Friday, March 16, 2012
Ravens lose fifth player in free agency
By Jamison Hensley
Did you feel the breeze at the Baltimore Ravens' team facility? It's coming from the number of players walking out the door in free agency.
Backup safety Tom Zbikowski became the fifth player to bolt, joining Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts, according to the Chicago Tribune. Pagano, the new Colts coach and last year's defensive coordinator for the Ravens, has added Zbikowski and defensive end Cory Redding to help in the transition to his defensive system.
Besides Zbikowski and Redding, guard Ben Grubbs (Saints), linebacker Jarret Johnson (Chargers) and safety Haruki Nakamura (Panthers) have left the AFC North champions. In total, it's three starters and two backup safeties who ranked in the Ravens' top four in special teams tackles.
The team could lose a sixth player because inside linebacker Jameel McClain is visiting the Denver Broncos. The Ravens haven't signed anyone of note yet in free agency, but they are reportedly close to re-signing center Matt Birk, according to NFL ESPN Insider Adam Schefter.
Zbikowski made news last offseason when he decided to box during the lockout. He went 3-0 in fights last spring, winning two by knockout.
A third-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2008, Zbikowski started the first four games of last season at strong safety before missing two games with a concussion. Bernard Pollard took his spot, and Zbikowski never regained his starting job.