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Published: Monday, 3/21/2005

Chester Taylor to stay with Ravens

BY BLADE STAFF

Chester Taylor will be carrying the football for the Baltimore Ravens again next year. The Ravens today matched the one-year, $3 million offer sheet Taylor signed with the Cleveland Browns last week.

The Ravens had until Wednesday to match the offer for free agent Taylor, the primary backup to Pro Bowler Jamal Lewis, but opted to act today.

The deal includes a $2 million base salary, a $1 million signing bonus, and a pair of $100,000 incentive clauses.

Over the last three years, Chester has been productive both when spelling Jamal Lewis and when he has started for him, Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said. Keeping Chester makes us a stronger and deeper team.

Taylor, who would have competed with Lee Suggs for the Browns starting tailback job, is a former University of Toledo star.

Last year, he rushed for 714 yards and two touchdowns last season and caught 30 passes.

If the Ravens hadn t matched the offer, they would have received the Browns sixth-round draft pick as compensation.

Baltimore had previously tendered Taylor a low-ball offer of $656,000 for next season.

Baltimore selected Taylor in the sixth round of the 2002 NFL Draft following his record-setting career at UT.

Taylor, from River Rouge, Mich., earned All-MAC and All-American honors while becoming Toledo s all-time leading rusher with 4,849 yards from 1998-2001.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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