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Flacco the center of attention at Ravens camp

WESTMINSTER, Md. -- Rookies, quarterbacks and injured veterans reported to Baltimore Ravens training camp on Monday, though first-round draft pick Joe Flacco remained the center of attention.

Intent on making an immediate bid for the starting job, Flacco handled his business off the field by officially signing a five-year, $30 million maximum value contract that includes $8.75 million in guaranteed money. Flacco agreed in principle to the deal last Wednesday.

Now, Flacco's focus turns toward proving himself on the field as the first practice kicks off Tuesday morning at McDaniel College. The former Delaware star has set a goal of being the opening-game starter Sept. 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals as he competes with Troy Smith and Kyle Boller.

"I'm going to go out there and act like I am, just like everybody should do," Flacco said during a press conference at the team's hotel. "I want to go out there and play the way I've always played football. I want to go out there and prove to everybody, prove to the coaches, most importantly, and myself and my teammates that I can play. Obviously, at the end of training camp we're going to find out."

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound New Jersey native led Delaware to the Division I-AA national championship game last season, throwing 41 touchdowns in two seasons. So far, he has impressed team officials with his powerful arm strength and quiet poise.

"Joe has come in and started to confirm some of the things that were told to us by people that were close to him and some of the things that we have seen on tape," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "I'm just glad he's signing here today."

Meanwhile, the Ravens signed the remainder of their 10 draft picks, agreeing to terms with second-round running back Ray Rice (Rutgers), third-round linebacker Tavares Gooden (Miami), fourth-round offensive tackle David Hale (Weber State), sixth-round safety Haruki Nakamura (Cincinnati), seventh-round wide receiver Justin Harper (Virginia Tech) and seventh-round running back Allen Patrick (Oklahoma). Rice received a four-year contract, and the other players signed three-year deals.

Veterans are scheduled to report Wednesday, and the first full-team workout is Friday morning. Camp is expected to be more demanding under new coach John Harbaugh than former coach Brian Billick, who was fired after a 5-11 season.

"Training camp is tough, training camp is hard," Harbaugh said. "We're going to run an intelligent camp. Their legs are going to get weary because that's how you get good. The goal is to become a good football team."

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