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Friday, March 23, 2012
Ravens stay busy, re-sign Jameel McClain

By Jamison Hensley

The Ravens are enjoying their busiest day of free agency, re-signing inside linebacker Jameel McClain on Friday after already adding special-teams players Corey Graham and Brendon Ayanbadejo.

The team announced the return of McClain, who is expected to sign a three-year deal. McClain, 26, has been another one of the Ravens' undrafted success stories, becoming a two-year starter next to Ray Lewis.

Bringing back McClain is a little bit of a surprise because the Ravens have let other starting inside linebackers next to Lewis go elsewhere from Ed Hartwell to Tommy Polley to Bart Scott. The Ravens had a contingency plan in place when they gave a second-round tender to backup linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, a restricted free agent.

McClain, who drew little interest in free agency, is an impact player on run defense, but he is a liability in pass coverage. His stock improved with the Ravens last year when he filled Lewis' role during the time the Pro Bowl linebacker missed four games with a foot injury.

Before reaching an agreement with McClain, the Ravens added Graham and Ayanbadejo to help their struggling special teams. Before Friday, the Ravens' only free-agent addition was re-signing center Matt Birk.