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Lardarius Webb excited about tonight's charity softball game; working in tandem next season with Jimmy Smith

Lardarius Webb has watched this story unfold before.

It's happened enough times that the Ravens veteran cornerback did a somewhat sarcastic Lou Holtz impression while discussing the outlook for the defense against the offense in tonight's sixth annual charity softball game at M&T Bank Stadium.

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The offense has traditionally dominated the series, winning the game several years in a row. The offense's lineup is headlined by quarterback Joe Flacco, a former all-state baseball player in New Jersey, bashing home runs. Webb characterized Flacco as a ringer.

"Defense ain't got no shot at all," said Webb, whose softball game benefits his charitable foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of Baltimore and other youth programs. "I've been playing this game for years, I know we don't have a shot. We're going to try to tweak the lineup a little bit, but most of the guys on defense aren't coordinated to play this game. We're going to try to win, but most of the guys on offense are just better with the bat."

Several players who are in town are scheduled to attend the game, including Webb, wide receiver Steve Smith and former Ravens players Ed Reed, who officially retired from the NFL on Thursday after signing a one-day contract with the Ravens, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith, Detroit Lions safety James Ihedigbo and Lions linebacker Josh Bynes. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and the first pitch is at 7 p.m.

"A lot of guys will be out there to support me and have a good time under the lights," Webb said. "We're excited to be out there in front of the fans."

Webb is upbeat about the upcoming season after an injury-plagued year last season, when he dealt with a hematoma that pressed on a nerve and caused the leg muscle to atrophy, affecting his mobility. He regained some of his old shutdown form by the end of the season, recording 43 tackles and an interception in 13 games with 11 starts.

The Ravens have invested heavily in the cornerback position this offseason, signing Jimmy Smith to a four-year, $48 million contract extension that includes $21 million in guaranteed money as he's returning from a Lisfranc foot sprain that required surgery.

The Ravens also restructured Webb's contract. He now has a $9.25 milllion salary-cap figure, down from $12 million for this year. He's due $18 million over the next three years with $5.25 million in guaranteed money.

The Ravens didn't draft a cornerback until the fourth round when they selected developmental Texas Southern corner Tray Walker. The Ravens had heavy interest in cornerbacks Kevin Johnson and Marcus Peters, but both were gone by the 26th overall pick when they selected Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman.

"Hey, we got Jimmy, I don't think we needed to draft a cornerback because of me and Jimmy," Webb said. "I think we needed to draft a corner because of what we went through last year and the guys we have behind us and kind of add some depth. They know what they're doing.

"We do have some good guys. We have Rashaan Melvin and Tramain Jacobs. We can treat them like draft picks. Asa Jackson is coming along. He should have it by now. They have that time under their belt and room to grow. I think they didn't choose to get many corners because we have some young guys who are very talented and the upside is so much."

Smith is under contract through the 2019 season, and Webb is under contract through the 2017 season. Before Smith got injured, he was arguably playing at a Pro Bowl level.

"It's good, Jimmy deserves it," Webb said. "When you see what he's done these past few years, how much better he got from Year Two to Year Three, he deserves every penny he got. He could have got more, but we understand we want to  be Ravens for life and what we want to do as a duo. I'm very excited for him. I'm going to take him out and he's going to buy me something."

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider

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