Reunion interests Sharper
3/10/2005 - 3-10-05, 5:40 a.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
One of Marvin Lewis’ high-profile Super Bowl defenders is interested in re-joining him in Cincinnati, but a few things have to happen first.
Linebacker Jamie Sharper, who had 20 tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions during the Ravens’ championship postseason for Lewis in 2000, is on the trading block in Houston and he has told his agent he finds playing for Lewis again intriguing.
But Tony Agnone said Wednesday it doesn’t look promising that a trade can be struck with any team.
“We’re looking into a release,” said Agnone, the Baltimore-based agent who has a good relationship with Lewis from his six seasons there as the Ravens defensive coordinator.
“It’s up to the Texans, and obviously we’d like to get Jamie on the market as quickly as possible,” Agnone said. “He loves Marvin. He’s his guy, his mentor, whatever you want to call him. Jamie would love to be able to sit down and talk with Marvin, but he can’t and we can’t. We’ve been given permission to seek a trade, but not permission to talk.”
Agnone wouldn’t comment when asked if he had approached the Bengals about a trade, but he indicated they are one of the team’s leading Sharper’s list.
Sharper, who turns 31 late in the season, has never missed a NFL game in the eight years since Lewis helped draft him in the second round out Virginia in 1997. He is one season removed from leading the NFL in tackles with 195 and in his three seasons with the Texans he has had at least 137 tackles.
The 6-3, 240-pound Sharper, who works mainly on the inside, is an athletic ball hawk who would also help the Bengals raise themselves from No. 26 in NFL run defense. Although Houston is moving in a different direction at backer, he’s coming off a 137-tackle season in which he returned one of his two fumble recoveries for a touchdown. He’s also got 25 career sacks.
Agnone anticipates Sharper playing on the left, or strong side, if he ended up in Cincinnati, but also said he could play the middle because of his experience playing inside in the Texans’ 3-4 alignment.
“I think the thing he wants to do is to be able to sit down with Marvin,” Agnone said. “But that can’t happen yet and we’re hoping things move along.”
What is not clear yet is if the Bengals have been holding off to make a run like this in free agency, or if they simply don’t have the salary cap room to make such a move. There has been some speculation they may be waiting for March 12, when Sharper’s brother, safety Darren, is expected to be released by the Packers.
In a bit of a twist, the Bengals keep talking about a long-term deal with the agent for running back Rudi Johnson, a guy that just happens to be friends with the Sharpers. They grew up in Richmond, Va., not far from Johnson in Ettrick, Va.
Also Wednesday, the situation of Dolphins defensive lineman Bryan Robinson looked to be status quo, with the Bengals, Broncos, and Cowboys in the picture.