Ravens returner Sams charged with drunken driving

Updated: August 16, 2005, 12:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Baltimore Ravens: Ravens return specialist B.J. Sams was arrested and charged with drunken driving after a traffic stop early Monday.

Sams was pulled over shortly after 2 a.m. on Interstate 83 in Baltimore County, just north of the Baltimore city line, after his Chevrolet Tahoe was clocked going 89 mph in a 55-mph zone, Maryland State Police said.

The trooper who made the stop saw signs that Sams had been drinking. After further investigation, Sams was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, negligent driving and speeding.

A female companion, who had not been drinking, drove Sams to a nearby state police barracks for processing, and Sams was released around 4 a.m. He was polite and cooperative, police said.

Police would not say whether Sams took a breath test or what the results of any such tests were.

Sams, 24, took over the Ravens' punt and kick returning duties as a rookie in 2004.

"We're trying to gather all the information and we will have a statement once we get the facts of the situation," Ravens spokesman Chad Steele said.

Oakland Raiders: Raiders receiver Jerry Porter doesn't plan to play in this weekend's preseason game in Houston while he recovers from a hamstring pull and instead has set Aug. 26 as his return date.

"That's been my target all along," Porter said Monday. "When I can get on the [practice] field then I'll probably get in a game. When I go out there, I can't go out and go half-speed and risk messing it up some more."

Porter has not practiced since Aug. 1 when he pulled up lame during a team scrimmage. Since then he has spent his time getting treatment and working with trainers away from the rest of his teammates.

Porter did not play in Oakland's preseason opening loss to San Francisco, leaving the Raiders without their leading receiver from 2004. Ronald Curry, who was second on the team in receptions, yardage and touchdowns, was also held out of the 49ers game and isn't likely going to play against Houston, either.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Coach Jon Gruden is using "Opponent Killer" helmet stickers as awards to players for big plays in preseason games, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

The stickers feature a skull and two swords similar to the team's helmet emblem, and have the words "Opponent Killer" printed on them.

"It's something we're using to have some fun with the guys," Gruden told the newspaper. "We're not allowed to reward players with money because it's against the collective bargaining agreement and the salary cap and things of that nature. So, the best I can do is a sticker on a helmet."

League rules prohibit teams from altering the uniform in any fashion, so the stickers will be worn only during practices.

Tennessee Titans: Five-year veteran safety Arturo Freeman, released by the Green Bay Packers over the weekend, has quickly agreed to join the Tennessee Titans, ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli reports.

Freeman, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Miami Dolphins before moving on to Green Bay this spring, will sign a one-year, $540,000 contract.

Freeman, 28, will add veteran experience and versatility, a solid "nickel" player and good special teams contributor to the Tennessee secondary. He provides the club an insurance policy as starter Tank Williams continues his rehabilitation from offseason knee surgery.

A fifth-round choice of the Dolphins in 2000, Freeman has appeared in 72 games, with 29 starts, and has 180 tackles, five interceptions, 19 passes defensed and 3 sacks. He posted a career-best four interceptions in 2004. Freeman has starting experience at both safety positions.

Volek's agent seeks trade Agent Drew Rosenhaus told the Titans he'd like to pursue a trade that would allow Billy Volek to be a starting quarterback in the NFL sooner rather than later.

That's not a subject the Titans are interested in talking about.

"To me, that wouldn't make sense based on you have to have two good quarterbacks to have a chance to win," coach Jeff Fisher said.

"We have two good quarterbacks. Why would you give one away unless you had a chance to get a better one? We're not necessarily into developing players for other people. We're developing players for our future."

Rosenhaus visited the Titans to help conclude a one-year deal for safety Arturo Freeman. With Chicago already losing Rex Grossman to a broken ankle, the timing seemed right.

Philadelphia Eagles: The focus may be on holdout Terrell Owens, but offensive tackle Jon Runyan took a $800,000 paycut for this season, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday.

