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Billick to Boller: Be there or forget chance to start

The quarterback competition between Kyle Boller and Chris Redman may be over before it gets started.

Ravens coach Brian Billick said yesterday that Boller would not be allowed to compete to be the team's season-opening starter if he does not report to the first practice of training camp on Monday.

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Boller, the 19th overall pick in the draft, is one of the Ravens' two unsigned first-round picks.

"This is not meant to be a veiled threat of, 'Get into camp or Chris Redman is the starter,' " Billick said. "But if we're going into this and have said from Day One that this is an open, even competition, you have to be here. If you're not, the competition is over, particularly at that position.

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"[Agent Mike Sullivan and Boller] understand that and I'm comfortable with that. I don't believe it's going to be an issue. But until he is signed, it is a factor. Based on our conversations, it's not a major concern."

Billick's optimism may be premature.

Sullivan said the sides are not close and there was little dialogue with Ravens chief negotiator Pat Moriarty, who flew to Walnut Creek, Calif., for a two-hour meeting Friday.

According to Sullivan, he suggested to Ravens officials a month ago that the most relevant contract for comparison would be the one signed in 2000 by the New York Jets' Chad Pennington, the 18th overall pick of that draft and the last quarterback drafted in the middle of the first round.

At Friday's meeting, Sullivan said the Ravens informed him for the first time that they instead wanted as a pattern a deal given to the Washington Redskins' Patrick Ramsey, the 32nd and final pick of the first round last year.

"I was disappointed because we didn't really accomplish very much," Sullivan said. "Pat said the team would not discuss the Pennington contract, which we felt was the most logical starting point. When I asked them if they had a proposal to make, they said ... they weren't ready to make a proposal."

With no proposal on the table six days before camp starts, the Ravens could be continuing a troublesome trend. They have had four holdouts by first-round picks in the past six years.

Ravens officials contend this history is more of a reflection of the agents, not the team, and said they don't anticipate any holdouts this year.

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"I do believe that Mike Sullivan and Kyle Boller have a very solid appreciation and it's their intentions to be in camp on time," Billick said.

"If, indeed, a rookie has any chance whatsoever of being a starter in the opening game of the season, it requires a complete and full camp. I mean not so much as a day lost. They understand that."

Sullivan has a reputation for being a fair agent who keeps negotiations in perspective relative to what has happened in the past and what is happening in the current market.

He has completed high-profile deals for quarterbacks Michael Vick and David Carr, the top picks in the 2001 and 2002 drafts.

The Ravens also have a favorable past with the agent for linebacker Terrell Suggs, the team's other first-round pick. Gary Wicard, who represents Suggs, negotiated the deal for tight end Todd Heap two years ago.

Wicard did not return phone calls yesterday.

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"The agents we are working with are guys we have experience with," Billick said. "They're solid agents with regards to understanding the structure. I'm very comfortable with who their agents are. That's a real asset to us. There is good, solid communication, but that doesn't mean there won't be glitches."

NOTE: Tony Siragusa will be part of the TV broadcasting team for the Ravens' preseason games. A starting defensive tackle on the Ravens' Super Bowl championship team, he will join Dick Stockton and Daryl Johnston in the booth.

Camp data

What: Ravens training camp

When: Monday-Aug. 19

Where: McDaniel College

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Admission: Free

Preview: A breakdown of the Ravens' training camp will appear Friday.


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