Ravens sign free-agent offensive lineman Austin Howard
OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens have signed veteran offensive lineman Austin Howard.
Howard was released by the Oakland Raiders on July 28 and will likely become Baltimore’s starting right tackle. James Hurst has been playing the position with the first-team offense since Rick Wagner signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency.
Howard, 30, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010 and spent part of the 2011 season on the Ravens’ practice squad.
“We were disappointed to lose him; I remember it well when we lost him. We wanted to keep him at the time, too, and that is how it works in this league,” head coach John Harbaugh said Saturday. “He did a great job, but a lot of times guys like to come back to Baltimore. They get out and see that this was a pretty good place. He was excited to get back.”
He signed with the New York Jets late in the 2011 season and became a starter the following year. Howard signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Oakland Raiders on March 12, 2014. He played three seasons in Oakland.
Howard signed a threeyear deal with the Ravens.
”He was in, and I had a long talk with him on Saturday. He is excited, he is a competitor, and he is happy to be back,” Harbaugh said. “He will be out there with us on Monday.”
Howard provides muchneeded depth to a thin offensive line in Baltimore. The Ravens lost potential starting center John Urschel to retirement on the first day of training camp and fourth-round draft pick Nico Siragusa to a season-ending knee injury on the fifth day of practice.
Howard – a 6-foot-7, 330-pounder out of Northern Iowa – started all 16 games each season between 201214, but dealt with injuries last season and reportedly had shoulder surgery in January. The versatile offensive lineman has started 72 career games at three different positions (right tackle, right guard and left guard).
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