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Archive for Saturday, March 3, 2001

Grbac pays visit to Baltimore

Ex-Chiefs QB gets acquainted with Ravens as free-agent signing period begins

March 3, 2001

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— Elvis Grbac visited the Baltimore Ravens Friday for what team officials called a get-acquainted session as the NFL free-agent signing period began.

The Super Bowl champion Ravens are hoping to revive their offense next season after relying heavily on their record-setting defense in 2000.

Grbac, who threw for 28 touchdowns and 4,169 yards for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, is one of two highly sought free-agent quarterbacks, along with Brad Johnson. The Chiefs terminated Grbac's contract Wednesday to get under the NFL's $67.4 million salary cap, allowing him to negotiate with other teams.

Grbac arrived in Baltimore Friday afternoon and met with coach Brian Billick late into the night, Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said. But Byrne said there were no contract negotiations, describing the talks with Grbac as preliminary.

Grbac started for the Chiefs the past four seasons, passing for 10,643 yards with 66 touchdowns and 47 interceptions.

Byrne also said there were discussions Friday between the Ravens and Johnson's agent. Johnson led the Washington Redskins to the playoffs in 1999 but fell out of favor last season, when the Redskins dropped to 8-and-8. He passed for 2,505 yards, 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of personnel, said Thursday that signing a starting quarterback would be the team's top priority after the team cut backup Tony Banks and elevated second-year man Chris Redman to the No. 2 role.

Quarterback was a trouble spot for the Ravens last season, when they won the Super Bowl despite the NFL's 16th-ranked offense and the No. 22 passing attack. The Ravens benched Banks during a five-game stretch when they did not score a touchdown and replaced him with Trent Dilfer, who passed for 1,502 yards and 12 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

Dilfer won his final 11 starts with Baltimore, but Johnson is considered to have a better arm. He also played well under Ravens coach Brian Billick when both were with the Minnesota Vikings.

Newsome indicated on Thursday that the Ravens were waiting for a contract offer from Dilfer's agent, but would not speculate on the chances that Dilfer would return to the team.

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