OWINGS MILLS - Veteran free agent inside linebacker Jameel McClain remains optimistic that he can remain with the Baltimore Ravens next season.

Dialogue continues between McClain and the Ravens, but no deal has been hammered out.

"Yeah, hopefully that will happen," McClain told the Times in a telephone interview Wednesday night after arriving in Baltimore to receive a charitable award. "That's up to the powers that be and my agent to figure out that happy medium. I'm staying patient. I'm waiting for the perfect move at the perfect time. Patience is a virtue."

McClain, 26, visited the Denver Broncos, but they wound up re-signing middle linebacker Joe Mays to a three years, $12 million deal and outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard to a two-year contract.

"The trip was fine," said McClain, a Philadelphia native who has 209 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and three fumble recoveries in four NFL seasons after going undrafted out of Syracuse. "But Denver is pretty far from everything I know."

The market for inside linebackers is off to a slow start with Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, London Fletcher and McClain still unsigned.

Among the inside linebackers who have signed contracts: Stephen Tulloch (Detroit Lions) and Dan Connor (Dallas Cowboys).

McClain registered 91 tackles two seasons ago when he first became a full-time starter.

"It's just the way the market came down for inside linebackers this year," said McClain, who finished second on the team with 84 tackles last season behind Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ray Lewis. "It's more for me to work harder for."

McClain, whose family was homeless for a year growing up in Philadelphia, was honored Wednesday night by the Salvation Army with the first Champion of Compassion award at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore where Ravens team president Dick Cass was the keynote speaker.

McClain is extremely active in the community with the Salvation Army and other charitable causes.

"At the end of the day, it's not about recognition," McClain said. "If one person can change themselves for the better and do something for others, I look at it as me trying to better myself and the people around me. That's the easiest way to change the world."

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