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Missouri agrees to 3-year deal

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Ravens reduced their training-camp checklist by signing seventh-round draft pick Dwayne Missouri.

The defensive end from Northwestern agreed to a three-year, $924,000 contract that included a $28,000 signing bonus. He is expected to contribute on special teams this season.

With 13 days left before players report to Western Maryland College, the Ravens need to sign only their top three draft picks - tight end Todd Heap, defensive back Gary Baxter and offensive lineman Casey Rabach.

Ravens officials don't anticipate any holdouts or late free-agent additions. Last season, the Ravens signed tight end Ben Coates three days before players reported to camp.

"With our cap situation, the chance of signing someone before training camp is remote," said Ozzie Newsome, vice president of player personnel.

But the Ravens, who are reportedly $1.22 million under the salary cap, have enough room to make a move if the right player becomes available or if an injury occurs in training camp.

"If there is a player we would covet based on his performance and would be willing to come here to play, we would pursue it," Newsome said.

No interest in Hill

The Ravens denied reports they are interested in signing NFL Europe veteran Madre Hill as a backup running back.

Team officials don't see Hill as an upgrade over fifth-round pick Chris Barnes and never discussed bringing him in for a workout.

Hill, 25, who has a history of knee and neck injuries, averaged 5.6 yards on 69 carries for the Berlin Thunder. He was released by the Cleveland Browns on Feb. 22.

End zone

There was no movement in negotiations with any of the top three picks. As of yesterday, only 14 of the 95 players drafted in the first three rounds had signed. ... Baxter informed the Ravens yesterday he is now being represented by David Dunn. A second-round pick, Baxter had been in a custody battle of sorts between agents Leigh Steinberg and Dunn, who broke off from Steinberg's agency. ... The Ravens open training camp in Westminster on July 30, joining the Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the last teams to do so. The league's collective bargaining agreement says teams cannot open camp more than 15 days before their first preseason game. The Ravens begin their preseason Aug. 13 at Philadelphia.

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