Ravens sign former Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode

Street Talk Ravens sign former Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode

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OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens landed former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode on Sunday, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with a maximum value of $3 million.

Gurode underwent offseason surgery on his right knee and still has to pass a physical and sign his contract to make the deal official.

The Ravens acquired the five-time Pro Bowl blocker to provide depth behind six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk, who underwent surgery on his left knee at the start of training camp.

"We just got better as a team," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "To have a successful season, you have to have quality depth across the board. We just added great depth to the interior of our offensive line with Andre."

The Ravens also put in a waiver claim Sunday on Philadelphia Eagles center Mike McGlynn, but their claim and competing claims from the St. Louis Rams and Indianapolis Colts were beaten out by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals had the priority for McGlynn due to their dreadful record last season.

The Ravens also made inquiries about former New York Giants center Shaun O’Hara and about former Green Bay Packers center Nick McDonald. McDonald is signing with the New England Patriots’ practice squad.

The Cowboys cut Gurode, 32, last week rather than pay him a $5.5 million base salary this year. He was due $6.5 million in 2012 and carried a salary-cap figure this year of $7.16 million.

Gurode took a brief tour of the NFL before deciding to join the Ravens. He visited the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and the New England Patriots.

Dealing with conditioning issues, the 6-foot-4, 334-pound Gurode was replaced by Phil Costa in the starting lineup.

"He was an awfully good football player for a long, long time," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said upon cutting Gurode. "When Andre came back and you factored in coming off the knee injury and the business part of it and how well the younger guys were doing, we just felt like it was the right decision."

A former second-round draft pick from Colorado drafted 37th overall, Gurode has started 122 career games.

The Ravens have been reshaping their offensive line in recent weeks. They signed former Pro Bowler Bryant McKinnie to a two-year deal worth up to $7.5 million and installed him as their new left tackle and moved Michael Oher over to right tackle. And Birk just began practicing last week with right guard Marshal Yanda returning recently from a bout with back spasms.

Neither Birk nor McKinnie played at all this preseason as the team heads into its season opener Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"It’s not ideal, but it’s about the long term and the season opener," Birk said. "We’re a pretty veteran group. We know how to handle little blips on the screen. We’ll work our butts off to get ready."

Added Yanda "We are not worried about it. We’ll work hard every day to get prepared."

Despite the unique nature of the preseason following an offseason erased by the NFL lockout, coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence that the team has handled itself well and will be ready.

"I feel we have gotten as much done as we could," he said. "I feel like we are as far along as we could have possibly been. The personnel thing was tougher maybe than I would have anticipated."

NOTES: The Ravens signed eight players to their practice squad, including former University of Miami running back Damien Berry.

"It’s official, I’m back with the team," said Berry, who was cut by Baltimore on Saturday. "I’m just glad to still be here. I just wish I had never gotten hurt. That slowed me down and I got healthy just in time. Like I said, it’s a starting point."

The Ravens’ other practice squad additions are: center-guard Justin Boren (Ohio State), quarterback Hunter Cantwell (Louisville), cornerback Danny Gorrer (Texas A&M), defensive tackle Bryan Hall (Arkansas State), fullback Ryan Mahaffey (Northern Iowa), safety Mana Silva (Hawaii) and linebacker Chavis Williams (Alabama). … Wide receiver James Hardy was placed on the Ravens’ reserve/injured list after being waived-injured. Hardy has a chronic hamstring injury. He’s a candidate for an injury settlement. … Cut by the Ravens after aborted trade discussions with the San Francisco 49ers, inside linebacker Tavares Gooden went unclaimed off waivers. He agreed to terms on a one-year deal as a free agent with the 49ers.
 
 
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times 

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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