- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

BALTIMORE The Baltimore Ravens expanded their depth chart at quarterback to two yesterday, signing unrestricted free agent Jeff Blake to a one-year contract.
Blake will serve as the backup to Chris Redman, who was the lone quarterback on the roster after the Ravens released Elvis Grbac and Randall Cunningham.
"Chris is No.1 on the depth chart until he proves he can't be No.1," said Ozzie Newsome, Ravens senior vice president of football operations.
Blake, a 10-year veteran, was released last month by the New Orleans Saints. He drew interest from several teams, most notably the Buffalo Bills before they obtained Drew Bledsoe from the New England Patriots on Sunday.
The Ravens would not release the terms of the deal, believed to be for the NFL-minimum $750,000.
"I am very excited to be here," Blake said. "I have had an opportunity to play against the Ravens and Coach [Brian] Billick while I was with Cincinnati, so it is a great opportunity for me to play with them now."
Baltimore was eager to get a capable backup for Redman, who has thrown only three passes in game situations since being selected in the third round of the 2000 draft.
"One reason we signed Jeff Blake is that we know we need at least two quarterbacks to play a season. That was proved last year with Randall," Newsome said.
Cunningham played well when Grbac was injured, completing 54 of 89 passes for 573 yards and going 2-0 as a starter. Cunningham, 38, has said he would be willing to return to the Ravens, but the addition of Blake lessens the likelihood.
"We're thrilled to have someone of Jeff's experience and proven ability," Billick said. "He will bring an energy to the club and, if for any reason due to injury or performance, Chris is not able to go, then we feel fortunate to have a guy of Blake's caliber."
Blake joined the Saints in 2000 and started 11 games before being sidelined by a broken foot. He was replaced by Aaron Brooks, who took over as the team's No.1 quarterback. Blake appeared in only two games last season and threw only one pass.
"We get a guy who's been to the Pro Bowl and has played a decade in the NFL," Newsome said. "He served as a mentor in New Orleans last year, and we know he can handle that kind of role here."
Blake has played 92 NFL games, starting 77. He is 1,428-for-2,533 for 17,199 yards and 106 touchdowns. He began his career with the New York Jets, but made a name for himself with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1994-99.

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