OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens regained a player they wished they had never parted ways with, trading a conditional 2007 draft pick for Indianapolis Colts safety Gerome Sapp. The transaction is intended to create competition at free safety with rookie Dawan Landry, a fifth-round draft pick from Georgia Tech. It’s believed that the Ravens gave the Colts a conditional sixth-round selection.
Trading for Sapp represented a chance for the Ravens to reunite with their 2003 sixth-round draft pick from Notre Dame. He was released by Baltimore in 2004 in a somewhat-controversial roster decision.
The Ravens decided to keep veteran Corey Fuller instead of Sapp partly because of concerns over how releasing Fuller might have potentially affected locker room chemistry and politics. Fuller is a close friend of Deion Sanders and Ray Lewis, two influential stars.
“It was just an opportunity presented to us that allows us to upgrade our football team,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a telephone interview. “He knows the system and he won’t be penalized by not being here. He gets a chance to start fresh.”
Newsome confirmed that Sapp will be given the opportunity to compete for a starting job opposite former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ed Reed.
By reacquiring Sapp, Baltimore adds a large safety (6-foot-1, 216 pounds) known mostly for his special-teams ability.
Sapp, who was drafted 182nd overall, has played in 43 career games, including 14 with Baltimore. He has registered 74 career tackles.
Sapp started twice for the Colts last season, recording 16 tackles and 28 special teams tackles. As a rookie in Baltimore, Sapp had 17 special-teams tackles and one fumble recovery.
Known as a strong tackler, Sapp has never intercepted a pass in the NFL or been credited with a pass deflection.
Aaron Wilson writes for Ravens Insider and the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.