Ravens refute McNabb rumors

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens aren't plotting a serious trade offer for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, according to general manager Ozzie Newsome. Newsome refuted an ESPN report that the Ravens have been discussing a bid for McNabb.

"We have not had any dialogue on our players, or any other players," Newsome said in a Monday telephone interview. "We've just been hiring assistant coaches. We don't have a quarterbacks coach yet."

Linking the Ravens to speculation surrounding McNabb is a natural connect-the-dots idea due to their uncertain quarterback situation and new coach John Harbaugh having worked for the Eagles for the past decade.

However, the Ravens' focus apparently lies elsewhere.

"We are hiring coaches," Newsome said. "That's what we're concentrating on."

A trade for McNabb would likely cost the Ravens their first-round draft pick, No. 8 overall, as well as additional selections.

And the Eagles don't seem eager to trade McNabb, who's also the subject of rumors with his hometown Chicago Bears.

During the season, Eagles team president Joe Banner reiterated that McNabb will remain the Eagles' starting quarterback.

"I can't envision a situation in which he is not our quarterback next year," Banner told Philadelphia reporters. "We are talking about a quarterback who went to four straight championship games. There are only four quarterbacks in the history of the league that have done that.

"You are talking about a quarterback who has had a higher winning percentage in his first seven years in the league than Peyton Manning. My expectation, and I can't really even picture a different scenario, is that he'll be the quarterback."

Meanwhile, incumbent Ravens quarterback Steve McNair has been rehabilitating his non-throwing shoulder at the team's training complex following a December surgery to repair his labrum.

The Ravens have yet to make a public commitment to McNair, former starter Kyle Boller or former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith. McNair is coming off a career-worst season marred by groin, back and shoulder injuries as he threw just two touchdown passes, was intercepted four times and lost seven fumbles, ending the year on injured reserve.

"I know there were a lot of predictions going around the last couple of years in Green Bay, and then we all saw what happened," new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "So, I think you just see where guys are, get a consensus, and I'm sure all those things will come to light over the next weeks and months."

NOTES: Newsome said the team remains in negotiations with linebacker Terrell Suggs' agent. Suggs is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, but can be retained with the franchise tag as soon as this week… Newsome praised Harbaugh for the hires he has made so far, which includes defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Rex Ryan, Cameron, special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, outside linebackers coach Mike Pettine, secondary coach Mark Carrier, running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, offensive line coach John Matsko, tight ends coach Wade Harman and special assistant to the head coach Vic Fangio. "I think John is doing a very good job of putting together a quality staff," Newsome said.

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

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