Ravens add Stallworth: “Be careful what you ask for”

February 17, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Well…for years now, you all have pitched a fit about the Ravens’ receiving corps.

“We need better receivers.”

“When are Ozzie and Eric going to sign a wide receiver?”

“Flacco needs more weapons!”

You got your wish today when the Ravens added Donte’ Stallworth.

There’s no sense in offering you another of the 452 opinions you’re going to read on the subject of Stallworth and his drunk driving incident, incarceration and season-long suspension by the NFL.

You already have your own opinion on the matter, anyway, and it’s probably rooted in something that goes beyond whether or not Stallworth turns out to be a decent addition to the Ravens offense.

So I’ll spare you my own version of War and Peace and just say this about Stallworth:

I get it.  I understand why the Ravens signed him.  My folks at Owings Mills tell me he’s a good man that made a big mistake.  And they also say there’s a big difference between a bad guy who has a long history of troubles (*ahem* – that guy in Denver) and a good guy who made a horrific error in personal judgment. Like I said when the whole Michael Vick thing shook down a couple of months back:  At some point, these guys who are trying to prove they’re worthy of a second chance have to be evaluated.

For the most part, this is a low-risk move for the Ravens, if you disregard any potential fan-fallout they might inherit by bringing in a guy who killed someone with his car while operating that vehicle under the influence of alcohol.  On the field, the Ravens think he’s going to help them.  If August rolls around and he turns out to be a dud, they cut him.  No harm, no foul.  If the old Donte’ Stallworth shows up and catches some TD passes and makes a contribution to the team’s offense, the signing might look like a steal.

It’s a gamble.  I don’t think it’s a major gamble, though.  The guy was a decent player before he went to jail.

Most Ravens fans will spend their time today and tomorrow arguing whether or not the Ravens are doing the right thing rewarding him with his re-entry into the NFL.  And the front office isn’t stupid – they know those questions are coming.  And they know their feet will be held to the fire on this one…especially if Stallworth doesn’t get the job done on the field.  Obviously, they’re betting ON him, not AGAINST him…or they wouldn’t have signed him.  As one front office member said to me today:  ”We signed a good football player today.  We’re in the business of signing good football players who can come in and be part of our system and contribute the way the coaching staff wants them to contribute.”

The Ravens think they got a good guy and a good football player.  At least that’s how they portrayed it to me.

From a personal standpoint, you mainly have to ask yourself this: Is Donte’ Stallworth eligible for a second chance in your mind?

In my mind, he’s eligible.

In your mind, maybe not.

One thing is DEFINITELY obvious today:  He’s eligible in the mind of the Baltimore Ravens.

You, now, have to deal with it accordingly.

After all…you wanted them to go out and get a wide receiver.

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