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Ravens match offer sheet for RB Taylor

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (March 21, 2005) -- The Baltimore Ravens have matched the one-year offer sheet running Chester Taylor signed last week with the Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens had until March 23 to match the offer for free agent Taylor, the primary backup to Pro Bowler Jamal Lewis, but opted to act March 21.

"This shows the continued commitment of Steve Bisciotti to win and the flexibility of our cap that we can retain a player like Chester," Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Over the last three years, Chester has been productive both when spelling Jamal Lewis and when he has started for him. Keeping Chester makes us a stronger and deeper team."

Taylor, slated to compete with Lee Suggs for the Browns' starting tailback job, rushed for 714 yards and two touchdowns last season while catching 30 passes.

"He looks forward to helping the Ravens compete for a Super Bowl ring in 2005," agent Ken Sarnoff said of Taylor.

Taylo is still slated to be an unrestricted free agent in 2006, when he would be free to sign with any franchise. Taylor was drafted in the sixth round out of Toledo in 2002.

If the Ravens hadn't opted matched the offer, they would have received the Browns' sixth-round draft pick as compensation.

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