonio Chatman (hamstring), linebacker Rashad Jeanty (shin), safety Ethan Kilmer (knee) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (hamstring).

Offensive tackle Willie Anderson (foot), center Eric Ghiacuc (neck) and cornerback Johnathan Joseph (foot)are questionable. Kicker Shayne Graham (hip) and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (knee) are probable.

QUICK HITS: Running back Mike Anderson was excused from practice for personal reasons, according to Billick. ... The Ravens reached an injury settlement with linebacker Jamar Enzor. ... The team tried out linebackers Nick Greisen ( Wisconsin ), Leon Joe ( Maryland ) and Jordan Beck (Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo), but didn't immediately sign anyone.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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