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OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick was granted a new four-year contract extension, the team disclosed Wednesday.
The Ravens confirmed the length of Billickâ€™s deal, which has him under contract through the 2010 season and is believed to pay him a salary of roughly $5 million per season, one month after the initial announcement of his extension.
In a terse, two-sentence e-mail sent to reporters on Jan. 17, the team announced that it had extended Billickâ€™s contract adding that: â€œno details will be publicly announced or discussed.â€
Subsequently, published reports stated that Billick had received a one-year contract extension worth $5.4 million.
Team president Dick Cass sent out an e-mail Feb. 12 to the entire organization that said: â€œYou may have seen or heard media stories that the Ravens have extended Brian Billickâ€™s contract for only one year. Those stories are incorrect. We have entered into a new, four-year contract with Brian that begins with the 2007 season.â€
Following that mass e-mail, team officials decided to disclose the length of Billick’s deal. It was first discussed Wednesday on WBAL, the team’s flagship radio station.
Billick, who was entering the final year of his contract prior to his extension, took over play-calling duties after firing offensive coordinator Jim Fassel after six games. The Ravens surged to 13-3 for the best regular-season mark in franchise history and earned the No. 2 playoff seed in the AFC before losing 15-6 in a divisional playoff game to the eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts.
Shortly before it was announced last month that team owner Steve Bisciotti had given him a contract extension, Billick cited a need for privacy as the reason for secrecy regarding his contract details.
â€œI hope you donâ€™t misunderstand why I am hesitant to talk about my contract going forward,â€ Billick said. â€œBeyond the personal side, itâ€™s not very comfortable to sit and pick up the paper and read your personal finances all over the page. But beyond that, a coachâ€™s situation can be a distraction to the team, positive or negative.
â€œIâ€™m very appreciative of the partnership that I have that makes it, as we go forward, about a two-minute conversation that allows me stability going forward. To say more than that, I donâ€™t need to. We structured it that way specifically, and itâ€™s one that we just donâ€™t need to comment on.â€
With Billick calling the plays, the Ravens averaged 24.3 points per game to rank ninth in the NFL during the final 10 games of the regular season. Baltimore averaged 344 yards of total offense during that period to rank 10th overall, finishing 17th in total offense, 11th in passing offense and 25th in rushing offense.
Billick promoted quarterbacks coach Rick Neuheisel to offensive coordinator after the season, but indicated he will continue to call the plays next season.
Billick, who turns 53 next week, won a Super Bowl with Baltimore following the 2000 season and has an all-time record of 75-53. Heâ€™s 5-3 in the postseason, but Baltimore hasnâ€™t won a playoff game since 2001.
Since being hired in 1999 to replace Ted Marchibroda, Billick is tied with Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid and Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren for the third-longest coaching tenure with one team in the NFL behind Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher (14 years) and Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan (13).
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland