The Baltimore Ravens found their backup quarterback Wednesday evening, agreeing with Kordell Stewart on a one-year contract at the veteran minimum of $760,000.
Stewart, a 10-year veteran who has played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears, met with Ravens coaches and members of the front office on Tuesday at the team's training facility and chose to remain in Baltimore for another day in the hopes that a deal could be made. He will join the team Thursday for a voluntary passing camp.
"Having had the opportunity to compete against Kordell over the years, I think we have a very good history with him," Baltimore General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "After scouting him all those years, we know what his strengths and weaknesses are.
"The history of quarterbacks getting injured in this league is incredible. As of tomorrow, he is one injury away from starting the first game against Cleveland [on Sept. 12]. That's just the nature of our business. It's good that we can have a person with a veteran presence that's been in that situation."
The Ravens have been adamant that second-year pro Kyle Boller is their starting quarterback, but they needed to find a veteran backup after Anthony Wright had shoulder surgery last week. Wright, who played the final eight games last season after Boller was injured, won't resume throwing until September and probably won't be available to play until October.
Stewart understands he is coming to Baltimore to be Boller's backup, Newsome said. That was the point of the meetings Tuesday.
"I used to watch Kordell when he was at Pittsburgh," Boller said Wednesday afternoon, before Stewart agreed. "He's a veteran. Hopefully he'll be able to help me out, and I can help him out."
Stewart spent eight seasons in Pittsburgh and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2001. One of the best games of his career came against the Ravens during that season, when he threw for a career-high 333 yards in a 26-21 victory that clinched the AFC Central title for the Steelers.
He left Pittsburgh for Chicago before the 2003 season. He was the NFC's lowest-rated passer (56.8); he completed 50.2 percent of his passes for 1,418 yards and had seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
"He was physically gifted going in, and 31 is still young for a quarterback," Newsome said. "He's not the same athlete he was when he was 23, but he had so much ability that he's still retained a lot of it. He's been working out with Shannon [Sharpe] down in Atlanta, so he's coming in good physical condition."
The Ravens held the first of two voluntary passing camps Wednesday morning. Coach Brian Billick was one of the no-shows; he was in Indianapolis on league business and was then scheduled to travel to Redlands, Calif., where he was to be inducted into his high school hall of fame.
Four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware also was absent, but that was not a surprise. He will miss the Ravens' mandatory minicamp, which begins Monday, and most likely will miss most of training camp, as well, after offseason knee surgery.
Boulware injured his right knee Dec. 21 and sat out the regular season finale and playoff game against Tennessee. He had surgery in January, with a six-to-eight-month recovery period predicted, Baltimore trainer Bill Tessendorf said.
Boulware has been limited in the training he can do; most of what he has done has been non-impact. He will be re-examined at the end of the month, at which point he should be cleared to resume running. The Ravens' training camp begins July 30.