Runyan, who is 10 days older than Owens, will be paid $4.7 million instead of $5.5 million. He has been paid more than $20 million in his lifetime, the Inquirer said.

Runyan, 31, is entering the final season of the five-year deal he signed with the Eagles in 2000, but he's not complaining about that, either. Instead, he has chosen to quietly go to work in an attempt to get that Super Bowl ring he came so close to last season with the Eagles and five years earlier with the Tennessee Titans.

"There's another contract out there," he told the Inquirer when asked about having agreed to a pay cut. "Why complain about it? If you come out and do what you've done in the past this year, the deal is going to be there next year. At my position and knowing how thin it is out there along the offensive line, it's another big contract that's coming."

In five seasons with the Eagles, Runyan has started all 92 of the team's games, including 12 in the postseason. With the 6-foot-7 330-pounder at right tackle, the Eagles have gone 66-26.

San Francisco 49ers: Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall draft pick in April, earned a second starting role for the 49ers for maintaining his composure and focus and remained responsive to coaching during his otherwise dismal outing in the team's 21-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders, the Contra Costa Times reported.

Tim Rattay, who threw two touchdown passes, and Ken Dorsey, who moved the team effectively, will also see action in the 49ers' next preseason game -- Saturday against host Denver.

"I haven't changed my feelings or thoughts about maintaining the same structure," coach Mike Nolan told the Contra Costa Times. "We've put the young guy in a situation where he does receive the most pressure. The relief pitcher always has an easier job. But putting him in there is one more opportunity for me to assess him."

Smith, who completed 3 of 9 passes for 25 yards, said he was surprised by speed of the game.

"I would have liked to have played faster," Smith said. "But it's not something that is beyond my reach. I want to be the best player I can be, but it's going to be a gradual process. I have to be patient."

San Diego Chargers: Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman returned to practice on Monday and said he should be OK to play in the Chargers' home exhibition game Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

Merriman, the 12th pick overall in the NFL draft, missed a week's worth of practices with hamstring and toe injuries. He didn't travel to Green Bay for the exhibition opener last Thursday night.

"If we get Merriman some playing time this week, obviously, we'll be well ahead for that," coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

Merriman hopes to get a significant amount of playing time Sunday.

"I can't wait," he said. ''I'm just basically getting out there and seeing where I'm at in my game and trying to build on that."

Cleveland Browns: Rookie Braylon Edwards practiced for the first time, a few days after he ended his two-week contract holdout by signing a five-year, $40 million contract.

Edwards, the No. 3 overall pick, flashed some of his immense talent during the early portion of practice. During one drill, he snagged a pass with one hand and tiptoed down the sideline, drawing oohs and applause from the crowd.

Starting center Jeff Faine missed practice with an injured rib muscle and rookie safety Brodney Pool sat out with a concussion suffered in Saturday night's win over the New York Giants.

Kansas City Chiefs: Todd Collins, the backup to quarterback Trent Green, has a injury in his passing hand, the Kansas City Star reported.

The Chiefs have described the injury as either a cracked bone or a severe brusie, but Collins is unable to grip a ball and may miss at least two weeks of practice, the Star said.

Damon Huard was the best statistically of the Chiefs' four quarterbacks but led his team to only two field goals and no touchdowns, in the 27-16 loss to the host Minnesota Vikings.

In other news, 10-time Pro Bowl guard Will Shields returned to the practice field Sunday for the first time since camp started July 28, the Star said.

Shields left camp late last month to get a third opinion on his back. He has arthritic conditions in his knee and lower back, the Star reported.

"It's coming along real slowly," Shields said after the evening workout. "I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things. I'm trying to keep everything from flaring back up. Who knows? We'll see how it goes."

Shields, who will turn 34 next month, has started 191 straight games, the second-longest active streak in the NFL.

