Ravens inquired about ex-Raider Hall

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens held a preliminary discussion Thursday night with the agent for former Oakland Raiders cornerback DeAngelo Hall after he cleared waivers and became an unrestricted free agent.

The Ravens are one of roughly a dozen teams that made contact with Hall, but it remains unclear if they will emerge as a serious suitor for the former first-round draft pick from Virginia Tech. Unexpectedly cut by the Raiders on Wednesday, the two-time Pro Bowl selection is gauging which teams are willing to sign him to a lucrative, multi-year contract.

The Ravens don't have much salary-cap room presently.

When asked whether Hall's name has come up at the Ravens' training complex, defensive coordinator Rex Ryan delivered a mixed message: "No, not really, at least as far as I'm concerned. You know, I guess that would be a lie. I mean, some of the players and I would talk about him or whatever, but we'll see."

Ryan claimed he hasn't been able to get his twin brother, Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, on the phone to discuss Hall.

"I tried to, but he's, for some reason, not returning calls," Ryan said with a smile. "So, I guess they've got some issues out there."

Among the other teams rumored to be interested in Hall: the Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.

Hall signed a seven-year, $70 million contract, but is no longer due the remaining six years and money on a deal Oakland he signed after Oakland acquired him via a trade from the Atlanta Falcons. He was paid $8 million by the Raiders this season.

In his eight games in Oakland, Hall was beaten 40 times for 552 yards on 66 passes thrown in his direction, according to statistical services.

He gave up more yards than any defender this season and was tied for third worst in catches allowed, but intercepted three passes. He has 20 career interceptions.

INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Chris McAlister didn't practice for the second consecutive day after traveling to Toronto, Canada to seek a third medical opinion about his damaged right knee. He has already been ruled out for Sunday's game by coach John Harbaugh, and may eventually be declared out for the season and placed on injured reserve.

"I don't know exactly what's going on with Chris right now," free safety Ed Reed said. "I know he's taking care of his knee. It's bad enough where he could mess it up worse and mess up his career. You want him to take care of himself first."

Tight end Daniel Wilcox (illness) didn't practice Thursday, and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said that he expects Edgar Jones and Adam Terry to fill in at tight end behind Todd Heap against the Texans.

It doesn't sound like Heap's role in the passing game will be expanded. He has caught just 13 passes for 137 yards.

"When you're in the top five in the league in rushing, you don't do that without a good tight end," Cameron said. "He has a huge role in what we do. It may not be the role that everybody wants it to be, but that's not our concern. Our concern is to try to win, but he is in the front of our mind and doing an outstanding job."

Offensive tackle Jared Gaither (neck/knee), fullback Le'Ron McClain (ankle), running back Willis McGahee (ankle), defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (shoulder), running back Ray Rice (chest), cornerback Samari Rolle (neck), linebacker Bart Scott (chest) and Terry (knee) were limited in practice.

Cameron said he isn't concerned with Rice's availability, describing his condition as just bumps and bruises.

Rolle is returning from neck surgery after battling epilepsy last season.

"He's a special person," Ryan said. "He's our kind of guy, and he cares about his teammates. He knows this is a rough game and injuries happen to a lot of players. With the epilepsy and all that stuff aside, he is an amazing guy. I can't wait to see him out there."

UNACCEPTABLE: Special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is taking a hard-line approach to fixing the shoddy kick coverage that allowed Cleveland Browns star return specialist Josh Cribbs to return a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and pile up 237 return yards.

"What we did against Cleveland was not acceptable, so, yeah, we're working hard on our coverage aspect this week to make sure it doesn't happen again," Rosburg said. "There are a lot of teaching points, there are a lot of mistakes we made and we didn't tackle well. When you play against a good player like that, the result is what you saw."

There were several missed tackles in the open field, including safety Haruki Nakamura being shaken off by Cribbs as well as kicker Matt Stover on the touchdown as the Pro Bowl return man eluded a diving Corey Ivy toward the end of the return.

Harbaugh indicated earlier this week that personnel changes could be in the offing on special teams.

"When it comes down to it, you have to make the tackle," Rosburg said. "In the end, it comes down to, it's you and him. You've got to get him on the ground."

ROSTER MOVE: The Ravens re-signed wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright to the practice squad, cutting offensive lineman Marvin Philip.

QUICK HITS: An optimistic Cameron predicted that speedy return specialist Yamon Figurs, who has displayed shaky hands in the past, will provide a deep threat as the third wide receiver. Figurs hasn't caught a pass this season. "With Demetrius Williams going down, we challenged some of the guys to step up and I think Yamon Figurs will be the next guy," Cameron said. "Yamon Figurs, I'll be shocked if he's not the next guy to really make an impact for us." ... Texans defensive tackle Amobi Okoye (ankle) didn't practice for the second day in a row while linebacker DeMeco Ryans (shoulder) and wide receiver Kevin Walter (back) were upgraded to limited participation. ... Ray Lewis III, the son of Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis, was the first player chosen for the inaugural Football University Youth All-American Bowl, to be played Jan. 4. He plays several positions for Lake Mary Prep (Fla.)

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


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