Foxworth still had pain in his surgically repaired right knee and was unable to play at a high level, but if he could make strides and get back to playing shape in the next few weeks, the team was willing to carry him on the 53-man roster, hoping he’d contribute as the season went on.
When they saw that Foxworth’s right knee wasn’t making positive strides, and was actually regressing, they decided to put the veteran cornerback on injured reserve and sign Prescott Burgess to improve depth at inside linebacker.
“That was kind of a conversation we’ve been having for about a week now,” Harbaugh said. “It heated up on Monday. There was a chance (Foxworth) could be able to play at some point in time and help us, and we were holding out hope that was the case, but it was moving in the other direction for whatever reason. So we just didn’t feel like afford we could do that right now, especially with needing the linebacker. We’re bringing Prescott in, he’s been here, he knows our system, he gives us another inside backer with Dannell Ellerbe’s hamstring situation.”
Foxworth had expressed frustration throughout training camp and the first few weeks of the regular season with how slowly the knee was recovering. He played poorly through the season’s first two weeks, and then was declared a gameday inactive last week against the Rams.
Harbaugh said the team’s front office spent a lot of time conferring with Foxworth about his status and ability to contribute down the road before making their decision.
“We really valued his opinion because so much of it is, ‘How does it feel? What kind of progress are we making?’” Harbaugh said. “It’s really hard to know. We’re not really inside his head or his knee. That had a lot to do with it, and he was a big part of it. He was disappointed. His thing is, and I think he’ll tell you, he wants to do everything he can to help the team. He just didn’t feel like he could do that on the field right now, and he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to do that throughout the course of the season.”
Harbaugh was asked if he feels comfortable with the numbers the Ravens currently have at cornerback, with Jimmy Smith still out with a high left ankle sprain and Chris Carr coming back from a hamstring injury.
“We’d probably like to have at least one more corner that was healthy, but we don’t have that luxury right now,” Harbaugh said. “It’s definitely something we could address, depending on what’s available out there, but I’m comfortable with the guys we have. You talk about the guys we just brought in, Danny Gorrer - I think he’s an up-and-coming guy - and Chykie Brown’s a very talented young corner who grows every day. So, I think those guys are good players.”
Then there’s the question of Foxworth’s future with the team. He’s owed $5.6 million for the 2012 season under the final year of his current contract, which the Ravens will not be willing to pay. Foxworth and the team could restructure the deal, allowing the cornerback to return at a heavily reduced price with incentives tied in.
“I’d say it’s all up in the air for everybody,” Harbaugh said when questioned about Foxworth returning for the 2012 season. “I’m hoping to be here next year, too.”