Instead of introducing John Brown and Ryan Grant to Baltimore Friday afternoon, General Manager Ozzie Newsome had just one of the wide receivers sitting next to him.
Newsome explained what happened with Grant’s nullified deal and made two things clear.
1) It was a medical decision only.
2) He didn't change his mind on wanting to sign Grant.
Grant took the Ravens’ physical late Wednesday evening, but the results didn’t come back until 4 p.m. Thursday. That’s when Newsome learned Grant had not passed Baltimore’s physical because of an ankle injury.
Newsome said he had a consultation with Ravens doctors and other outside doctors around the country to discuss the results.
The Ravens knew Grant had an ankle injury at the end of last season before they agreed in principle to a deal. They didn’t think it would prevent him from signing since he passed the Washington Redskins’ postseason physical, but had no way of checking before agreeing to terms.
Every team’s requirements to pass a physical is different, and the Ravens’ doctors failed Grant because of the ankle when the Redskins did not.
“That’s not a football decision,” Newsome said. “That’s a medical situation that I have no control over.”
Is the Ravens’ medical bar for players too high?
“Over the years, having had [Head Athletic Trainers] Bill Tessendorf and Mark [Smith], who were both trainers when I was a player, I thought we have been very fair,” Newsome said. “And I’ve felt we’ve been more on the players’ side when it comes down to physicals, because they have such a history of being around these players. I just trust those guys.”
There have been questions from some media members and fans about the timing of the whole situation. Free agent wide receiver Michael Crabtree officially hit the market earlier in the day Thursday, before Grant’s physical reached Newsome, and he’s visiting the team’s facility Friday morning.
But Newsome made it clear that Baltimore wanted Grant and Crabtree. There was no buyer’s remorse.
“If we would have signed Ryan, we still would have pursued Michael Crabtree,” Newsome said, adding that Head Coach John Harbaugh, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram all evaluated Grant.
“We felt like there was a role [for Grant]. It would have been interesting if we were sitting here a year from now or two years from now and those same people that had scrutinized us for doing it, what they would have been thinking. They probably would be hiding in a hole somewhere.”
The Ravens reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth $29 million, which was viewed outside the Under Armour Performance Center as a high price for a player whose biggest season was 45 catches for 573 yards and four touchdowns last year. Newsome said the scrutiny over the deal did not play any role in it falling through.
“I don’t get caught up in that,” he said. “I could talk chapter and verse about people scrutinizing our deals. They even scrutinize our deal with our quarterback, but he’s won a Super Bowl for us.”