Ravens lining up free agents

OWINGS MILLS -- During the final minutes of the NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens began making telephone calls to try to fill a pressing need at tight end.

In the wake of Quinn Sypniewski recently tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and the Tennessee Titans picking rugged Cal tight end Craig Stevens one spot before the Ravens intended to pick him, the Ravens agreed to terms with at least two undrafted free agent tight ends: Western Michigan's Joe Reitz, Louisville's Scott Kuhn. Reitz is an intriguing 6-foot-7, 255-pound prospect who played center for the basketball team for the past four seasons. He was originally scouted by Ravens national scout Lional Vital at the Mid-American Conference basketball tournament two years ago.

Reitz was at the Ravens' training complex for a visit a week prior to the draft and will report to a rookie minicamp May 9. He got the call Sunday night from tight ends coach Wade Harman, and anticipates trying to win a spot on the practice squad and could eventually shift to left offensive tackle if he gains enough weight.

"The Ravens seem willing to invest in me," Reitz told Michigan reporters. "They were the ones who were in on me since the beginning, so it's exciting."

Although no deals are official until incoming rookies pass a physical and sign a contract, the Ravens have already agreed to terms with over a dozen players.

Kuhn is 6-6, 255 pounds and backed up draft pick Gary Barnidge.

Plus, the Ravens reportedly struck deals with Catawba quarterback Brad Roach, Illinois State offensive lineman Isaiah Wiggins, Eastern Kentucky offensive guard Sean Dumford, Fordham punter Benjamin Dato, Grand Valley State offensive guard Brandon Barnes, Missouri defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams, Wagner kicker Piotr Czech, Michigan offensive guard Adam Kraus and Syracuse linebacker Jameel McClain.

McClain is a highly-regarded free agent who recorded 9 1/2 sacks as a junior and finished second in the Big East Conference with 14 1/2 tackles for losses. At 6-foot-1, 253 pounds, McClain has played defensive end and inside and outside linebacker and ran a 4.56 at his campus workout.

The Philadelphia native shared team MVP honors last season, recording 77 tackles while dipping to 1 1/2 sacks as he split time between end and linebacker.

NOTES: The Ravens granted the Atlanta Falcons permission to interview Vital and assistant director of pro personnel Vince Newsome for an assistant personnel director position. Vital used to work with first-year Falcons general manager Tom Dimitroff in the New England Patriots' personnel department. "They called to request permission and we have approved," general manager Ozzie Newsome said Monday.

... The agent for Ravens first-round quarterback Joe Flacco said he doesn't anticipate any problems getting the 18th overall pick signed prior to training camp. "Joe will be there on time," said Joe Linta, who represents Flacco. "He's not going to be a holdout or anything like that."

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


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