BALTIMORE (AP) - Marcus Spears likes the way he fits into the Baltimore Ravens defense, and the veteran run-stopper admires the team's ability to be a consistent winner.
So it didn't take a whole lot of negotiations to convince the former Dallas Cowboys starter to begin the next phase of his NFL career with the reigning Super Bowl champions.
"It was an easy process," Spears said Tuesday, one day after signing a two-year contract as a free agent. "It happened pretty quickly, which I was glad about. It's a great situation."
Spears said Kansas City, Jacksonville and New England were in hot pursuit after the 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive end became a salary-cap casualty in Dallas.
"To be honest with you, it didn't take any time after I knew Baltimore wanted to sign me," Spears said. "I wanted to get it done with the Ravens."
The 30-year-old Spears was the 20th overall pick by Dallas in 2005. He has played in 119 games, including 89 starts, collecting 185 tackles and 10 sacks.
Baltimore hopes the addition of Spears and free agent lineman Chris Canty will fortify the front of a defense that has already lost starters Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger and Cary Williams this offseason.
"The base of a good defense is to be good along the defensive line," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We didn't play to our standards last season, partly because of injury. With the expected better health of players like Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee and the additions of Marcus Spears and Chris Canty, we have a chance to improve."
Spears figures playing with the Ravens gives him a great chance to be part of a winner.
"It's a football team that contends every year with the opportunity to win the big show," he said. "To be a part of that is a no-brainer for a guy like me that's going into his ninth year. We're all striving to get that hardware, and every guy there last year has that (ring) coming in the mail. I'm hoping we can re-incarnate what happened last year and move it into this year so I can get that shiny thing put on my fingers."
Spears expressed no animosity toward the Cowboys.
"A lot of things have to work out for you to stay in one place for eight years. It was a total blessing," Spears said. "But I'm also as excited to come play in this market with this football team. It has me to an excitement level where you almost feel like a rookie again. My years in Dallas were great for me, and I'll never forget it, but to try to make new memories and hopefully win a championship with Baltimore is a great opportunity."