Ravens continue trend with Salave'a signing

OWINGS MILLS - Continuing their watchful eye on injured players discarded by other franchises, the Baltimore Ravens signed veteran defensive lineman Joe Salave'a to a contract. Josh Wright, Salave'a's Chicago-based agent, confirmed Saturday night that his client signed a one-year deal with Baltimore on Tuesday. The Ravens' offices are closed and the team was unavailable for immediate comment, but this signing falls in line with their late-season addition of cornerback Tom Knight.

Knight, a former first-round bust with the Arizona Cardinals who has been saddled with hamstring problems, was signed with the intention of creating competition at cornerback and to possibly let Gary Baxter move back inside to safety.

Salave'a is a former starter at defensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans, and was a fourth-round selection in the 1998 NFL Draft out of the University of Arizona. He missed the entire season with shoulder and ankle problems that deterred his normal conditioning program.

"Joe's training was at a huge disadvantage with the injuries, and he wasn't allowed to work out with the Titans," said Wright, president of Masterplan Group International. "He wasn't his normal Joe Salave'a self until about midseason. The Ravens checked in on his progress on a weekly basis and had a lot of discussions with Joe about bringing him in at the end of the season depending upon their injury situation.

"Joe's very excited about playing in a high-pressure defense like the Ravens, because that's what suits his aggressive style the best."

Wright didn't disclose terms of the deal, but the industry standard for veterans in Salave'a's situation is the minimum of $750,000. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder is a native of American Samoa and a close friend of Ravens offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo, a fellow Arizona alumnus and Pacific Islander.

His best season statistically came during the Ravens' Super Bowl run in 2000, when he recorded four sacks on a line that included All-Pro end Jevon Kearse.

Wright said Salave'a worked exclusively at defensive end during his workout for the Ravens, but said the lineman wouldn't be opposed to playing end in the base defense and shift to nose guard on third down.

"Joe doesn't care what position he plays," Wright said. "He just wants to compete and play some football."

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