Ravens re-sign Rolle

OWINGS MILLS — Less than a week ago, Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome outlined a recent sit-down between himself, cornerback Samari Rolle and coach John Harbaugh that he said broke a lot of barriers.

On Monday, any past differences of opinion seemed to be completely bridged as the Ravens announced that Rolle had been signed to a four-year contract. The deal carries a total value of $10 million with $3 million of that figure due in 2009, according to NFL Players Association figures.

Newsome acknowledged last week at the Ravens' draft luncheon that he was involved in discussions with Rolle and his representatives.

"What we experienced with Samari two weeks ago maybe, when he came in and sat down and talked with us and expressed some things to us and we were able to express some things back to him, it broke a lot of barriers," Newsome said last Wednesday. "And I know what his feelings about the Baltimore Ravens are right now today based on that meeting.

"I encouraged Samari to tell the rest of his teammates and players in the NFL that it's OK to sit down with the GM and the head coach, close the door an d talk man-to-man, air some things out. It works well for both parties."

It's slightly surprising that Rolle, 32, is back on the team after he requested and was granted his release nearly three weeks ago and took a free agent visit with the New York Jets. Former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, who signed a $48 million deal with the Jets during the first day of the free agent signing period, had even predicted to the Times that Rolle would become a Jet even before Rolle was officially released.

Now, Rolle returns for his 12th NFL season and his fifth year in Baltimore.

What remains to be cleared up is how the Ravens will utilize Rolle since they signed cornerback Domonique Foxworth to a four-year, $27.2 million contract to replace Chris McAlister, who was cut, in the starting lineup. The Ravens also have Fabian Washington under contract after he emerged as a starter last season.

Plus, Baltimore signed kicker returner Chris Carr as a reserve cornerback to a two-year, $5 million contract. The Ravens also return reserve cornerback Frank Walker.

The Ravens are likely trying to avoid a situation where they are lacking a quality starting cornerback if injuries arise.

Rolle was limited to 10 starts last season as he underwent minor neck surgery, but still managed to intercept three passes, force one fumble and deflect 13 passes. He was sidelined for the AFC title game loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a hip flexor injury.

A one-time Pro Bowl selection with the Tennessee Titans, Rolle has 298 career tackles and 31 interceptions.

Rolle signed a six-year, $30.5 million contract with Baltimore in 2005 that included $11 million in guaranteed money.

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

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