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Ravens still working to add a veteran cornerback

New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) celebrates after an onside kick against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 8, 2013. The Patriots defeated the Cleveland Browns 27-26.
New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington (25) celebrates after an onside kick against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 8, 2013. The Patriots defeated the Cleveland Browns 27-26. (David Butler II / USA Today Sports)

While not specifically addressing free agent Kyle Arrington, Ravens coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome made clear Tuesday night that they are still trying to add a veteran cornerback.

"Ozzie is working on that right now," Harbaugh said during a conference call that attracted approximately 5,000 season-ticket holders. "I think Ozzie said [that] we're not finished there."

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Looking to provide more depth and experience at a position that was probably their biggest problem area last season, the Ravens bid on several free-agent cornerbacks earlier this offseason. However, they didn't land any of them, failing to secure deals with the likes of Cary Williams, Perrish Cox and Tramon Williams.

Another potential target is Arrington, a 28-year-old who was released by the New England Patriots on Monday. Arrington, who started 56 games and had nine interceptions over the past six seasons for the Patriots, continues to weigh his options, which include a possible return to New England on a lower salary.

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However, the Ravens have several factors that would seemingly appeal to him. Arrington, also a quality special teams player, is from Accokeek, Md., and went to high school at Gwynn Park in Prince George's County. He also is leaving a situation where he did nothing but win, so an opportunity to join another perennial contender could be enticing.

Newsome wouldn't comment specifically about Arrington, saying only, "There are a lot of players available right now that I've been on the phone talking to representatives of."

Newsome has acknowledged on several occasions that he'd still like to add to the secondary, even after agreeing to an extension with Jimmy Smith, restructuring the contract of Lardarius Webb and drafting Texas Southern's Tray Walker in the fourth round.

"This is the time of the year where because of the draft, teams start to tweak their rosters," Newsome said. "We'll be on a lookout not only for additions to the secondary, but for any other good player that may be released over the course of the next three months.

"We also realize that once the draft is over, we're not through tinkering with our football team and hopefully we'll add some depth to the secondary if some good players become available."

Harbaugh expressed confidence in the team's returning corners. He said the Ravens don't have any "glaring needs" and could play a game now if they needed to.

"We've had a bunch of injuries and we've had a bunch of young guys out there and those guys have played pretty well. But you're right, not well enough to get us all the way where we need to get," he said. "We added some guys in the middle of the season that ended up starting for us in the playoffs. I like our young guys. We like [Rashaan Melvin]. We like Chris Greenwood. We like Asa [Jackson]. We think those guys are developing players. We're not done yet. Jimmy is going to be a big part of what we're doing. Lardarius is going to be healthy. That's going to be huge for us. We still may add a player or two to try to bolster that depth like we're talking about here."

Harbaugh and Newsome touched on several other topics:

Contract extensions: Newsome said that the Ravens are still trying to work out extensions with several of their players that are closing in on free agency. That group includes guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele, strong-side linebacker Courtney Upshaw, kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch.

"We have several guys that right now we're working to try and get extensions," Newsome said. "We were able to get Jimmy's done and that was a big help for us because it did create some additional cap room. As an organization, we want to continue to try. [Owner Steve Bisciotti] already said that Yanda is someone we would like to extend, and Justin Tucker. Several guys we are targeting as to try and get extensions done. Sometimes, if we don't get an extension with one, then we'll move on to the next guy."

Dennis Pitta: The Ravens still don't know about whether tight end Dennis Pitta, who has fractured and dislocated his hip in back-to-back years, will be able to play this season. However, Harbaugh reiterated that Pitta "has a chance."

"He's practicing now, but that will play itself out with Dennis' safety and how he feels about his hip holding up," Harbaugh said.

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Return man: After letting former Pro Bowl selection Jacoby Jones go earlier this offseason, the Ravens don't have a clear answer at kick returner. However, Harbaugh isn't worried.

"We're not there yet," the coach said. "We don't have that answer yet, but we're going to get it. We have some options. I really believe [Michael Campanaro] can do it, especially as a punt returner. We have a young free agent [DeAndre Carter] in here we like. Lardarius Webb is a guy, that to be honest with you, he wants to go back there and do it. He's told me that a couple of times. I don't know if we'll let him do it or not, but he's a talented guy. And there are other guys who can do it. Ozzie, he's got something up his sleeve here probably here before the season starts. We'll come up with a guy, but you're right -- we don't have that guy yet."

Schedule: Harbaugh, whose team has two sets of back-to-back games on the West Coast – at Denver and at Oakland (Sept. 13 and 20) and at San Francisco and at Arizona (Oct. 18 and 26) – said that the team remains likely to stay on the West Coast in between those games.

"We're still doing some studies. We've got some sleep specialists, some time-zone specialists. We try to turn over every stone to do the right thing," Harbaugh said. "I anticipate that we'll stay out there just because our guys get acclimated and we don't want them traveling back and forth and having their bodies have to readjust to the time-zone change four times."

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