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Falcons sign former Ravens LB Hartwell

ATLANTA (March 21, 2005) -- Free agent linebacker Ed Hartwell signed a six-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

Hartwell, a starter in Baltimore since 2002, will take over at middle linebacker, a position Chris Draft held to mixed reviews the last two years.

Hartwell was a mainstay on the Ravens' 3-4 defense, teaming with All-Pro Ray Lewis to form one of the league's best inside linebacker corps. With Atlanta, he will switch to a 3-4.

He was drafted in 2001 in the fourth round out of Western Illinois.

Hartwell is the fourth defensive free agent signed by Atlanta, and easily the most accomplished. He joins another linebacker, Ike Reese, who mainly is a special teams player, and safeties Rich Coady and Ronnie Heard, but is the only one of those new Falcons likely to start.

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