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Browns sign DB Gary Baxter

CLEVELAND (March 4, 2005) -- Former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Gary Baxter signed a six-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, who moved quickly to fill one of the biggest holes in their defense.

Anthony Henry, who led the Browns with four interceptions last season, signed with the Dallas Cowboys, leaving Cleveland in the market for a proven cornerback.

Baxter started 16 games at right cornerback for the Ravens last season, getting two sacks and an interception. He left the Ravens as an unrestricted free agent, signing with an AFC Central rival that was only 4-12 last season.

"I like the direction the team is headed, and I'm really looking forward to playing in front of the Dawg Pound," Baxter said.

The Browns' defensive secondary is being overhauled by new coach Romeo Crennel. The Browns released safety Robert Griffith, getting rid of their leading tackler from last season.

Henry, a fourth-round pick in 2001, set a Browns record with 10 interceptions as a rookie. He had seven interceptions over the next three seasons.

Crennel liked Baxter's size -- 6-foot-2, 204 pounds -- and toughness. Baxter also can play free safety.

"Gary's experience on a dominant defense and the attitude he brings to the game will certainly enhance our efforts on the defensive side of the ball," Crennel said.

Baxter was the Ravens' second-round pick out of Baylor in 2001, and appeared in six games as a rookie.

Baxter started 14 games at cornerback in 2002, getting one interception. He started eight games at free safety and eight at cornerback the next year, switching positions after cornerback Corey Fuller got hurt. He finished third on the team in tackles and had one sack and three interceptions.

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