The Baltimore Ravens signed veteran WR Donte' Stallworth to a one-year contract Wednesday morning, executive vice president and general manager Ozzie Newsome announced.
The Cleveland Browns recently released Stallworth after he served a season-long suspension by the NFL in 2009.
The Ravens have decided that Stallworth will not be made available to the media at this time, however, he will be available when the team's offseason workout program begins next month.
"We want Donte' to spend some time with our coaches and his new teammates before he meets with the media," Newsome said.
WR Donte' Stallworth
"There was a time I felt the mistake I made was the end of the world for me. I've had trouble putting it into words. So, when teams started inviting me for workouts, and the Ravens called, I was excited. It means a lot that they would be willing to take a chance with me. I have a lot of people I am thankful for, and that now includes the Ravens. I can't let any of these people down, including my family, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell and the Ravens.
"I will never get that morning back. It weighs on me every day and will for the rest of my life. What I can do is move forward, try to be a better person, try to convince others not to do what I did and warn others about the dangers of drinking and driving. I have to show otherwise that what happened doesn't reflect who I am. I have to prove that, and, hopefully, I'm on my way to doing that.
"I know my apology will never be strong enough for some, but I've made changes, and I'm trying to be a positive influence. It's an honor and privilege to play in the NFL, and I'm so thankful for this opportunity. I will make the best of it, and some people may listen to me because I will be playing. I hope I can do some good in delivering a message that could help someone or prevent someone from doing what I did.
"I know a number of the Ravens' coaches – Coach Harbaugh, 'Hoss' [Jim Hostler], Coach [Dean] Pees from my time in New England… even Coach [Cam] Cameron, who recruited me during my last free agency. They know me. They stood up for me. They've shown faith. I can't let them down.
"I've spent the last six months working hard with a trainer in case I got an opportunity to come back. I felt I had to work extra hard since I wasn't with a team. I'm ready to try and help the Ravens."
Executive Vice President and General Manager Ozzie Newsome
"We've given a lot of thought to this, and we've done extensive research into Donte' beyond football. He made a huge mistake. There's no doubt about that. He has paid a significant price for that and, as he has said, he carries a heavy weight. As [Ravens owner] Steve [Bisciotti] said, we believe in second chances, and Donte' does deserve that. But, we've signed him because we want to get better, and we think he has a chance to help us. We worked him out, and it's obvious he is working hard to be effective. We thought it was important to sign him now, because other teams were pursuing him, and we want him in our offseason program, which starts next month."
Head Coach John Harbaugh
"Our goal is to become a better team, and we work on that every day. Adding Donte' gives us the opportunity to improve. I observed him and interacted with him for a year when we were both in Philadelphia. He's the kind of person and player who can help us. It's clear that he is determined to play, that he has been working hard and that he wants to have a positive impact off the field, too. We're looking forward to working with him."
Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler
(Hostler coached Stallworth as a rookie in 2002 for the Saints when Stallworth caught 42 passes for 594 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns.)
"Donte' has talent and ability. That's why he was a high first-round choice. He's a player with the type of potential to make defenses pay attention to him. He was very productive as a rookie when he played 13 games. I know what kind of person he is, and I respect him. We all know the tragic mistake he made, but I believe he has grown from that, and we're looking forward to seeing him grow more. His second chance can be good for the Ravens. We plan to get the best out of him, and I'm confident he will give us his best."
Additionally, here are past statements from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Stallworth:
Roger Goodell at the Super Bowl Press Conference (Feb. 5, 2010)
"I met with [Stallworth] when I was down here in South Florida approximately a month ago for the last regular season game with the Dolphins. Donte' and I spent about 45 minutes to an hour together. I wanted to see how he was doing, what he had been focused on during his time away from the game, and I think he's in a better place than he was. I think he recognizes what he did and the horrific nature and the unfortunate outcome, and I think he's prepared himself to get back in and play. So, he will be reinstated after the Super Bowl on Sunday."
Donte' Stallworth Statement (June 16, 2009)
"I accept full responsibility for this horrible tragedy. I will bear this burden for the rest of my life."
Stallworth Career Recap
A seven-year NFL veteran, Stallworth has played in 95 career games (59 starts), recording 296 receptions for 4,383 yards (14.8 avg.) and 32 touchdowns.
Originally selected out of Tennessee by the Saints in the first round (13th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, the 6-foot, 200-pounder spent four seasons with New Orleans. He then played for Philadelphia in 2006, New England in 2007 and Cleveland in 2008.
Stallworth's most productive season came with the Saints in 2005 when he recorded career highs in catches (70) and receiving yards (945).