Five seasons into his NFL career, quarterback Dennis Dixon incorrectly assumed that he was no longer eligible to join a practice squad.

Dixon had played in four games for the Pittsburgh Steelers with one of his two starts coming against the Ravens.


Under the NFL collective bargaining agreement, though, Dixon had been on the active list for fewer than nine regular-season games and that qualified him for the practice squad.

"I didn't know I was eligible for the practice squad," Dixon said today in the Ravens' locker room. "My agent told me I was eligible for it. There weren't any opportunies, so I grabbed the first one that came. I'm glad I'm here."

During the Steelers' 20-17 loss in Baltimore in 2009, Dixon completed 12 of 26 passes for one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and one interception as he was picked off by Paul Kruger.

As he walked to his locker today, Dixon was greeted respectfully by Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis.

"That's an honor," Dixon said. "That's a future Hall of Famer. Those words go a long way. It gives me tremendous confidence to do the job in the role that I'm in now and give them the best look possible. I'm working on my craft to try to make this team better any way I can."

Dixon had been out of a job the entire offseason after playing in no games last season for the Steelers.

The former Oregon standout initially tried out for the Ravens last spring when they auditioned him, former Baltimore starter Kyle Boller and Curtis Painter. Painter was signed and then cut during the final major roster cutdown.

"Everybody has bumps and bruises in their career," Dixon said. "You've got to take that into consideration and take the positives from it and grow from there. I"m starting over at the bottom and working my way up."

Dixon, who will be doing his best impersonation of Ben Roethlisberger on the scout team heading into the Ravens' Nov. 18 game against the Steelers, is now one of the rare players to play for both franchises.

"There's a lot of bad blood around both sides and a lot of respect, too," Dixon said. "It's always so cutthroat. It's always a grind. I still have a lot of close friends in Pittsburgh, but now I'm on the other side."