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Hamlin Becomes the Newest Raven


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The Ravens further shored up their secondary by signing safety **Ken Hamlin** to a one-year contract, the team officially announced on Tuesday.

Hamlin tried out for the Ravens two weeks ago as part of a group that included cornerbacks Walt Harris and Ken Lucas.

Now, Hamlin finds himself joining a defense that ranked third in the NFL last season and has finished no worse than sixth since 2003.  Hamlin just hopes to add to Baltimore's defensive legacy.

"I'm just trying to be another piece of the puzzle," Hamlin told on Tuesday.  "The Ravens already have great talent and great players there.  I'm honored for the organization to want to bring me in.  This is an opportunity for me to get better and learn from guys that have been doing it well for a long time.  

"I'm a guy that's going to fly around and get to the ball, and I'm about to be surrounded by a lot of guys that do the same thing."

Hamlin, 29, has a solid resume himself.

A former second-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, Hamlin emerged as a hard-hitter that was a thumper over the middle.

The 6-foot-2, 209-pounder joined the Dallas Cowboys in 2007 and immediately earned a Pro Bowl honor after posting 102 tackles and five interceptions. Hamlin then continued his steady production with 92 stops the following season.

Last year, a high ankle sprain caused Hamlin to miss four games, and he failed to record an interception all season.

Still, Hamlin returned to the Cowboys' starting lineup for the final three contests of the regular season and two in the playoffs before being released in April. 

"If you just look at stats, you're missing a lot," Hamlin said of his 2009 showing.  "I went in week-in, week-out and played as well as I could, even though I missed four games.  Then, when I came back, I was playing a lot faster and looser.  That was the biggest thing.  I feel that I played at a high standard and continue to hold myself to that high standard."

Hamlin said he was scrutinized by the Ravens' medical staff while he was in Owings Mills, Md., for his workout.

"I took all the steps to let them know that I was healthy," he continued.  "Being able to get back on the field showed that the injury was behind me.  Even when I came back, it didn't hinder me.  I got to play like myself and make a couple of hits."

The University of Arkansas product offers depth behind – and insurance for – fellow safety **Ed Reed**, who previously hinted at retirement because of a neck/shoulder injury and had a procedure performed on his hip earlier this offseason.

The Ravens had been playing **Tom Zbikowski** in Reed's place during organized team activities.  Zbikowski also started four games for Reed (hip/ankle/groin) last year.

For his part, Hamlin is eager to play alongside defenders he has admired his entire career, like Reed and linebacker **Ray Lewis**.

"Those guys have made their name known," said Hamlin. "Not just in the AFC, but where they're recognized across the NFL.  I'm excited to play next to Ed at the same position and pick his brain about the types of things he does.  And watching Ray and the way he plays, to get the knowledge of how this defense works, is going to be big."

With training camp more than one month away, Hamlin said he is already anxious about joining his new teammates.

But the fact that he already had a brief meet-and-greet with Ravens coaches and players will ease the transition.

"I think it's good to be a little nervous and have that energy that gets you excited to start something new," he explained.  "I'm excited to see the team together and how I fit in.  It's going to be fun to get out there and start playing football again.  

"The offseason is long after a while, and you miss football.  I get to do what I love to do and play for a great organization."

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