Ravens general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome's opening statement:
"A couple of housekeeping things that I need to bring you guys up to speed with is that we released Marques Douglas today. Marques came in, was a good trade for both us and Tampa, did a very good job for us. We have not eliminated the opportunity to go back to him and try to bring him back. But I spoke to Marques this morning and told him that we were going to do this by 4 o'clock today.
"The other thing, we have Brian Mackler and Jim Ivler, Brian being the lead guy in negotiations for Domonique [Foxworth], and I just want to thank him for his fairness. And also, Pat [Moriarty] is here. As you know, most of the deals, 90 percent of the deals, Pat gets involved with, does them, stays here all night to get them done while I'm sleeping. So Pat gets a lot of credit, too.
"The last thing, before I move to Domonique, is that this is not a press conference about free agency. I'm not going to answer any questions, nor will John [Harbaugh], about any of the other things that we have going on. And we have things going on with our players, with other players, at this point, but it would be unfair for us to take any time away from Domonique and his family. For a young man who has grown up in this city, had a chance to play at the University of Maryland, and I have not asked him yet, but hopefully is getting a chance to play for a team that he dreamed about when he was growing up. I think that's a unique opportunity for any young man and his family to have that happen, so I don't want to take anything away from that.
"As far as Domonique and why we're sitting here, even though… I had a fun conversation with Jason [Brown] earlier today. I guess I do like defensive players more than offensive players (laughing). But, what we found out over the 12 or 13 years of this organization, when we've had good corner play, we won. And so, having depth at the cornerback position, having that as a strength on your football team, leads me to believe that we can be a successful team on the field next year. That's why as we started in the free agency with the coaches, with Vince [Newsome] taking over for George [Kokinis], Mark Azevedo getting involved in it, as we stacked our board from a pro personnel standpoint, corner was right at the top of one of the priorities that we felt like we needed to address. Getting the opportunity to watch Domonique, and the interesting thing about Domonique, who was traded from Denver to Atlanta, is his ability to adjust to what Atlanta was doing. To me, that shows coachability, that he was able to go there, adapt to what they were doing, and then get on the field and become a very productive player. The things that are attractive to me about Domonique, and it goes to a majority of the other corners that we bring in, is that he's athletic, he has unbelievable playing speed, and he can play the ball down the field. Those are the things that are attractive to us. In our division, we've got Chad [Ocho Cinco], we've got Braylon [Edwards], we've got Santonio Holmes, and Limus Sweed, and (to Foxworth), What's your friend's name? Oh yeah, Hines Ward. We have all those guys [in our division], so our ability to put pressure on the quarterback, but also to be able to cover those guys, we feel like it's a premium. Coach…"
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh's opening statement:
"Well, I'll just reiterate how excited we are for our football team and for our defense to have Domonique on board. And he's a top-flight corner, no question about it – a top-flight corner in the Ravens' mold, a corner that can cover someone all over the field, but not just that. He's physical, he's hard-nosed, he's smart, he plays extremely hard, and he's willing to tackle. And those are things that great players do on defense no matter what position they play, and that's what he does. Plus, he's a high-character person, and he's from right around the corner. So there's just no downside. And, we feel like we're going to play great defense here for a long time, and Domonique is going to be a huge part of that."
CB Domonique Foxworth's opening statement:
"Thanks. I mean obviously, Ozzie touched on it a second ago, that I dreamed of playing here. The Ravens didn't get here until I was probably a little older. When I was young I watched football in general. My brother and I were rooting for the 49ers and for Barry Sanders. That was our big thing. And when the Ravens got here, automatically we gravitated to them just like most of the city has, because they are a hard-nosed, blue-collar team – just like this city is. To finally be able to come back and be a part of it is great. Driving in, I drove down with my girlfriend from [Washington] D.C. today, and we drove past the University of Maryland where I played, and we drove past the exit to Western Tech where I went to high school. Coming around the corner, we drove past Deer Park Elementary and Middle School, where I was a Randallstown Panther. And then we pull into the driveway at Winning Drive. It's just a good feeling this morning to go down my Maryland football history and be able to make the last stop with the Ravens."
