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Want to know part of the reason why rookie Terrence Cody hasn’t been on the active roster the past two weeks?
It’s Brandon McKinney, the Ravens’ fifth-year, 350-pound defensive tackle.
After undergoing offseason back surgery, McKinney is pain free for the first time in a while and playing his best football.
He could be a major factor in stopping Steelers power running back Rashard Mendenhall on Sunday with Cory Redding (concussion) perhaps out and defensive end Trevor Pryce not on the roster anymore.
“It’s a running team and that’s my style – stop the run,” McKinney said with a smile.
McKinney had a tough time getting in shape this offseason following his procedure. He could often be found walking on a treadmill privately from his teammates at the Ravens’ training facility.
Now his work is paying off. McKinney has been active for each of the Ravens’ first three games and has notched three tackles. Last year he was active for seven of 13 games before being placed on Injured Reserve on Dec. 19.
“It always feels good when called upon,” McKinney said. “I’m quicker. It’s a huge difference having no pain at all.”
With Pryce’s release, the Ravens have an extra spot on the active roster. Cody and defensive end Paul Kruger seem like logical choices. Re-signed safety Ken Hamlin could find himself on the roster as well, as Head Coach John Harbaugh said it’s simply a “numbers game.”
But at this point, it seems McKinney has his spot reserved.
“Brandon McKinney has played really well,” Harbaugh said. “You’ve got a group of defensive linemen that are playing well. But then again, we might decide to put an extra [defensive] lineman up, too. So we’ll just see how it goes.”