Bennett Signs One-Year Deal


Drew Bennett  showed enough in a tryout of four free agent receivers on Friday that the Ravens signed him to a one-year contract.

Bennett not only upgrades Baltimore's receiving corps, he also helps fill a potential void left when Derrick Mason unexpectedly opted to retire last week.

The Ravens worked out Bennett, D.J. Hackett, Chris Hannon and Justin Brown at their team training facility in Owings Mills, Md. The tryout also included a rookie quarterback and linebacker, the identities of which were not disclosed by the Ravens.

Bennett, 30, spent the past two years with the St. Louis Rams, but only caught one pass in 2008 after breaking a bone in his left foot.

But Bennett, who passed a physical Friday, is an intriguing prospect for the Ravens. He is not far removed from putting up big numbers. From a span of 2004-06, Bennett averaged 907.3 yards and 61.3 catches per season as a Tennessee Titan. He also scored 11 touchdowns in 2004.

"It's good to be able at this time of year to pick up a player who has been very productive in the league, and that includes against our defense," said Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome. "He has been very competitive against us. We obviously liked his workout today.

"We wanted to make sure he was healthy and that he still had the things we've seen against us and on film. Drew's situation is a lot like L. J. Smith, who we added earlier this offseason. Both are proven veterans coming off injuries who are looking for the opportunity to resurrect their careers."

And Bennett's 6-foot-5, 196-pound frame can help stretch the field for strong-armed quarterback Joe Flacco.

"They said they really liked what they saw and we're going to take it from there," Bennett told Baltimore reporters outside of Ravens headquarters. "Hopefully, it means good things. Hopefully, it means that they'll be looking to sign me if I pass the physical."

Bennett was confident that his foot injury was completely healed. He originally broke the bone in Week 1 last year, and Rams officials were hopeful that he would return at some point during the season.

Instead, Bennett was placed on Injured Reserve on Nov. 3.

"It took a lot longer than I thought it would," Bennett said of his recovery process. "I thought it would only be six to eight weeks, but it was bothering me all the way up until February.

"It took a little while. I wanted to get back to where I don't feel it at all. It's been probably three months now since I felt it at all."

The Ravens are "hopeful" that Mason will return to play a 13th season, according to head coach John Harbaugh. The veteran wideout is coming off a year where he posted a team-leading 80 catches for 1,037 yards and seven touchdowns.

Harbaugh has met with Mason to discuss the retirement, which could be attributed to a personal situation.

With the addition of Bennett – and the absence of Mason – the Ravens' top receivers now include Mark Clayton, Demetrius WilliamsMarcus Smith and Kelley Washington.

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