-- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Chris Redman will have surgery within about two weeks to correct the back injury that sidelined him for the final 10 games.
"I should be ready to go for the first minicamp [in early May]," Redman said today after the team had the final meeting following its 7-9 season. "I probably could have played [he was listed as backup to Jeff Blake the last several games], but there was the possibility of re-injuring it. That's one of the things I was nervous about, and Coach [Brian Billick] was nervous about it."
Trainer Bill Tessendorf agreed Redman should have "a pretty uneventful recovery," adding the procedure would remove the part of the disk pressing against a nerve and causing numbness in his foot. He said former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and others have had similar operations and returned to play at a very high level.
Redman was the only young Raven who did not have a chance for a full evaluation, showing much promise at times in completing 53 percent of 182 passes for 1,034 yards and seven touchdowns while being intercepted three times. He is a restricted free agent, meaning the Ravens will tender him an offer and have the right to match any offer or receive draft compensation.
There is different uncertainty about Blake, the 11-year veteran signed as a free agent to back up Redman. After Redman was sidelined, Blake completed 55 percent of 295 passes for 2,084 yards and 13 touchdowns while being intercepted 11 times. Blake has the stronger arm, but seemed more prone to errors. He is an unrestricted free agent.
Blake said he and Billick talked in private today and reiterated that he would like to return.
"I really enjoy the organization, the structure," he said. "There's a process we all have to go through that involves a little waiting, evaluation. We'll see what happens."
Blake prefers not to have open competition at quarterback and added: "I don't think Coach Billick will put either of us in that position. I've not yet seen one that's healthy for the team. I've got to assess my options."
Billick declined to comment on any player until after an organizational evaluation of the team, but added about quarterback: "I'm very comfortable with who we have here. . . . Chris's medical condition obviously is a factor."
The Ravens have 11 unrestricted free agents in addition to Blake, including cornerback Chris McAlister, left guard Edwin Mulitalo and wide receiver Brandon Stokley. Tight end John Jones and defensive lineman Adalius Thomas are among the six free agents besides Redman.
"I don't want to go anywhere," McAlister said. "I'm pretty sure things will work themselves out."
Ravens Notes: In addition to home and away games with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North, the Ravens next season will host the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars. The non-division away games will be against the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins.