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Ravens sign defensive tackle Elijah Qualls; QB Robert Griffin III expected to return by Week 1

Ravens sign defensive tackle Elijah Qualls; QB Robert Griffin III expected to return by Week 1
Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III watches a replay as he stands on the sideline during a preseason game against the Jaguars. (Ulysses Muñoz/Baltimore Sun)

After trading guard Alex Lewis to the New York Jets on Monday, the Ravens filled their last roster spot by signing defensive tackle Elijah Qualls, the team announced Saturday.

Qualls was a sixth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017, and he played in six games and made four tackles as a rookie. The Washington product did not make the Eagles’ 53-man roster last year and then was waived with a nonfootball injury by the Carolina Panthers on July 24.

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The 6-foot-1, 321-pound Qualls was not signed in time to practice Saturday. Also missing from practice were running back Kenneth Dixon, wide receiver Seth Roberts, offensive lineman Randin Crecelius, cornerback Maurice Canady, and linebackers Nicholas Grigsby and Michael Onuoha.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Roberts, one of the team’s top receivers in training camp, will miss a week or two with an undisclosed injury. Onuoha, an undrafted free agent who is a long shot to make the Ravens’ 53-man roster, broke his wrist in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars and will be out “for a little while.” The other absentees have minor injuries, Harbaugh said.

Backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, meanwhile, is expected to be back to full strength by the first week of the regular season. Since fracturing his hand early in camp, Griffin has worn a protective device on his thumb, which affects his ability to grip the ball. Griffin has been throwing more at practice, but he “won’t be able to do anything until that fracture heals,” Harbaugh said.

Extra points

>> Two days after a 4-for-4 performance against the Jaguars, backup kicker Kaare Vedvik went 6-for-8 on field-goal attempts in practice. He missed from 33 and 59 yards.

>> Safety Bennett Jackson followed his interception Thursday with another pick Saturday, this time against quarterback Joe Callahan. He showed impressive range in racing over to the corner of the end zone to beat wide receiver Sean Modster to the ball. Cornerback Brandon Carr also had an interception near the goal line, making Lamar Jackson pay for his lone bad play of the afternoon.

>> Gregory Gadson, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army who’s served on active duty in the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War, addressed the Ravens after practice Saturday.

“He talked about what it means to be a team," said Harbaugh, who met Gadson during a visit to Iraq years ago. "And he talked about [how] the essence of being part of a team is about trust, being able to trust one another.”

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