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Boller-Ruining His Chance.

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Boller-Ruining His Chance.

Postby Guttpuppy » Thu Jul 24, 2003 12:57 pm

AP Sports Writer

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- Kyle Boller appears headed toward a holdout that could ruin his bid to become the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens.

Boller - the 19th overall selection in this year's draft - will be given the opportunity at training camp to compete against Chris Redman and Anthony Wright for the No. 1 job.

But Boller won't be in uniform on the first day of camp Monday unless he and the Ravens close a sizable gap in contract talks.

"There are substantial philosophical differences between the sides," Boller's agent, Mike Sullivan, said Wednesday.

Boller won't be eliminated from the competition if he reports late, but a holdout would almost certainly hinder his chances of being the team's starter for the Sept. 7 opener against Pittsburgh.

"That's not to say it can't be done," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Unlike what has been speculated - that's if he's not there for the first practice it's over - I never said that. But clearly, these are long odds as it is. With every practice that you miss, you stretch those odds even farther and farther."

Sullivan is aware of this, but his lone concern is getting the proper deal for his client.

"Kyle was determined to get a fair deal, no matter team drafted him," Sullivan said. "When he gets a fair deal, he will sign."

Asked if he anticipated a holdout, Sullivan said, "I don't ever talk about what might happen."

Boller started every game for California last year, throwing for 2,815 yards and 28 touchdowns. He's still got much to learn, but so do Redman and Wright, who have 11 NFL starts between them.

The Ravens on Wednesday signed three draft picks: running back Musa Smith (3rd round), fullback Olvie Mughelli (4th) and offensive tackle Tony Pashos (5th).

But Baltimore could begin camp without both its first-round picks - Boller and defensive end Terrell Suggs, who went 10th overall.

"It's part of life in the NFL," Billick said. "It's frustrating, but we've dealt with it before and we'll deal with it again."

Suggs is expected to replace Michael McCrary as the starting defensive end. Boller's bid to become a starter will be much more difficult.

"From a conventional standpoint, it's ambitious for any rookie to start, at any position and no matter when he's drafted," Billick said. "But if Kyle can come in and prove that he has the ability and maturity to absorb the offense and move this team, then I would not hesitate to start him."

Playbook in hand, Redman was at the Ravens' training complex Wednesday. He started in six games last year before begin sidelined for the remainder of the season by severe back pain.
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