Can you talk about your career so far and how much upside you have here?
*(FOXWORTH) *"My career, I started as a third-round pick out in Denver, and I was fortunate to be able to play with Champ Bailey, who I think is one of the best probably ever to play the position. I learned a tremendous amount from him. My rookie year, I played fairly well. I started probably about 10 games, had a few interceptions, we went to the AFC Championship Game, and I had a great season. From then on, we had a bunch of talented corners out in Denver, so I ended up playing some safety. Coach [Mike] Shanahan told me I was one of the best DBs on the team, so it was a way to get on the field. That really helped me mature and learn route combinations and a lot more complex things in the game. Safety is a lot more mental than it is probably physical, so I was able to adapt to the physical part of the game and learn so much more about offensive concepts and defensive schemes. Then I was finally given a chance to start down in Atlanta, and I was able to put it all together. At the same time, I played some nickel, so I was able to put it all together and learn. Like Ozzie was saying, I was able to learn the defense and pick it up and be able to put my talents on the field. As far as upside is concerned, I've never really had an opportunity where I was comfortable. I think now I'm going to be comfortable and be able to focus, given that I had never really been comfortable in Denver because I'm being compared to Champ every day – which, he's a good friend of mine, and I was planning on meeting up with him in a couple days. Obviously, in Denver I just never quite felt comfortable being compared to Champ. Then I go to safety, something I hadn't played since I was playing at Western. Then I go down to Atlanta, and I'm plopped there on Week 1. I have to learn the defense and play, so I'm not quite comfortable yet. But through all this time, I was able to make plays, enough to grab the attention of the Ravens. Now I'll be comfortable. I feel like I don't have a Hall of Famer breathing down my neck, and I'll have this offseason, the proper amount of time to learn a defense and then apply my skills, be loose and have fun."
Do you feel like playing close to home will be an added boost for you or will it add pressure?
(FOXWORTH) "As far as being close to home, added pressure? No. There's no added pressure. The people who I care about were watching my games and coming to my games all along. I'd always hoped that people that I'd known in Maryland might keep track of me and stay on top of it, so now it just makes it easier for them to see how I'm doing. It's not any pressure. Nobody can put any more pressure on me than I can."
(NEWSOME) "Why don't you introduce your family?"
(FOXWORTH) "OK, no problem. I'll start on the end. This is my dad on the end, who… Great dude. It was really important for me to have him here. Often, I get a lot of credit for being a good role model. I've pressed education in all the communities that I've been in and done some really, really impressive things in Denver, as far as community. But that's my role model. He's just the perfect individual, as far as I'm concerned, so I'm really happy to have him here. This day is… You know how it is as a parent. Well, I don't know (laughter) *but I assume as a parent, this day might be even bigger to him than it is even for me. And my mother is the same way, made tremendous sacrifices for me to be where I am here. My grandmother, obviously, the same thing. [She] gave birth to my mother, which gives you this fine specimen that we have now *(laughter). So I guess even though my grandmother didn't play any sports, she must have some athleticism in there somewhere. My beautiful girlfriend right here next to my grandmother, I'm going to try not to embarrass her. I'm sure there are a few things I could say that would make her really mad, but I'll say it anyway. She was able to come down and be supportive. She's a 1L at Harvard Law right now, so I'm really proud of her. She's pretty good looking, also, which makes me happy (laughter). I'm going to be in trouble."
*(HARBAUGH) *"You're getting a bad look right there."
(FOXWORTH) "I'm going to be in trouble. And my brother, who has been my best friend. He's not like a normal big brother. He's always been a best friend. Big brothers beat you up and stuff you in the closet and don't want to take you with his friends. My athletic maturation was a lot quicker than most because my older brother was dragging me around with his big friends to play football since I was six or seven, so I got tough and I got good quickly. Those are my agents. They're good, too. They got me this deal (laughter). Good work, fellas."
With this addition, what's your outlook for the secondary?