St. Louis Rams: Offensive tackle Alex Barron's five-year deal with the Rams is worth $9.2 million. But if Barron qualifies for an incentive and two escalators in the contract, he could earn as much as $11 million, according to information obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Barron's deal includes no signing bonus. But the Post-Dispatch said it features $5.5 million in guaranteed money -- a figure that does not include a $1 million roster bonus Barron will receive this week, and thus is all but guaranteed.

The complexity of the contract may explain why it took Barron a long time to sign. It is a four-year contract, but includes a $4.9 million option bonus for the fifth year that the club must exercise no later than March 15 of next year, the newspaper said.

Because the bonus must be paid after only one season, and because so much of the contract is guaranteed, it's almost a certainty the Year 5 option will be exercised.

Monday, Barron practiced for the first time with the team. All of his snaps came at left tackle, Orlando Pace's position, a clear indication that for the immediate future, the Rams consider him a high-priced backup.

Hurting corner:This season still hangs in the balance for Jerametrius Butler, the Rams' starting left cornerback the last two seasons.

Butler, who has a torn ligament in his right knee, visited a specialist in New York Monday and is scheduled to see another in Alabama. Butler is trying to decide whether to attempt to strengthen the knee and play the season or undergo surgery that would sideline him for the year.

Washington Redskins: The team announced Monday linebacker LaVar Arrington, cornerback Carlos Rogers and defensive lineman Brandon Noble have been removed from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list after passing their physicals.

All three players will be in pads for Monday's afternoon practice and will be participating in limited individual drills only. The club also announced offensive lineman Adrian Gonzalez has been waived.

Miami Dolphins: It hasn't been announced officially, but it appears the Dolphins' quarterback competition is over, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The winner? Gus Frerotte, as starter of the season opener against the Broncos on Sept. 11.

Frerotte's passer rating through two games (84.6) is almost double A.J. Feeley's (42.7). Frerotte has thrown one touchdown -- with no interceptions -- and led the team to 13 points. Feeley has been intercepted once, has not led a scoring drive and has the shortest long pass of any of the four quarterbacks (22 yards).

Cincinnati Bengals: Wide receiver Peter Warrick practiced Sunday for the first time since he was placed on injured reserve with knee and shin injuries Nov. 5, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Cleared medically last week, Warrick adds another playmaker to a potentially lethal offense. He should slip back into the slot role as the No. 3 receiver behind two-time Pro Bowler Chad Johnson and T. J. Houshmandzadeh.

"We're probably the three best receivers in the league, man, on one team" said Houshmandzadeh, who emerged as the No. 2 receiver last season.

According to the Enquirer, Warrick chatted with teammates and simply couldn't hide his joy at being on the practice field.

"I got this one, it's me," he said as a kickoff approached at the goal line.

Warrick said he learned Saturday night from coach Marvin Lewis of the club's decision to let him back on the field.

Minnesota Vikings :An MRI test on Minnesota cornerback Fred Smoot Monday revealed no further damage to his sore right knee, and the Vikings expect him back on the field soon.

If he's able to participate in practice this week, Smoot could play in Friday night's exhibition game at the New York Jets. He was hurt during an intrasquad scrimmage last week.

Smoot, the Vikings' biggest prize during an active offseason in free agency, signed a six-year, $34 million contract that includes a $10.8 million bonus. But he has barely been able to practice since training camp began, first missing time because of a neck strain and now sitting out with the knee injury.

Wide receiver Kelly Campbell, however, will miss at least the next two weeks with a strained right quadriceps that has kept him out for most of camp.

Offensive lineman Anthony Herrera missed practices for the second straight day and was expected to remain in the hospital another night for treatment of cellulitis, an infection in his right leg that is causing severe swelling from the ankle to the knee.

Baltimore Ravens: Monday's practice was canceled because of the heat. The players are scheduled to be back at work Tuesday afternoon.

The Ravens are coming off Saturday night's loss to Atlanta in the preseason opener and will be preparing for this weekend's matchup with Philadelphia.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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