The Ravens continued their trend of 3-hour practices at Owings Mills on Saturday watching yet another member of their 2010 squad find his way to another NFL team, as defensive tackle Kelly Gregg signed a one-year with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gregg, 34, was one of the Ravens’ four big cuts last week (Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Willis McGahee and Gregg) and after McGahee reportedly signed a contract with the Denver Broncos yesterday, Gregg becomes the second of them to find another team, and another to join the AFC West.
Gregg was in high spirits last week when he talked with WNST’s own Glenn Clark, but it was indicated today that Gregg never received a contract offer from the Ravens.
The Ravens must have felt like if Gregg’s wait for a new deal would be extended, they might be inclined to go as low as possible to bring him back to Owings Mills.
Gregg signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs and will immediately compete for the nose tackle position out in Kansas City.
LB Jarret Johnson, who is in his ninth season, spent most of that time around Kelly. He talked with him over the phone several days ago, and while he hoped Gregg would come back, Johnson said both and he Gregg knew the writing was on the wall.
“I think he kind of expected it,” Johnson said, “but I know he wanted to be here obviously. But, it’s a tough situation, and you get to that stage in your career when the front office has to make moves. We’re all going to be there one day.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh used a classic movie line to discuss the departure of Gregg.
“Kansas City just gave him an offer-I guess you could say-‘an offer he couldn’t refuse’.”
Ravens keep their Carr
However, the wait didn’t last as long as you might expect, but the move the Ravens made wasn’t a big of a splash and still only brought one of their own back into the mix.
CB Chris Carr announced on his Twitter feed (@Triplcarr) that he had re-signed with the Ravens about midway through Saturday’s practice.
“Well, bmore. I’m backkkkk,” Carr said on Twitter. “Very excited to finish my career here.”
The fifth-year man out of Boise State who has played for both the Titans and the Raiders previously, returns to the Ravens and will likely be immediately placed back in his comfortable nickel corner position behind starters Domonique Foxworth and rookie Jimmy Smith.
Carr, who registered 61 tackles and 2 INTs last season in 16 games of work, played well last season in an expanded role.
The New York Jets and longtime defensive coordinator Rex Ryan had expressed interest in Carr, but fortunately for the Ravens, Carr is back in Baltimore.
“I’m very excited,” Harbaugh said. “This is something that we had hoped to do certainly with Josh or Chris-one of those two guys. They were both highly sought after, and Chris is a really great fit for us because he’s so versatile.”
Carr expressed that same enthusiasm.
“Thanks to all the support,” Carr tweeted. “I love it here in bmore and I love everything about being a Raven.”
The deal is reportedly four years in length, and Harbaugh was quick to say that he got what he deserved.
“I know he talked about wanting to be a starter, and we certainly consider him a starter. He is getting starter money.”
Harbaugh said they would have been happy to bring in any veteran corner back. They’re even more excited that it’s one of their own who knows the system.
“You can’t have enough corners,” Harbaugh said. “Ozzie said it, and it’s true. You have to be able to cover the quick passes, and those passes are covered one-on-one. There is just no way around it.”
The Ravens are still probably in need of a veteran fullback to replace the likes of LeRon McClain, who is a free agent.
The “veteran” on the roster-Jason McKie, who joined the team midway through the season last year, returned to practice Friday after suffering what appeared to be a serious leg injury on the first day on camp. He was again out for Saturday’s session and appeared like what happened on Wednesday was nothing more than a scare.
Reports however did surface on Wednesday that the market for McClain may be heating up out in Oakland, and the other fullback that has been linked to the Ravens, Texans FA FB Vonta Leach, has been given a bigger contract offer by his home team in an effort to retain his services.
Leach may be asking for a contract similar to that of former Raven Ovie Mughelli, who signed a six year, 18 million dollar contract with five million guaranteed back in 2007. If that is the case, the Ravens will probably decline his services to go with a cheaper option at the position.
- Safety Ed Reed was in attendance for today’s practice, but did not participate in drills. Safety Nate Williams lined up at safety in Reed’s absence.
- WR/KR David Reed, T Ramon Harewood, DT Brandon McKinney, G Ben Grubbs all did not participate in practice as they remain on the PUP list. Others who did not participate in today’s practice include WR Hakeem Moore (Towson), T Andre Ramsey, C Ryan Bartholomew, WR Terrell Zachary also did not practice. Bartholomew was not present.
- With Grubbs on PUP and Yanda not able to suit up until the league year begins, the two guards lining up with the first team unit were rookie free agent Justin Boren and Brady Bond, who spent time on the practice squad last year. Boren lined up at LG next to Michael Oher, and Bond lined up at RG next to Jah Reid.
- Reid said at the podium afterward that he is getting used to the speed of the game, and that he took several good licks from the defense. When asked who delivered the hits, Reid said he couldn’t remember, but that it was “one of those linebackers.”
- The receivers certainly did their part in Saturday’s practice, as both Torrey Smith and James Hardy got looks with the first team unit opposite Anquan Boldin. Torrey Smith caught a fade route late in practice over his fellow draft pick in CB Jimmy Smith, and those two have been competing back and forth day-by-day in practice. Torrey after practice said that their competing will be an institution in Baltimore for years to come, he thinks. “He got me a couple times at the line today, so we can go back and forth for years. I’ll wear mine, and he can wear his.”
- James Hardy offers an intriguing scenario to the Ravens. Everyone keeps talking about how the Ravens need to get a big WR who can go up and get the ball. Hardy-a former 2nd round pick of the Bills and stands at 6’5”, 220, could be that guy. But fundamental mistakes-including letting the opposing CB jump in front of his routes at times during Saturday’s practice, might deflate that suggestion. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron at one point ripped into Hardy, yelling “Get in front of his face! We have to win our one-on-one battles gentleman! They’ll be double-teaming us on the other side, and we won’t be able to do anything!”
- Tyrod Taylor-who got much of the second and third looks on the day, started out inaccurate with his throws, either missing the receiver completely or not allowing the ballcatcher to get the ball in stride. He did make a nice 30-yard throw along the sidelines to Justin Harper over CB Josh Victorian, but it will be interesting to see how his progression comes along each day in camp.
- LB Jason Phillips did a great job in pass coverage hovering over the running back, and even delivered a bone-crushing hit on RB Matt Lawrence in the hole that was probably the biggest and loudest of the day. At the same time though, he also missed some tackles on outside sweeps.
Hear from John Harbaugh, Torrey Smith, Jah Reid, WR coach Jim Hostler, and LB Jarret Johnson in the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault!