- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2001

OWINGS MILLS, Md. Elvis Grbac will be the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Coach Brian Billick said yesterday the Ravens aren't considering waiving their option on Grbac's contract. The club must decide by March 1 whether to honor Grbac's $6million signing option and whether it is a sound investment to stay under next season's $72million salary cap. Grbac, who has struggled in his first season with the Ravens and is the AFC's 12th-rated passer, would be locked up for another three years if the Ravens exercise his option.
"I have told you repeatedly, Ozzie Newsome [Ravens senior vice president of football operations] said Elvis Grbac's contract is structured for him to be here for the duration," Billick said. "It's not structured for him to leave early, for us to have an out early. He's my quarterback now, he's going to be my quarterback next year and the year after that and the year after that. The only thing that would change that is if he chooses to retire which I doubt or a career-ending injury."
Grbac signed a five-year, $30million deal in March. If the Ravens decide not to exercise Grbac's option, the club would be liable for just $5.5million.
"I never, ever really doubted Coach's confidence in me and why he wanted me to come here," Grbac said. "I've been in situations like this before on other teams. When the season is on, I'm a football player. When the season is over, I'm a businessman, and I take care of business and what's right for my family. After the season, we'll sit down and talk and we'll go from there. Financially, I'm sound. I can step away from the game if I wanted to."
Grbac has had a rocky time adjusting to Billick's offensive scheme a version of the West Coast offense. Grbac has thrown more interceptions (16) than touchdowns (14) and has fumbled eight times, losing four.
"I'm sure Elvis would have liked to have played better," Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe said. "Heck, we all would have liked to play better therefore we would not be 8-5. I cannot put all the blame on Elvis. This is not all Elvis' fault. If Brian says we're going to war with Elvis, we're going to war with Elvis."
Billick said any talk of the Ravens wanting to sever ties with Grbac is a lie and reiterated that he is telling the truth.
"I can be incompetent, I can be a bad coach, I can be arrogant, egotistical, and I can be all those things, but I haven't lied to anyone here," Billick said. "I'm going to take it personal [if the media says] he's never done it before, but I think this guy is lying to us about that contract. We can get out of anybody's contract if we are willing to take the appropriate hit if we think someone is not performing."
Meanwhile, Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker Takeo Spikes did some talking of his own. On a conference call dealing with Sunday's game at PSINet Stadium, Spikes blasted Sharpe over comments the Ravens tight end made about him. Last week Sharpe said Spikes was more like the movie "Dude, Where's My Car?" and Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis was like the film "Titanic" when asked to compare the middle linebackers.
"I know Shannon, and that was disrespectful to me," Spikes said. "Not only is it a challenge to me, but it's a challenge to the rest of my teammates. Because there is no pressure on us; all the pressure is on them. They lost last week, they lost to us [21-10] in our first game. We're 1-0 against them."
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Tony Siragusa is listed as questionable for Sunday's game with an intestinal blockage. Siragusa didn't practice yesterday and it is unknown whether he will practice the rest of the week.

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