(NEWSOME) "Basically, you can look at it as Domonique has replaced Chris [McAlister]. So going into the season last year, corner was a strong point on the team with the depth that we had. But as we got into the playoffs and into the Pittsburgh game, we got really, really thin at corner. So what John and I and the staff and Eric [DeCosta] talked about is have as many corners as you can and keep them around. I think they'll all find their way onto the field at some point."
Did you know going into free agency this offseason that Baltimore could be a possibility for you?
(FOXWORTH) "Being around sports as long as I have, it's hard to predict those sorts of things. So I kind of just tried to not stress myself out about it, just work out, stay in shape and put the pressure on my agents. That's why I pay them, so they can stress out and sweat about that sort of thing. I was pretty relaxed until this morning when I started speaking to my agent about the possibilities. That's the first time I really got excited."
What went through your mind when they told you the Ravens were interested in you?
(FOXWORTH) "Obviously, I couldn't sleep last night because you're going in… I've worked, like I said, since I was a Pop Warner Randallstown Panther, I've worked to get to a point where I can sign a contract like this one. So when you're up into the day before, it's like Christmas Eve times 12. So I'm up all night waiting for my agents to call, find out what's going to happen. Then they call, they go down a list of teams that have been calling them and showing interest and gauge who's more interested and who's not. That's what happened this morning. So once you hear Ravens, I'm [saying], 'Stop. Stop right there. Baltimore is an option?' They respond and say it was, so they get bumped to the front of the list. Anything that I can do to make it happen, you sacrifice some of the other things that are important to you because being close to home is obviously of premium importance in my thinking."
(NEWSOME) "I wish I'd have known that yesterday (laughter)."
*(FOXWORTH) *"That's why I hired Brian and Jim. If you'd have talked to me, it would've been a quick negotiation. Say, 'You want to play here.' 'Yeah.'"
*(NEWSOME) *"Rules didn't allow me to talk to you. That's the only reason why I didn't."
(FOXWORTH) "Exactly, so I put Brian on the job. He can keep his poker face. I was at home with my fingers crossed, hoping it worked out."
Can you talk about your comfort level coming into Baltimore's defense and how your talent fits the system?
(FOXWORTH) "Like Ozzie was saying earlier, they feel that I fit this [with my] ability, and I feel that I can play whatever type of system there is. In Atlanta, when I first started playing, corner was not their strong suit, so they were doing a lot of zones and a lot of things to protect their corners and not put a lot of pressure on them, which calls for more physical corners and not as fast and quick corners. I was able to adapt to that. By the end of the year, they recognized that our corners could play man, so we were back to playing man. In Denver, we played everything. We would go full games where we would not have a safety. We would just play Cover Zero the entire game. Then we'd have some games where we'd play Cover Two for a full game. So, I think I'm smart enough, experienced and talented enough to be able to play in any scheme. With the talent that we have up front, I've never played with that up there. Everybody knows it starts at the D-line and the linebackers being able to stop the run and get pressure on the pass. I've played in systems that are really good and with players that are really good, but this system is great and these players are great. So I expect it to be probably one of the easiest transitions I've ever made."
What do you think of the wide receiver talent in the AFC North?
(FOXWORTH) "It's an extremely talented division, but this league is talented. There's not a team that doesn't have a receiver that runs a 4.3, and there's not a team that doesn't have a receiver that's 6-5, 6-4, a big guy. So you face those challenges in every division and every week. I've been able to play against some of the best receivers in this league and fared quite well against most of them. So I feel really, really confident about entering this division. Like I said, with the guys up front, I've played against these other receivers and played well with different talent up front than what I have now. So I can only imagine how much easier and how much smoother the game will come to me."
Can you talk about the importance of adding a guy to the locker room with character like Foxworth's?
(HARBAUGH) "Well, you guys have been around us, and I know [Foxworth's] family has been around us here following us close, right? So you know what our team is all about. What you're referring to is exactly what is important to us, and that may be the most important thing. When we started talking about Domonique and started researching him, we found out he's a high-character person. He's a man of integrity. That's where we start, and then we look at all the other stuff. That's our foundation, and that's a big part of what he brings to the table."