Notebook: Ravens sign T Slaughter

WESTMINSTER -- In dire need of depth on their injury-riddled offensive line, the Baltimore Ravens signed veteran offensive tackle Chad Slaughter to a one-year contract for the veteran minimum. A former Oakland Raiders starter, Slaughter signed Wednesday afternoon after the Ravens were unable to agree to terms with former Kansas City Chiefs starter John Welbourn.

Slaughter didn't receive a signing bonus, but he does get a shot to fill in with starting tackles Jared Gaither and Adam Terry both out indefinitely with sprained ankles.

"Chad has been in there when the bullets are flying," said Angelo Wright, Slaughter's agent. "He can play lef t or right tackle and I see him as a swing guy for them. One thing the Ravens do a good job of is figuring out what fits their system with whatever they're trying to do."

Welbourn became visibly frustrated in the lobby of the team hotel as the Ravens and his agent haggled over terms. He wanted a lot of guaranteed money and the Ravens were only willing to offer a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $730,000.

Ultimately, talks broke off.

Welbourn, who has been suspended for a total of 10 games for violations of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, was driven back to the airport after trying out for the Ravens early in the morning along with Slaughter and former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Kelly Butler.

Slaughter is big at 6-foot-8, 340 pounds and has played in 43 career games for the Raiders from 2000 to 2006 with seven starts. He was out of the NFL last season after being cut by Oakland.

"He's a quality guy," Wright said.

Terry and Gaither aren't expected to miss a long period of time, but Slaughter will get an extended look while they're out.

It's possible the Ravens may seek to acquire another offensive tackle. Rumors continue to fly about their possible interest in Jacksonville Jaguars lineman Khalif Barnes, a former second-round draft pick entering the final year of his contract.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh alluded to wanting to sign more than one tackle prior to adding Slaughter.

"We're working on it right now, so it's going to happen quickly," he said. "They've got to take their physicals, and they've got to be cleared to play."

REED UPDATE: The shroud of silence over what's wrong with Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed disappeared when Harbaugh revealed that Reed has a shoulder injury.

Reed remains on the physically unable to perform list. Team officials and the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year had declined to comment on his injury with speculation mounting each day.

Reed has worked on the side at camp, performing running, agility and football drills.

"His situation has to do with a shoulder issue that he's working on right now," Harbaugh said. "It's a strengthening issue, and that takes a little bit of time."

INJURY UPDATE: Including Reed, Gaither and Terry, 15 players missed practice with injuries.

That list includes wide receivers Derrick Mason (right knee) and Patrick Carter (dislocated left shoulder), defensive end Dan Cody (right foot), running backs Cory Ross (arm, toe) and P.J. Daniels (cramps), fullback Justin Green (knee), linebacker Edgar Jones (right leg), defensive tackle J'Vonne Parker (undisclosed), tight ends Aaron Walker (leg) and Daniel Wilcox (offseason toe surgery), wide receiver Demetrius Williams (left Achilles' tendon) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (sprained medial collateral ligament).

Plus, linebacker Terrell Suggs (contract dispute) and cornerback Samari Rolle (bereavement) are absent from camp.

Offensi ve tackle Joe Reitz appeared to hurt his left arm or shoulder and was slow to rise, but it's not believed to be serious.

Five members of the 30-and-over club were given a day off, including linebackers Ray Lewis and Brendon Ayanbadejo, nose guard Kelly Gregg, defensive end Trevor Pryce and cornerback Corey Ivy.

All of the injuries and absences have left the Ravens with nearly a fourth of the roster out of uniform.

"They started feeling it after the first practice," Harbaugh said. "The idea is to get their legs right away. Let's get them, let's break them down and start building them back up now."

With a league roster limit of 80 players, the Ravens have to be cautious about how they ration out their snaps to various position groups.

"I think you're going to see all around the league that coaches have had to adjust to the limited roster number," Harbaugh said. "We've had to adjust practice. Within our practice, we've adjusted the number of reps, where the reps go, who take the snaps.

"We have a number of guys that are in the 30-plus group, so that knocks a few more numbers out. But all you do is you adjust the reps to the number of players you have."

QUICK HITS: Running back Ray Rice is taking a lot more snaps and looking much more effective than starter Willis McGahee, who is dealing with a sore left knee. There has also been speculation that his stomach is bothering him. ... Cornerback Frank Walker got scorched f or a deep touchdown pass. ... Offensive and defensive linemen will lift after practice with linebackers, tight ends, running backs, safeties and kickers doing core exercises inside the Gill Center. Only quarterbacks, wide receivers and cornerbacks will be available for interviews and autographs after today's morning practice.

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


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