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Late For Work 6/3: Walker Drafted By UFL’s Nighthawks

Plus two reasons why the Graham deal is delayed and two locks for the Hall of Fame.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 at 9:01 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Walker Drafted By UFL’s Nighthawks

Former Ravens Frank Walker and Devard Darling were drafted by the Omaha Nighthawks in the United Football League’s (UFL) Draft Wednesday night, according to UFL-Football.com.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Walker will be playing in the UFL in 2010.

But if the 5-11, 196-pounder chooses to play in the UFL this fall, he will have to join Omaha’s team, explained Jon Nyatawa of the Omaha World-Herald.

Neither website had comments from Walker. As of this morning, his Twitter account makes no mention of the UFL Draft or his intentions of joining the league.

Walker, who typically generates passionate discussion among Ravens fans, is still listed as an NFL unrestricted free agent and could still sign with the Ravens or any other NFL team.

The offseason has produced a long and jumbled list of possible destinations for the Ravens’ two-year cornerback.

In March, Walker said on Twitter that he had a secret team for which he was heading.

That same day Ken Murray of the Baltimore Sun reported that Walker was in the final stages of a deal with an NFC team.  A week later, Aaron Wilson of National Football post reported the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars were rumored to be interested in Walker.

Prior to all that, Walker was “100 percent sure” he would be back in Baltimore for 2010.

Obviously, all of those options were a no-go. But now, he can add the UFL to the assortment of possibilities. 

Why The Delay On The Graham Deal?

Even though the Ravens started contract talks with kicker Shayne Graham in March, Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun explained the organization had two reasons for waiting until June to finalize the deal.

First, NFL Rules provided the Cincinnati Bengals, Graham’s former team, with the rights to tender him until June 1. After opting not to do so, Graham remained a free agent, which gives the Ravens the opportunity to sign him.

Second, the Ravens increased their chances of getting a better compensatory pick in next year’s draft by waiting. Hensley explained that any unrestricted free agent signed before June 1 counts against a team in the NFL’s formula for assigning compensatory picks.

Lewis and Reed Locks For Canton

NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan believes Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are two active NFL players that have already done enough to secure themselves a spot in Canton.

After conducting research with front office executives, NFL historians and fans, Kirwan came up with a list of players who are locks for the Hall of Fame, others who have a chance, and those who will just miss out.

Lewis was No. 4 on Kirwan’s Canton-bound list, and Reed was listed at No. 7.

“In 14 seasons, Lewis has been the epitome of hard-hitting defense in the NFL,” Kirwan said. “He has been tackling players longer than the league has kept stats for them (since 2001).

“Throw in his 36.5 sacks, 28 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles, and the fact that he was the general of the 2000 Ravens’ defense that led the franchise to its only Super Bowl championship, and he’s a lock for the Hall.”

Kirwan went on to say that Reed, “a ball hawk if there ever was one,” has done enough in eight seasons to punch his ticket too.

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