At the team's recent "State of the Ravens" press conference, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said that he's willing to take a risk on a player with previous character issues.
Today, he followed through on that statement.
Bisciotti, GM Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Ravens front office apparently feel that while wide receiver Donte' Stallworth made a big mistake last March, he now deserves a second chance. And they're willing to be the ones to give it to him.
"We've given a lot of thought to this, and we've done extensive research into Donte' beyond football," Newsome said in a statement. "He made a huge mistake. There's no doubt about that. He has paid a significant price for that and, as he has said, he carries a heavy weight. As Steve [Bisciotti] said, we believe in second chances, and Donte' does deserve that.
"But, we've signed him because we want to get better, and we think he has a chance to help us. We worked him out, and it's obvious he is working hard to be effective. We thought it was important to sign him now, because other teams were pursuing him, and we want him in our offseason program, which starts next month."
Head coach John Harbaugh was around Stallworth in 2006 when both were with the Eagles. Harbaugh was a special teams coach at the time, and though he didn't spend a lot of time with Stallworth (who at the time was Philly's No. 2 receiver), he got to watch the receiver on a daily basis.
"Our goal is to become a better team, and we work on that every day," Harbaugh said. "Adding Donte' gives us the opportunity to improve. I observed him and interacted with him for a year when we were both in Philadelphia. He's the kind of person and player who can help us. It's clear that he is determined to play, that he has been working hard and that he wants to have a positive impact off the field, too. We're looking forward to working with him."
As I mentioned earlier, wide receivers coach Jim Hostler also is familiar with Stallworth; the two were together in New Orleans when Stallworth first came into the league in 2002.
Hostler was an assistant wide receivers coach during Stallworth's rookie season, so he's got some experience working alongside the now 29-year-old receiver.
"Donte' has talent and ability. That's why he was a high first-round choice," Hoster said in a statement. "He's a player with the type of potential to make defenses pay attention to him. He was very productive as a rookie when he played 13 games. I know what kind of person he is, and I respect him.
"We all know the tragic mistake he made, but I believe he has grown from that, and we're looking forward to seeing him grow more. His second chance can be good for the Ravens. We plan to get the best out of him, and I'm confident he will give us his best."