Ravens, Foxworth part ways

OWINGS MILLS - Domonique Foxworth's frustrating and painful tenure with the Baltimore Ravens reached an unsurprising end Monday afternoon.

Still dealing with problems with his surgically repaired right knee from two years ago, the veteran cornerback was released after he failed his physical.

The combination of his ailing health, a $5.6 million scheduled base salary for next season and an accompanying $8.6 million salary-cap figure ultimately spelled the end for Foxworth in Baltimore.

The former University of Maryland standout and Randallstown native only played in two games over the past two seasons due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in a non-contact drill at McDaniel College one day before the official start of training camp two years ago.

"We appreciate all Domonique did for us the past three years, both with his play and his important leadership off the field," said general manager Ozzie Newsome, who met with Foxworth last Thursday at team headquarters. "This does not preclude us from bringing back Domonique at a later date."

That's true, but a Foxworth comeback is regarded as extremely unlikely because of the damage his knee has sustained and his bright future in the players' union leadership.

Foxworth, 28, was instrumental in the negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement last year, and he's the youngest member of the executive committee in the history of the NFL Players Association.

He's expected to retire and pursue a post-football career with the union.

Plus, the Ravens are well-stocked at cornerback with starters Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams, and nickel back Jimmy Smith, who was drafted in the first round last April. Webb and Williams are expected to be retained by Baltimore with $2.7 million first-round restricted tenders.

Signed to a four-year, $27.2 million contract in 2008, Foxworth only started 16 games in three seasons.

He recorded 64 tackles, four interceptions, 21 pass deflections and one fumble recovery.

A former third-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, Foxworth also played one season for the Atlanta Falcons before signing with the Ravens.

Foxworth acknowledged during the season after allowing a touchdown pass to Tennessee Titans cornerback Kenny Britt that his knee was still bothering him and causing him to play conservatively. He was placed on injured reserve after two ineffective games.

"The more I do, the worse it gets," Foxworth said. "It hurts, it sucks. I had a lot of pain during camp. It's still hurting. This is where we are.

"You end up playing conservatively because you don't want to let people down and you're still letting people down. So, it feels like you're in a lose-lose sometimes. You stay confident and keep fighting and do whatever's asked of me. To not be able to do it, it's frustrating."

In his best season with the Ravens, Foxworth recorded four interceptions and deflected 16 passes during the 2009 season.

Foxworth indicated that his rehabilitation was affected by the NFL lockout where he had to work out without supervision. The former Western Tech player also was involved in the labor talks and usually only had time to rehab once per day.

"Towards the end of my first year here, I was playing really well and I was feeling confident," said Foxworth, who recorded 24 pass deflections, three interceptions and three forced fumbles during three seasons with the Broncos. "It's frustrating to not feel as good as I want to feel to make plays and have all these great players depending on you to step up and play the way they know you're capable of and not be able to do it is frustrating."

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