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In stunning change of heart, Baltimore Ravens won’t sign free-agent defensive lineman

JONAH SHAFFER
The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram, left, tries to sprint past Los Angeles Rams defensive end Michael Brockers in an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

The Baltimore Ravens will not sign free-agent defensive lineman Michael Brockers, the team announced Friday, surprisingly parting ways after reportedly feeling uncomfortable about his medical condition.

The Ravens had agreed to a three-year deal for Brockers worth a reported $30 million during the first wave of free agency last week, but the team had yet to finalize the contract. Brockers, one of the NFL’s more durable linemen during his eight years with the St. Louis and Los Angeles Rams, suffered an ankle injury in the team’s regular-season finale in December.

Because of the NFL’s coronavirus restrictions, the Ravens have not been allowed to send medical personnel to examine players or allow players into their facility. Defensive end Calais Campbell, whose trade to the Ravens and contract extension highlighted the team’s makeover of its defensive line, told reporters Thursday that he’d had to undergo his physical at Arizona’s Mayo Clinic.

With Brockers reportedly heading back to Los Angeles, the Ravens’ defensive line remains a position in need of improvement. Free-agent defensive tackle Michael Pierce signed a three-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings last week, while the Ravens traded defensive end Chris Wormley to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams and Campbell are both strong starters, and Jihad Ward, Justin Ellis, Daylon Mack and Patrick Ricard can offer depth along the line. But the team will need to either sign a free agent or address the position through the draft next month.