Ken Hamlin: 'This is a great opportunity'

OWINGS MILLS – In need of a proven insurance policy with Ed Reed recuperating from hip surgery and expected to be sidelined at the launch of training camp, the Baltimore Ravens acquired former Pro Bowl safety Ken Hamlin to reinforce the secondary. The veteran defensive back agreed to terms on a one-year contract Thursday and confirmed the deal in a telephone interview.

Along with cornerbacks Ken Lucas and Walt Harris, who declined the Ravens' veteran minimum contract offer, Hamlin auditioned for Baltimore at its final passing camp.

"I had a good few days while I was there and I got a good vibe from them," Hamlin said Thursday night. "I'm just ready to get going. I'm excited about it. They have so many weapons and leaders there already.

"I'm just going to do the best I can to learn and do whatever I have to do to help the team. I've got a lot to learn. They've done a lot this offseason to make it a real powerhouse."

The Dallas Cowboys cut Hamlin in April. The hard-hitting safety was due a $5.596 million base salary this year and he's coming off an injury-plagued season where his statistics dropped.

Hamlin recorded 74 tackles, but had no interceptions and just four pass deflections last season while missing four games with a high ankle sprain.

Hamlin was cut two seasons into a six-year, $39 million contract

"I think I played pretty well when I came back from the ankle injury," Hamlin said. "I think my play showed that I wasn't hampered by the injury. It got me back to being hungry."

His lone Pro Bowl berth was in 2007 with the Seattle Seahawks when he registered a career-high 102 tackles and five interceptions.

With the Ravens, Hamlin could bolster the position if Reed if he's out longer than expected. Reed is rehabilitating from hip surgery in Colorado with the doctor who performed the procedure.

"Dawan Landry is a great athlete, and I had the pleasure of meeting him and practicing with him," Hamlin said. "Ed is Ed. He's a phenomenal athlete. "I'm sure he's going to come back from that injury pretty well. This is just a great opportunity for me to be on a team that has the potential of winning a championship. That is huge."

Hamlin appeared to be in good shape during his tryout and moved around well. He tried out for the Cincinnati Bengals in April.

Hamlin has a history of bouncing back from adversity.

Five years ago, Hamlin suffered a fractured skull, a blood clot and bruised brain tissue when he was bashed in the head with a street sign outside a Seattle nightclub.

Following the brutal attack, Hamlin was out for the rest of the season after being hospitalized in critical condition.

Two seasons later, he was in the Pro Bowl. At 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Hamlin has a reputation for delivering big hits.

"You've got to make a statement throughout the game," Hamlin said. "Sometimes, a guy will get a little courage and go across the middle. You want to make sure that he knows there's someone back there who will enforce things."

Harris had a strong tryout where he displayed that his surgically repaired knee is back in working order.

However, Harris decided not to sign with the team at this time.

Something could still be worked out with Harris between now and training camp, but that's unlikely to happen if the Ravens don't increase their offer.

And that could be a tough sell considering that Harris was out all of last season with the San Francisco 49ers due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will celebrate his 36th birthday during camp.

The Ravens could still use depth at cornerback with Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb recovering from major knee surgeries. It's unclear if the Ravens will turn to Lucas or another veteran or stand pat.

Meanwhile, the Ravens cut four undrafted rookies in safeties Ashton Hall (Marshall) and safety Brad Jones (Cincinnati), defensive lineman John Fletcher (Wyoming) and cornerback Courtney Smith (Central Washington) as well as first-year center Daniel Sanders.

For now, the only new addition is Hamlin. "I think their scheme is perfect for me," he said. "You have the opportunity to make a lot more plays on the back end. They're very aggressive, so that suits me perfectly."