OWINGS MILLS — Mark Carrier is no longer coaching the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive backs.
That’s because Carrier has reunited with New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, signing on as the Jets’ new defensive line coach.
Although Carrier has no prior experience coaching linemen, he took the position to diversify his resume and improve his job prospects. He’s hoping that coaching a new position will eventually propel him into the defensive coordinator ranks.
He replaces Kerry Locklin, who was fired in November.
Carrier worked with Ryan in Baltimore previously for three years when Ryan was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator.
The Ravens still have secondary coach Chuck Pagano in place to coach the defensive backs.
Heading into coach John Harbaugh’s third season in Baltimore, this marks the third coaching departure since the season ended with quarterbacks coach
Hue Jackson becoming the Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator and linebackers coach Vic Fangio becoming the defensive coordinator at Stanford.
The Jets had the top-ranked defense this past sason.
A former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Carrier was a Pro Bowl safety, playing for the Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions.
He coached four seasons with the Ravens with a previous stint coaching at Arizona State.
Besides Carrier, the Jets’ staff includes two other former Baltimore staffers: defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and secondary coach Dennis Thurman.
T. SMITH UPDATE: Ravens backup quarterback Troy Smith’s agent is adamant that he did request a trade for the former Heisman Trophy winner following the team’s December loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Agent Ralph Cindrich, who represents the former Ohio State star, emphasized that he definitely contacted the Ravens.
Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome stated Wednesday that he hadn’t received a trade request from Cindrich.
Cindrich said that he left messages for Newsome and wound up speaking directly with Ravens vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty a week or two later.
"Ozzie was called and message was left followed by call and good conversation with Pat," Cindrich wrote in an e-mail to the Carroll County Times. "How many calls does Ozzie return during season? Asked if I should get to Ozzie, answer from Pat no. You talk to Pat, message gets to Ozzie.
"I gave Pat heads up I needed to get word out. I am more than 90 percent sure that Ozzie was called about Troy wanting a trade."
During the Ravens’ state of the team press conference, Newsome said he never heard directly from Cindrich regarding Smith.
"I have not heard from his agent," Newsome said. "And I know who his agent is personally, so I have not heard that."
When that comment was relayed to Cindrich, he issued the following reply:
"In a strict sense, Ozzie is correct but he was called and message left. Ozzie is a busy guy during the season. I don’t know if I ever spoke with him during the season and I had a few good players there. Then I called, left a message with Pat Moriarty, and he called back after a week or two.
"I related the whole story telling him that Troy wanted to play and I felt it had to get out before the season was over because coaches and GM’s were being interviewed, decisions were being made. I said if you want me to keep trying to get to Ozzie (and made some joke about going after him) I said I will."
Cindrich also issued a series of comments on his Twitter account Thursday.
"Baltimore Ravens: Ozzie Newsome’s office called on Troy Smith trade at the time, message left, with call and conference with Pat Moriarty."
"Heard Ravens Ozzie Newsome did not receive formal Troy Smith trade request. Ozzie pretty please with sugar on top trade the friggin guy."
"Agent formal trade request not in rules-not seen in 40 yrs in #NFL. And what is Pat Moriaty-chopped liver? What, he doesn’t pass on talks?"
Smith recently said he would love to play for his hometown Cleveland Browns. And his friend and former college teammate, Donte’ Whitner, lobbied
for the Buffalo Bills to trade for Smith.
However, it appears unlikely that Smith will ultimately be traded.
SAVAGE TO PHILLY: The Philadelphia Eagles hired former Ravens director of player personnel Phil Savage as a player personnel consultant to help new general manager Howie Roseman through the April draft.
Savage was fired by the Cleveland Browns as their general manager after the 2008 season. He spent nine years with the Ravens working under Newsome.
He spent this past season as a color analyst working Alabama games.
RAVENS LOOKING AHEAD: With the uncapped year looming in 2010, the Ravens may take the opportunity to secure some young players to contract extensions.
Newsome indicated that he’ll look to extend some core players to four or five-year deals before next season.
Among the top candidates for new deals: Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, offensive linemen Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda and punter Sam Koch.
"We have to be smart enough to know that there are going to be some opportunities that we can extend some guys and take them out of the unrestricted game, and we can have them for four or five years," Newsome said. "That’s a balance that we are going to be dealing with over the course of the next four or five months.
"We’ve got to be prepared to be able to extend some or to be able to say, ‘OK, we might have to let this one go because we’ve got a young player that has to step in and play.’ We’re playing that game in our mind right now."
RICHER POOL: Newsome predicted that a lot of quality players will be released around the league due to the uncapped year making it easier to part ways with expensive veterans without facing the normal salary-cap consequences.
"I think in that this is an uncapped year, there will be some good players that are going to get cut," he said. "And we’ve had good success with Derrick Mason, Trevor Pryce, Samari Rolle, guys that got cut because of the salary cap situation that that particular team was in. So, I think that’s going to increase our pool of players."
QUICK HIT: Harbaugh said that he would like to see outside linebacker-defensive end Paul Kruger bulk up after his rookie season.
"I’m convinced Paul Kruger is going to be a really good player," he said. "Paul needs to put some weight on, get in that weight room and go to work. And he’s committed to doing that. We’re going to have a close eye on him in there, for sure. He’ll be becoming that guy that we want him to be on the edge of the defense."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.