Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa tonight said he would retire after the team's final game this season. As befitting a 12-year career that combined exceptional run-stopping at 340 pounds with a flair for self-promotion, the announcement came as he was doing his live radio show and taping his television show.

"I came in as a free agent on my terms," he said at the Coliseum Sports Bar, "and I want to leave on my terms. I don't want to be a guy who hangs on."

Siragusa rose to his distinctive status in the NFL from being an undrafted free agent with the Indianapolis Colts in 1990 who spent his entire bonus of $674 after taxes on a celebration with family and friends.

He later excelled at one of the toughest and least appreciated aspects of football, clogging the middle of the defensive line. Siragusa signed with the Ravens as a free agent in April 1997 and was a major reason the team won Super Bowl XXXV last season, creating space for middle linebacker Ray Lewis to make tackles.

"He's as good at [stopping the run] as anybody I've seen," Ravens defensive line coach Rex Ryan said. "He stones double teams."

Siragusa tonight "guaranteed" the Ravens (9-6) would make the playoffs. They need a victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night at PSINet Stadium or a loss by either the New York Jets or Seattle Seahawks on Sunday to make that possible.

Lately, Siragusa has been bothered by knee injuries and was unable to play two weeks ago against the Cincinnati Bengals. In that game, Corey Dillon became the first running back in 51 games to gain more than 100 yards against the Ravens.

One of his favorite memories, Siragusa said, was walking off the field after beating the New York Giants in the Super Bowl with another longtime veteran, defensive end Rob Burnett.

"Two old dogs that still hunt," Siragusa said.

Several teammates joined Siragusa, and outside linebacker Jamie Sharper gave him a bottle of champagne.

Siragusa for months has been angling toward a very public life after football, and his representative, Jim Ornstein of the William Morris Agency, mentioned a variety of options and did not exclude the "Monday Night Football" booth.

"Who wants to see me in Dennis Miller's spot?" Siragusa asked, and the audience applauded and cheered.

Ornstein said "no definitive talks" have taken place with any of the networks but added Siragusa would be "an addition to any broadcast."

One television source said: "You never know where you might find a gem."

"There are a lot of possibilities," Ornstein said, "from broadcasting to TV hosting to acting [he has read for "The Sopranos"]. I think eventually he'll write a book."

Off the field, Siragusa is blustery and compassionate.

"One of the true characters of the game," Ravens center Mike Flynn said. "He says what everybody else is thinking. This is serious business, but you've got to realize it's also a game and have fun."

Ryan recalled that on Christmas Eve 1999 the home of an obscure defensive lineman, Fernando Smith, burned to the ground, and Siragusa grabbed some presents from under his own tree and provided another $10,000 worth of clothing.

"And never told anybody about it," Ryan added.

One of Siragusa's best stunts was during the ABC lead-in to the Saturday night game with the Ravens in Tampa against the Buccaneers. The massive Siragusa reprised the John Travolta character in "Saturday Night Fever," compete with a white suit stretched to the limit over his blubbery frame. Siragusa was surprisingly agile but needed a double for the more difficult moves because his knees were too sore.

Ravens Notes: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter said Baltimore is one of the teams he would consider playing for next season, and that he is leaning toward playing instead of retiring. Carter, 36, who refused to comment on other opportunities, enters Monday's game against the Ravens second to Oakland's Jerry Rice in career pass receptions (1,088) and touchdown receptions (129). . . .

The Ravens signed free agent and 17-year veteran Dale Hellestrae to be the team's long snapper for the remainder of the season. Hellestrae was released by Dallas, for whom he had played since August 1990, on March 1.

Staff writer Jon Gallo contributed to this report.